Every organization, regardless of size or industry, should have strategic IT goals. Information technology (IT) is one of an organization’s most important departments, as it provides the tools needed to function well internally and gain an edge on the competition. Ideally, IT goals should be aligned with business objectives to help improve operations and profit margins. One of the best things business leaders and IT leaders can do together for the health of the organization is to map out and define a set of IT goals. Follow these simple steps for defining and achieving IT goals, and learn how properly executing these important steps can benefit your business.
1. Define Desired Results
The first step involves identifying achievable IT goals. For example, perhaps a company wants to make sure employees can work remotely if necessary. Another example would be wanting to move all company data from an on-premise server to a cloud environment. When defining goals, it is important to have the future in mind so that there is an established start and end point.
It’s key to consider the path to reach these desired results. This can be done by setting SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Setting SMART goals involves setting goals that are clearly-defined, measuring progress with specific criteria, making sure that goals are attainable and align with a company’s vision or purpose, ensuring goals are within reach, and creating a timeline for a project that creates a sense of urgency.
2. Assess Available Resources
Simply defining IT goals does not necessarily mean an organization has the time, money or resources needed to accomplish those goals. Once leaders have identified the desired results, they should take the time to assess the current state of the organization’s technology. Next, they should clearly define project requirements and see if the two match up. If there are resource gaps, it will be necessary to find ways to either fill these gaps or adjust expectations.
3. Create a Shared Vision
While the IT leader may be primarily responsible for defining and achieving IT goals within a company, IT should never work in a silo. It is important for IT to work with senior management and executives to establish a shared vision. Often, the people responsible for meeting IT goals do not properly communicate with others in the company, creating a lack of alignment between IT and other departments. IT goals can take considerably longer to accomplish without collaboration. IT leaders should be willing to listen and communicate with other departments and end users about their unique needs, and use that information in future IT decision-making processes.
4. Consult with an IT Strategy Consultant
What makes certain businesses so successful in their IT efforts is not always their level of experience or knowledge. Rather, it is their willingness to accept help from outside sources. Many successful businesses work with IT strategy consultants to help keep up with new advancements in technology. In turn, this can increase efficiency in the workplace and boost profits. An IT strategy consultant can also provide a business with guidance, recommendations and ongoing support when it comes to developing and maintaining hardware, software and various IT processes and operations that help a company operate efficiently.
5. Celebrate Successes
Maintaining motivation to continue on with defined IT goals is not always easy, especially when there are inevitable roadblocks or other disruptions. Celebrating each success along the way can be an excellent source of motivation and will encourage the key players to continue striving to achieve IT goals. In addition, celebrating wins can help teams form stronger bonds, fostering better communication that will help them to be more successful. Not every effort will be a complete success, but the idea is to make progress, not achieve perfection.
Reach Out to an IT Strategy Consultant
Many businesses underestimate the power of setting strategic IT goals. As technology continues to grow at a rapid pace, it is more difficult to maintain a relevant position in the marketplace. If businesses fail to keep up with modern technology, competitors who are keeping up will only become stronger. Defining a clear set of IT goals as part of an overall IT strategic plan can help provide alignment, cohesion and unity across an organization and all of its departments. For more information about defining and achieving IT goals or for assistance with this process, contact the IT strategy consultants at Hartman Executive Advisors.