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When was the last time you reviewed your IT strategy?

IT strategy

Over the past 18 months, many businesses have been forced to embrace changes such as working from home, greater online activity and adapting to using cloud services. However, short-term needs can have long-term implications, so now is the time to review your company’s IT strategy.

Why businesses should have an IT strategy

An IT strategy is a detailed plan to align technology and IT processes to meet your business goals. It defines how you intend to apply IT, laying out a 3 to 5-year roadmap for supporting your business strategy, while informing short and mid-term decision-making. It should encompass everything, from IT processes and training to infrastructure.

As the business environment, your market and technology constantly evolve, your IT strategy should also be reviewed regularly and adapted to ensure new innovations are adopted, to maintain a competitive edge. Having an IT strategy in place also manages IT risks.

What should your IT strategy contain?

There is no single IT strategy model, but your review should ensure that your strategy covers the following:

  • Lays out an overview of the IT mission and objectives
  • Details current architecture and future requirements
  • Defines data to be collected and KPIs to measure
  • Defines cyber security needs to protect both your business and your customers
  • Demonstrates how IT resilience will be delivered
  • Details the IT budget and spending forecast
  • Provides oversight of IT projects, timelines, and key deliverables
  • Helps create a better understanding of IT and how it will connect departments
  • Provides a framework for decision-making
  • Supports project planning and allocation of IT resources
  • Considers IT strengths and threats to provide planning insight

A comprehensive IT strategy allows you to be creative and proactive rather than reactive, as it offers insight into priorities and actions that will impact on your business. Writing your strategy also gives you time to reflect on potential threats and current challenges, so you can plan for, cost and deal with them before they become an issue, allowing you to focus on your core activities.

Tips for carrying out your IT strategy review

To update your IT strategy into a document that identifies priorities and lays down the technologies, architecture and processes you need, here are some key steps to take before updating your strategy:

  • Understand your business: Your IT strategy must keep pace with business as it responds to internal and external factors. A deep understanding of business objectives, timescales, projects and looking at what has changed, both inside and outside your business will inform what your IT strategy needs to deliver
  • Consult all stakeholders: Helping stakeholders understand how a refreshed strategy will help them achieve their objectives encourages participation and buy-in, as does listening to their input. These conversations aren’t about products and tools but about what your stakeholders want to achieve as a basis for going forward.
  • Complete an audit: Review existing IT infrastructure; understanding its effectiveness and limitations and how different systems integrate with each other will provide clarity over where you are now against where you need to be. You can also audit other aspects of IT services such as suppliers, outsourcing partners, IT security, licenses, etc.

Why you should review your IT strategy

Today technology is ubiquitous, not only for business but also for consumers. We all take our technology everywhere with us and we expect interaction as a customer to be easy and convenient, whether it’s from the palm of your hand or your home computer. The fact that technology is part of our daily lives illustrates how vital it is for any business to make sure it is using its technology effectively and to evolve when necessary. 

From the way your teams communicate internally and with customers to boosting productivity and reducing costs, a failure to understand how your technology is driving or impeding these aspects of your business will take its toll on performance.

Businesses also run the risk of exposing themselves and their customers to security breaches as cybercrime approaches and malware constantly evolves to beat existing security measures, with the potential to halt operations, risk customer data and damage the business’s reputation.

Businesses which don’t invest in reviewing their IT strategy run the risk of missing out on innovation and changing habits, falling behind their competitors.

Finding the right IT expertise

If you don’t have sufficient expertise within your business to review your IT strategy, finding the right IT support partner is an important initial step; they can offer non-biased advice and a different perspective on your organisation’s opportunities and challenges.

With experience in remote IT support, compliance and project management, an outsourced IT partner can help you with your review to create a comprehensive, up-to-date, living document to ensure that your strategic business plans are not frustrated by your own technology.

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