How to Develop an Effective IT Strategy for Your Organization
Strategy is what sets successful businesses apart from failures. However, most leaders are not confident with their strategies and implementation. According to a Strategy Implementation Survey, only 2% of leaders are confident that they can achieve 80%-100% of their strategic objectives.
As a company leader, you should not fall into that demographic.
To develop an effective IT strategy, you need to examine your organization’s current IT infrastructure, define your IT needs and scope, gather information from key stakeholders, and access new IT solutions for better effectiveness.
That is just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s dive deeper and learn how you can apply these steps in practice.
What Does an IT Strategy Look Like?
An IT strategy is a comprehensive plan outlining how technology should meet your organization’s IT and business goals. This plan is typically long-term and is set in the context of a rapidly changing technology environment.
Otherwise known as an ICT strategy or IS strategy, this document is drafted to create shareholder value and maximize the return on IT investments.
An IT strategy document should not be complex but rather readable by any employee in the organization. Typically, it should have the following five components:
- Vision – It outlines where the organization is headed
- Current IT capability – It shows the people, technology, and processes the organization currently has and how they’re working together
- Future IT capability – It shows what technology, processes, and people the company will need and how they’ll operate together
- IT capability gaps – This shows the gaps between current and future IT capability in terms of people, technology, and processes
- Migration plan – This outlines the steps the organization will take to fill these gaps, who is responsible for the migration, and the timelines plus deliverables
Why Is It Important To Have A Strong IT Strategy?
There are several reasons why, as a company admin, you need to develop a strong IT strategy for your organization. Some of the benefits of a strong IT strategy include:
Enables Delegation and Better Decision Making
According to a McKinsey survey, decision-making is becoming a major challenge in most organizations, especially in this age of urgency. It is difficult to make decisions and have consistent quality of those decisions.
However, a well-written IT strategy creates an excellent framework for decision-making in the organization. Employees simply have to ask themselves whether what they’re doing is in line with the plan. This also makes it easier for a manager to delegate the decision-making process.
Helps Structure Creative Thinking
Having an effective IT strategy makes it easier for employees to discuss what they like or dislike about current IT infrastructure and systems, plus talk more confidently about the features and functions of the IT systems the organization will need.
Thus, it takes a shorter time to design a system that fulfills the organization’s needs.
Better Prepares the Organization for Emergencies
Emergencies and downtimes are some of the most dreaded occurrences in any organization. An effective IT strategy better prepares the organization for any emergency, such as system failures and cyberattacks.
For instance, your IT strategy document might outline migration to the cloud as one of its IT goals. If one of your in-house file storage servers unexpectedly fills up, your team is better prepared to move the organization’s files to the cloud since it has been in the works all along.
The communication barrier between the IT department and other departments, plus the leadership of an organization, often causes a lot of friction. However, a strong IT strategy effectively deals with that.
Since anyone in the organization can read the document, other departments and the organization’s leadership can better understand your technology intentions for the organization and position themselves better to implement the strategy.
Moreover, the leadership can also help you redirect efforts where needed in case part of the strategy is not fully aligned with the organization’s vision. This reduces how much they have to interfere with the IT department’s day-to-day operations.
How to Develop an Effective IT Strategy
An effective IT strategy typically has two sections:
- Organization-specific items – These are items specific to the business, including organizational goals, IT vision, limitations, assumptions, critical projects, requirements, and timelines. They form the heart and brains of an IT strategy.
- Infrastructure and management items – These are the items and tools you need to implement the strategy. They include the necessary resources, technologies, and processes.
This is how you effectively put these two sections together.
Align with Business Goals
The group and organization’s priorities must come first. Consider the organization’s development strategy, revenue strategy, marketing targets, and other goals while preparing the IT strategy.
Examine Current and Future IT Infrastructure
You need to assess the current IT infrastructure and follow crucial technology developments in the market to identify the gaps in the organization’s existing IT abilities.
For instance, you can inventory your organization’s current data center hardware and identify the needed infrastructure to align with future business goals. Therefore, you will be better positioned to fill those gaps quickly and effectively.
Set the IT Strategy KPIs
The best way to ascertain effective implementation of your IT strategy is by setting key performance indicators to quantify the strategy’s performance. As you make the measurements, you can make necessary changes to keep the implementation on course or realign the strategy with the organization’s new goals and vision.
Determine and Get Approval for Project Budgets
An effective IT strategy is often aligned with an organization’s revenue strategy. Before committing to any project, ensure you have the approval of the executive.
Also, develop a data-driven forecast of the cost and ROI of the IT programs outlined in the strategy. This approach can also make it easier to assess KPIs as you implement the IT strategy.
Start Crafting Effective IT Strategies
Effective IT strategies are the bedrock of an organization’s IT success. Take the bold step today and start crafting strong IT strategies to take your business or organization to a new level of success, profitability, effectiveness, and better ROI.
Contact us today to chat about how we can help you develop better IT strategies.