How to Setup a Successful IT Strategic Plan?
IT strategy consultants play an influential role in every organization’s growth. They can assist the company in realizing its goals faster by outlining IT strategies that improve business workflow and productivity significantly. However, the process of building an IT strategy for businesses is quite complicated, requiring in-depth analysis and input from all aspects of your business to map out a holistic plan. A large percentage of firms are unable to draw significant success in their business digital transformation and technology management projects due to the absence of an agile IT strategy.
Addressing this aspect, the article explores how to implement an effective IT strategic plan that helps you realize your business goals faster.
Let’s dig deep and discuss everything in detail:
What is an IT Strategy Plan?
An IT Strategy plan serves as a guiding document for the company’s IT department. It formulates the overall IT strategy for a business. While an IT strategy just focuses on how IT will help a company succeed, an IT strategic plan serves as a roadmap for how to implement those strategies. It highlights business areas where IT can add value, as well as, activities that need to be performed for realizing every individual strategy.
The objectives highlighted in an IT strategy plan syncs with the broader organizational goals and mission. However, these objectives are flexible to accommodate new priorities or technologies that have the potential to drive the business forward. Few examples include:
- Better IT support and response times
- Improving customer digital experience
- Boosting Sales
- Global Expansion
- Introduction to business automation
- Offering new products and services digitally
Identifying the right IT projects that business should invest in is important for IT teams. An IT strategy plan helps in identifying the right projects and what activities need to perform to achieve success in those projects. IT strategy consultants are primarily responsible for devising this high-level document. To know more about elements of an IT strategy plan, go to the below section:
Key Elements of an IT Strategy Plan
Mission Statement: The overall purpose of the IT strategic plan is given in the mission statement. This denotes what it plans to achieve and how the IT strategy related to the overall organizational goals. Often, the first step of creating an IT strategic plan begins with reviewing the organization’s strategic plan.
Long-Term Planning: A good IT strategy plan includes long-term initiatives that take around three to five years for realization. For example, improving customer digital experience. To achieve this goal, you might want to build mobile apps over the next few years for reimagining customer experience. If there are no in-house development resources, you might require services from an outsourced mobile app development company, which will consume a good amount of time. Alternatively, you can recruit an in-house app development team for the said tasks.
Technology Roadmap: Technology evolves rapidly with time. Over the past decade, we have seen how next-gen tech like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, etc. has provided opportunities for faster, accurate, and more reliable services. This is why technology should hold a pivotal role in your IT plan. For instance, companies are now moving from the traditional, on-premise data center to cloud services providers like AWS and Microsoft Azure.
Realistic Goals: It’s important that the ultimate goals outlined in your IT strategy are achievable in a given time frame. Becoming overly optimistic is never a good idea. Hence, your strategy should contain realistic goals that are also aligned with the company budget or project-specific resources.
Global Standards/Frameworks: This is one of the key parts of an IT strategic plan. It highlights the organization’s ability to support global standards or best practices, such as the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL). It should focus on identifying the gaps with the response to the organization’s adherence to best practices, as well as, tactics that can be applied by the firm to adapt to recommended IT standards.
Communication Plan: Having transparency is the key to business success. Clear communication on the present IT state upcoming changes and reasons for those changes and in-flight changes is vital. Keeping the key stakeholders (customers, employees) informed is important for firms. This should outline what measures are taken to ensure transparency in IT operations.
IT Principles, Metrics, and Financials: These sections are vital for answering questions like what are your company’s IT guiding principles? How does the IT organization measure its success? What KPIs are used to continuously improve? What is the financial model for capital investments, operational expenses, and chargebacks? IT strategy statements given in the plan should be carefully crafted and must align with the overall financial model of the company.
How to Build a Successful Business IT Strategy
Building a solid, comprehensive IT strategic plan is not an easy task. This is because the ambitions of your IT team are often very high in comparison to the resource available for realization. As several cycles might be required to draft and review your IT strategy plan by business leaders, it’s better to engage with a third-party IT strategy consulting company to settle on a plan that works well for your business.
If you’re facing budget constraints, then you can build an IT strategy on your own by keeping the following things in mind:
Align IT Strategy with Business Goals
Your business operational model defines how different pieces of your company fit together to keep everything functional. Its purpose includes guiding everyone to focus on delivering the value that your business seeks to create. Hence, both IT managers and business leaders in your firm need to work together while forming a comprehensive IT strategy. As a business leader, you must understand the implications of IT. Perform weekly or bi-weekly analysis to ensure your IT strategy keeps aligned with your business goals.
Identify the Right People for Planning
Involving the right set of people during IT strategic planning is vital to ensure future success. As a business leader, stay involved in decision-making when IT initiatives are concerned. Senior business leaders in your firm should meet regularly with IT managers for providing suggestions and approvals. Apart from internal teams’ inputs, take feedback from outside IT and business experts. Consider services of an IT consulting company experienced in crafting proven IT strategies with industry-grade frameworks and methodologies.
Set Clear Objectives
Make sure your IT objectives are clear, concise, and guides your business in a meaningful direction. An effective IT plan inculcates carefully formulated objectives for building business capabilities like product/service innovation, improved customer experience, and smooth interdepartmental collaboration. Make sure such objectives are broken into small, inter-related tasks with different functional areas. Formulated objects that can be reconfigured, accelerated and adapted as per business direction.
Make IT Infrastructure Investment Wisely
Determining how to allocate your IT budget in the right way is vital for your business IT strategy. Gartner has divided IT spends into three categories as follows:
- Run - Used for typical business operations
- Grow - Used for business growth-related activities
- Transform: Used for improving service delivery through technology automation and next-gen tech like Artificial Intelligence, IoT, and more.
Image Source: Gartner
Use this model to drive down fixed costs (doing more with less budget). Secondly, it assists you in better allocation of IT resources for identifying better business opportunities. Fixed costs can be cut with outsourced IT services.
Define Success Metrics Clearly
Your entire IT strategy is meaningless if it doesn’t have properly defined success metrics or common goals that bind its members together. Success metrics should be quantifiable methods for visualizing performance measures, directions taken, as well as, responsibilities assigned for goal realization.
Baseline IT strategy metrics include:
- Service levels aligned with priorities
- Financial budget management
- Adoption rates
- User satisfaction
Overall, effective IT strategy planning is an integral part of any business for ensuring long-term success. There is no definitive IT strategy. It should be regularly refined, upgraded, and adjusted as per your business needs. If you are also looking to formulate a comprehensive IT strategic plan for your business, join hands with A3logics, a reliable IT strategy consulting company. We have a decade of experience in crafting reliable IT strategy plans using proven industry frameworks that bring the best results for our clients across industries.