Technology affects every aspect of modern business. Without the accoutrement of modern technology, it would be impossible for any business today to operate, let alone thrive.
And as information technology (IT) strategy is closely tied to business strategy, designing an IT strategy for business means taking a closer look at its objectives. It also lets a company evaluate its technological infrastructure and personnel and how they work in support of those objectives.
IT strategies, at least the effective ones, push a straightforward, easy-to-follow narrative. They show you where you’re coming from, where you want to go, the path to take, and how to remain on that path. Sounds simple, right?
But then, why do a lot of IT strategies fail? According to research done by McKinsey, the success rate of strategy involving IT doesn’t go above 30%. Failed IT strategies often result in two things:
- The business still deals with the same complaints or issues before the implementation of the IT strategy.
- The business fails to get any benefit from IT strategy.
So, what makes a good IT strategy?
Components of a good IT strategy
An IT strategy uses technological infrastructure, know-how, and other digital assets to support an organisation’s goals. It includes the objectives, regulations, and approaches relating to the use of technology within the business. This strategy is a critical mechanism in achieving a business’s primary objectives.
However, IT strategies can fail and result in wasted opportunities, not to mention time, effort, and money. Failures like this are a surefire way of getting eclipsed by your competitors. On the other hand, a good IT strategy can be your company’s springboard. Keep reading to discover the elements of an effective IT strategy.
1. Assessment of current IT state
An essential component of IT strategy is an assessment of all your IT assets and infrastructure, both virtual and physical. These assets may include:
- Hardware and software
- Infrastructure equipment
- Utility equipment
- Networking equipment
- IT personnel and licenses
The evaluation will give you an idea of the assets you can use or reuse for your IT strategy. This step will also make it easier to determine which items need to be replaced or included.
2. Definition of your goals
Now that you have information on your technological capabilities, it’s time to establish your goals. Assess your business’s current situation and find out the trends that may affect or potentially affect your industry.
After establishing these factors, lay down your company’s objectives. Take into account your technological infrastructure’s capabilities, so you wouldn’t, to paraphrase a quote from a Tom Cruise movie, write checks your company can’t cash.
Moreover, your IT strategy isn’t there to showcase technological innovations. New techs are cool, but they’re tools – they shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of your IT strategy. IT strategy issues and components should be aligned with your business goals. Your business goals aren’t worth more than the paper it’s printed on if your IT strategy doesn’t support them.
When defining your goals, consider the trends that could affect your company. Trends had, in the past, disrupted companies that were caught with their metaphorical pants down. It pays if a company is flexible enough to adapt to new trends and can pivot to a different situation.
3. Creation of a roadmap for allocating resources
Creating a roadmap for allocating resources may seem challenging, but after doing the first two steps, this one shouldn’t be too difficult. After the audit, you should have a pretty good idea of your digital assets – the hardware, software, and other digital tools.
With this information, you can allocate digital resources to any department that needs them to meet its goals. For example, human resources and finance require specialised software. So, if you’re wondering what an IT strategy should include, make sure that a plan for allocating digital resources is there.
You can document all the information regarding the processes that govern the integration. Aside from this, learn how the different parts of your infrastructure can fit together. You’ll know how much they’ll cost and which department or personnel will benefit the most.
4. Addition of IT experts
Having a department full of IT experts that support and constantly monitor your business is ideal. However, not many companies have the wherewithal to have such a setup. The cost is simply too prohibitive.
Which is a shame – businesses can profit tremendously from having their own full-time IT in-house support. However, companies can do the next best thing: outsourcing IT services to MSPs or managed service providers. MSPs (managed service providers) can provide 24/7 professional IT support while not as costly as a fully equipped in-house IT department.
Hiring MSPs has become popular for small-medium enterprises (SMEs). By 2025, it’s estimated that about 60% of organisations will depend on MSPs for IT support. The worldwide market for MSPs is also expected to reach AUD$580 billion by 2028.
Besides the cheaper cost and the 24/7 access to IT experts, an MSP can help your company’s digital transition. As a result, implementing upgrades and changes in your IT infrastructure becomes easier. Plus, IT strategy execution gets less complicated.
Modern businesses rely on technology to operate and thrive. The success of their goals depends on the use of their digital assets. Thus, it’s vital that they employ a good IT strategy that includes all the essential elements, such as an audit and upgrade of hardware and software and a roadmap for the allocation of digital resources.