At some point during the growth of your business, you’ve probably debated whether or not your company needs a tech plan. It is also very likely that you’ve come across executives that don’t have nor plan on creating an I.T. strategy for their organization.
Seems like the issue with having a tech plan lies in the notion that almost every modern business is a technology business. Therefore, to be more “strategic,” companies rely only on current waves of technology that would accelerate their business strategy—right here and right now.
This can quickly backfire. Rather than creating a strategic I.T. roadmap and planning to use technology to accomplish important, long-term objectives, companies tend to shift their focus to achieving quick results that may not be properly aligned throughout all business units and with larger objectives.
It goes without saying that a tech plan cannot exist as a separate entity. It is crucial to integrate and align technology priorities to overall business priorities, strategy, vision, and growth.
Let’s take a look at what a tech plan is and how to maximize the benefits.
What is a Tech Plan?
A tech plan is usually a 3- to 5-year strategy or a roadmap that includes a timeline of initiatives and projects the company plans on following as a part of their technology-enabled business processes.
Simply put, a tech plan focuses on how I.T. will support and further your company’s business strategy.
For example, your team has been contemplating a slow transition to the cloud. A tech plan is a perfect way to consider everything that will go into that process, including the costs, resources, timeframe, gains, losses, and more.
Your tech plan can even be more general and leave space for the management team to make updated decisions when necessary, serving as a map that guides the team towards an achievable goal.
A practical, strategic tech plan does more than save your company valuable time that it might otherwise spend executing on the wrong goals. It can result in a high return on investment.
According to Architecture and Governance Magazine, some Fortune 500 companies and government agencies have noticed returns on investment as high as 700% as a result of their I.T. strategic planning.
1. Embrace Agility and Innovation
In today’s business environment, it is essential to keep up with the growing needs and demands of your business as well as the overall advancements in technology.
This means that your company should balance strategy and agility. The idea is to innovate and move forward more effectively with the help of technology.
A tech plan can help your business become more agile. Instead of going strictly for big goals, you can focus on short-term initiatives that you can complete in three to five months.
During the implementation of these short-term goals, track the progress made and most importantly, adapt to successes and mistakes as you go.
Your plan can and should be flexible, but you should always know where you started and where you are headed. If at any given time you notice that some of the initiatives are not a huge success, you have a framework to fall back on as you decide what step to take next.
2. Better Business Decisions
A tech plan also empowers the decision-making of your employees. With a technology strategy, your employees will always have a roadmap to follow. They can keep ideas and project execution in line with overall business goals.
One of the most significant benefits of having a tech plan is that it keeps you prepared for unexpected change.
For example, having a system outage before an important event or weekend is always a possibility. If you have a tech plan in place, you will be prepared to take measures like hiring an expert to come and fix the issue—or better yet, you’ll already have a business continuity plan in place with your I.T. provider, allowing you to carry on with business as usual. In this case, a system outage will not disrupt your company because you will have the necessary measures in place and can follow or adjust them as necessary.
It is important to keep in mind that no tool will offer a 100% certainty of positive outcomes. This means that you should think twice before rapidly switching to “new, better, bigger” technology just because you think it will help you be more agile or innovate faster.
3. Focus on Results
The process of identifying where your organization is likely to be in the next three to four years should give you direction and focus. However, you should also have a backup plan if market shifts force you to change your goals.
Instead of making plans based on certain I.T. systems, first consider the capabilities your business needs. For example, target a new demographic or implement someone’s “expert opinion.”
Try to prioritize the most important capabilities that will show results in the next three to six months.
That being said, stacking assumptions upon assumptions in a big budget tech plan without adjusting along the road can lead you to trouble. While your competitors will be spending months developing their roadmap, you will hit your short-term goals, validate them, and adjust accordingly.
Embrace flexibility and you will be able to keep up with the rapidly shifting market, plan wisely, execute over a shorter period, and be on the right path when working on your long-term goals.
The goal is to understand investments and ROI before making an initiative, as well as to take the time to assess the impact of decisions before acting on them. This leaves you the freedom to remove the initiatives that don’t align with your business goals and automatically eliminate a lot of expenses.
Consider taking a step back before starting the process of planning and implementing an I.T. strategy. You should make sure you have a clear idea of how the plan will support your business growth.
Once you have the plan in place, you should do your best to follow it adjust accordingly. You should also plan on consulting experts before creating a tech plan. Just as your expertise helps your own clients find success, the knowledge of an experienced I.T. provider can help you make the right goals for your technology future.
For over thirty years, JMARK has been helping businesses to leverage technology to save money and achieve their long-term business goals. To learn more about how our services can provide value to your business, contact us today. Call 844-44-JMARK or email [email protected]