Covid-19 was a tipping point for technology adoption and digital transformation, causing executives to rethink the role of technology in business. As we move into 2022, CEOs see IT as an investment that will generate a return in the way of revenue, competitive advantage, efficiency gains, customer satisfaction, and more. Based on a survey of nearly 2,400 executives, Gartner projects the highest growth rate for IT budgets of the past decade at 3.6% higher than 2021 levels. Here’s what CEOs of small and mid-market businesses need to know before developing an IT strategy plan.
What Is An IT Strategy?
As IT is now pervasive across all facets of business, an effective IT strategy is integral to the success of the business strategy. If your company does not have an IT strategy, you’re not alone. It is common for large companies to have an IT strategy, but not as common in small and mid-market businesses where IT is more focused on tactical, day-to-day needs.
IT strategy planning is a critical part of the business strategy that outlines how to align technology with the business to drive and support its goals. This written plan includes specific objectives, actions, investments, resources, and timelines that are prioritized and sequenced to meet key business outcomes.
How To Develop An IT Strategy
Developing a strategy is the best way to understand where the opportunities, risks, and gaps exist today and create a plan that aligns IT with the business goals and needs. While the IT strategies look different from company to company, the process of developing the IT strategy is the same. Though some aspects of this process can be done internally, organizations often work with an independent consultant who can provide an objective point of view for optimal results.
One of the keys to creating IT strategy planning is to treat IT like you would any other strategic business portfolio. In doing so, executives can ensure that the IT spend is focused on measurable business outcomes like profitability, efficiency, customer service, and risk mitigation.
Start by reviewing the current portfolio to determine how well the existing technology is meeting your business goals. Much like a financial portfolio, you will likely discover areas that are performing well and others that require change and improvement.
Once you better understand the opportunities and gaps in your IT portfolio, you can prioritize the ones with the most significant impact and address them in your plan.
What To Consider When Implementing Your IT Strategy
Developing an IT strategy is the first step to implementing organizational change. The next element to consider is the implementation of the strategy. Without an effective implementation plan, even the best strategy may be considered a failure. Here are three critical tips for a successful IT strategy implementation.
Determine Who Will Lead The Implementation
Whether you hire an outsourced CIO to lead the implementation or have internal staff, effective IT leadership and governance are key to the success of the strategy implementation. Without an experienced and strong leader, you will spend unnecessary money and time on implementation.
Establish A Strong Partnership Between The Business And IT
It’s not technology for the sake of technology; it’s technology for the sake of the business. Companies where business and IT work together to create the strategy perform better than those where IT operates in a silo. This is especially true with the implementation of the strategy, which requires business leaders to play a key role in execution and change management.
Understand How To Adapt To Unexpected Changes
Technology, and the risks that come with using it, are constantly changing. Be prepared to adapt the strategy to unforeseen issues, challenges, and market trends. As we learned during the pandemic, flexibility and communication are more important than ever.
Hartman Executive Advisors Can Help With Your IT Strategy
A strong IT strategy is imperative to an organization’s success and sustainability, but the strategy is only the beginning. Implementation of the IT strategy requires strong IT leadership to work with business executives, IT staff and vendors.
It is important to assess the skills, expertise and bandwidth of your team as you think about the roles and responsibilities required to implement the plan. Hartman Executive Advisors is a leader in helping CEOs develop and execute effective IT strategies that align with their business goals. Contact Hartman Executive Advisors for more information about IT strategy planning for 2022.