Your IT Roadmap - getting you where you want to be in business
10th October 2018
From mobile devices and cloud computing to the Internet of Things and big data, technological trends are evolving at a fast pace and, as a business, it is crucial to stay ahead to keep a competitor advantage.
To do this, more and more companies need to make sure they have the systems and infrastructure to keep up.
Even though nearly every business recognises the potential of technology to support and grow, many have not invested in any strategic thought or planning on how to implement these transformations both in the short and long term. The best way to do this is with a comprehensive IT Roadmap.
Why have an IT roadmap?
An IT roadmap is the governing document that dictates specifically how technology will support the business strategy and help drive businesses priorities over the next 3-5 years.
By developing and implementing an IT roadmap, it can bring IT and business together to work as a whole with shared goals and focus. It aligns IT projects with strategic priorities, plan for the long term, and defines the needs and priorities before making an investment.
What should be included within the roadmap?
1 Strategy Statement
The primary function of your IT strategy is to support your organisational or business needs, so the best place to start is understanding and documenting it’s needs, goals and objectives and agreeing the list of wider strategic priorities for the business.
Pulling together a schedule of all the initiatives and projects that are due to happen over the next few years with estimated start and end dates, duration and size will help with the planning and management of resources, workloads, priorities and budget.
3 Improvement Opportunities
IT must work with the business decision-makers to review where improvements can be made. And remember, when planning an IT strategy, you do not have to start from scratch. You can review your existing IT systems to see what’s working, what needs to be upgraded and where resources can best be saved by making use of what is already available. These opportunities then need to be prioritised.
High-level justifications should be set out for each project. These should be explanations on why the upgrades should be made, making them detailed and robust for projects over the next 12 months and simpler statements for projects in-scope past the 12 month horizon.
5 Cost Estimates
The level of IT investment required always varies from business to business, depending on the size of the company, the industry and the complexity of requirements. To make sure cost estimates are accurate, research on pricing should be undertaken and estimates kept realistic for each project. Don’t forget to include any additional or ongoing costs such as new infrastructure costs, subscription fees, annual maintenance and support fees.
It is crucial that your IT strategy is functional and cost effective as it supports your overall business needs. Key metrics and KPIs should be defined to benchmark and analyse the performance of your IT strategy over time.
An owner must be assigned to each project to add clear accountability. Usually this is the sponsoring executive or the manager directly overseeing the project.
Making a success of your IT Roadmap
For an IT roadmap to lead a business to success, secure buy-in is needed from executives and the board members. Without the commitment of the CEO and leadership team, any new initiative is set to fail.
Finally, it is important to remember that an IT Roadmap is a document that evolves over time. As a business grows, priorities may shift, and new opportunities or challenges may present themselves. This means that the IT strategy may also change as a result.
Preparing a technology roadmap is not a one-time event - it is a fluid living business document that should be regularly updated, reconsidered and revised.
Creating an IT roadmap for your business can be complicated and time-consuming. Seeking support or guidance from an external consultant can be beneficial – they can offer an unbiased and comprehensive view of current limitations and potential improvements.
If you would like our advice on how to create an effective IT roadmap, call us today for a free consultation – we can help by undertaking a full audit of your current systems, advise on any infrastructure improvements that could help to reduce costs and work with you to achieve your business objectives.