It’s an exciting time for businesses, with new technology developing at a staggering rate to bring new opportunities for growth across every industry. IT leaders and Chief Information Officers everywhere may be licking their lips at the thought of what technology could to do enhance their business, but with this ambition comes the need for a strategy that gets management buy-in, and this is where many face a roadblock.
In many cases, the IT team’s hands are tied by everyday tasks, meaning they stay reactive – managing fixes and IT maintenance in the short-term – rather than proactive, whereby they could start integrating the processes and IT systems that will help the business become more successful, and make everybody’s job much easier.
This can result in a ‘treading water’ scenario, whereby the business manages to keep running as usual, but has no resource left to build on current practices, or success. The desired destination remains in the far-off distance. But as with trying to get to any destination, in order to get the business where it wants, and needs, to be, a map comes in very handy.
An IT roadmap helps to outline the steps an organisation needs to take with regard to IT upgrades, aligning tech investment with the overall strategy of the organisation. With everybody going in the same direction, and following the same steps, the entire company can understand how IT can support the business in its current and future priorities, and build towards growth, rather than just focusing on immediate fixes.
Innovation is key. Any successful business needs to future-proof, to anticipate developing trends and discover the best ways to use their existing and future IT infrastructure to avail of changes to their industry.
What should the IT Roadmap include?
- A strategy statement – listing the non-IT strategic priorities of the business
- A timeline – outlining the initiatives and projects planned for the next few years and including start and end dates
- A list of improvement opportunities – collaboration between the IT department and business decision-makers to prioritise where upgrades can be made
- Justification – detailed explanations of why IT upgrades should be made
- Risks – an outline of challenges and possible pitfalls that could mean the business will not reach its projected targets, from current tech limitations to resource issues. This will help the IT team to take the necessary precautions to avoid potential issues, and develop a business continuity plan should things go a bit awry
- Estimations – outlining the costs involved in implementing updates and upgrades, as well as the current costs of IT. This should also include training costs, as staff will need to know how to use any new software or IT systems
- Delegation – assigning owners to each project to add clear accountability
- Status reports – to keep all stakeholders informed and involved, from IT to operations to finance, sales and legal departments
Of course, in order to know where you are going, you need to be able to define where you are, so the IT team should also keep an up to date record of the organisation’s systems architecture and inventory, including usage details, as well as a list of challenges faced regularly. These common tasks should be tracked with efficient ticket management, whether that is done internally or through an external IT service desk, if you employ one. Regular IT health checks should help you define how well the current systems and support are performing, and what improvements you can include in your strategic planning for the future.
What are the benefits of an IT roadmap?
- The Chief Information Officer can better collaborate with other stakeholders to discuss priorities, new projects and possible upgrades to outline how IT can be an investment, rather than an expense, and to get buy-in from the organisation on IT budgeting
- The IT team can plan for improvements in project support and resources, and can make more informed decisions regarding software selection, licensing, external IT services, with the agreement of all project leaders
- All stakeholders can better understand what is required of them, and what they can expect from any system or tech upgrades or implementations, aligning expectations and agreement on strategies. For example, legal and compliance can get a comprehensive view of the IT upgrades being put in place to meet GDPR standards
While the IT roadmap should be adhered to by everyone involved, it should not be written in stone, and needs to take on an agile methodology to meet changes and developments. As outlined in this blog from digitalistmag.com, collaboration is therefore key, in order to ensure the entire business is moving towards its common goal of increased success.
Creating an IT roadmap for your business can be a complicated endeavour, and often an external consultant is best-placed to offer an unbiased and comprehensive view of current limitations and potential improvements.
At pebble.it, we can provide the IT support in London or across the UK your business needs to create an effective IT roadmap, performing audits of current systems and policy deployment, advising on infrastructure improvements to reduce costs and encourage innovation, and help you meet your business objectives.
Find out how we can help you build that roadmap that will help you get your business where you want it to be by booking an audit today: