5 elements of a successful IT strategy for the new year
The end of the year brings about a customary time to look back and extract insight. A year-long retrospective is an invaluable source to adjust next year’s IT strategy. Performance and cost are two criteria to run your business modules by:
- Infrastructure - Decide if it needs to scale and if you want to switch to IaaS.
- Virtual office software – Identify what office artifacts are not virtualized so that you do not get locked up.
- Employee skill set – Analyze whether your employees can implement the necessary technologies faster and with more seniority.
- Processes – Check the bottlenecks in your production pipeline or your project management implementation. Automate, improve, and adjust.
- Business spin-off – Analyze customer and SME feedback to develop solutions that meet the latest customer needs.
IT strategies are your business compass
IT strategies are plans that help you see how you can improve your business. The new year is a time of reflection where businesses look at their current IT strategy to understand where they are and how well they managed to achieve their goals.
Coming up with a relevant IT strategy is not easy task, as you must harmonize your capabilities (people, infrastructure) with a budget and a timeline. Each new IT strategy should try to:
- Close in on existing gaps
- Formalize the next goals
- Analyze the data and the metrics
- Set the metrics for the next IT strategy
- Identify features and technology to invest in
IT strategies help you succeed and adjust along the way. If you do not plan for your strategy, your business may lag.
Businesses progress is supported by the right infrastructure.
- Great ideas and plans require a stable Internet connection and collaboration features around projects and files from a state-of-the-art device.
- Great product ownership requires software that can host, deploy, and measure product impact.
- Great processes require secure connections, failover mechanisms, and automation.
To this end, assess your current infrastructure setup in terms of:
- Physical asset inventory: equipment (servers, units, printers, smart devices, cables, screens, audio, rendering devices, sensors)
- Digital asset inventory: Internet connectivity, software, corporate communications/websites/intranets, supply chain, support portals, documentation portals, licenses
- Storage and hosting: local (on premises) or cloud technology
- Security: firewalls, antivirus, antimalware, MFA, VPN, automated password resets, data security, disaster recovery
Virtual office software
Any business should have a digitized version of its office, an online locus where employees can work, meet, and collaborate. To this end, assess your current virtual office setup in terms of:
- Real-time collaboration
- Multi-media scheduling
- Content and document repositories
- Discoverability of information
- Integrated email and communication platforms
- Enterprise search
- Automated work performance indicators
- Dashboards and reporting
Businesses can grow if their employees are loyal, engaged, and sharp. It stands to reason that something learnt 10 or 5 years ago has since evolved or changed.
- But are your employees aware of it?
- Do they keep an eye on the latest trends and best practices?
- Do they attend regular professional training sessions?
- Do they contribute to their community of practice?
To this end, assess your current employee skills in terms of:
- Relevance for the market and product for which they are used
- Innovation potential for your business
- Productivity for delivering business goals
Nothing kills productivity and engagement as much as processes that are:
- More complex than they should
- Less clear than they should
- More manual than they should
- Less organized than they should
To this end, assess your current processes in terms of:
- Impact, and how this impact is measured on a productivity scale
- Change management, and how change disturbs the status-quo of things that work well
- Employee retention, and how often employees digress from their regular chores
- Employee engagement, and how often engagement drops because of poor processes
- Enterprise strategy, and how clear it is communicated to all employees
Healthy businesses are guided by a clear vision and an inspirational mission to deliver something meaningful to the world. To stay relevant, you must find new ways of improving and expanding your product capabilities and their customer value.
To this end, assess your current market edge in terms of:
- Outreach by running SWOT analyses of your products and of your competitors’ products
- Balance between innovation initiatives and business as usual
- Alignment between resources, priorities, and expertise
Draft an IT strategy for the new year to visualize and plan for where you want to be in terms of:
- Profit and market share
- Features and competitive edge
- Proxies and technology investment