Developing an IT strategy gives your company a comprehensive roadmap for how technology should be used to meet business goals. This written document explains the factors affecting how the company invests in and uses technology, as well as how it intends to use those factors to move the company forward. To create a truly detailed plan, you should include information about cost, human capital, hardware, software, vendor and risk management as it relates to technology.
All departments within a company, from C-level executives to finance and legal departments, will need to work together to formalize the IT strategy. While the plan should be on paper and somewhat permanent, it should also be flexible enough to amend to new internal and external priorities, objectives and circumstances among other factors.
Understanding IT Strategy
Your IT strategy should outline how technology both supports and creates your overall business strategy. The goals of your IT strategy should reflect those of the company as a whole, taking the needs of employees, customers and business partners into account as well.
Begin your plan by detailing your current technology landscape and what leadership intends for that landscape to look like within the next three to five years. This grounds your strategy in an understanding of present circumstances and future goals.
Then, you can outline the rest of your strategy using the following key elements:
- A brief description of the IT department, including its mission, core values, goals and approaches to accomplishing those goals
- Current budgets and spending forecasts for the next few years
- Descriptions of current and planned IT projects, including timelines and milestones within each
- A list of existing enterprise architecture, department capabilities and capacities and expected needs in the future, including anticipated changes to infrastructure, staffing and other resources
- An analysis of your department’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as of the internal and external factors that currently impact or are expected to impact your IT systems
- An assessment of the potential technology-related opportunities and challenges your company might face and appropriate responses to each
Remember that IT strategy is designed to address complex and detailed aspects of your infrastructure and, as a result, your strategy document should be seen as more of a business document than a technical how-to manual. Be sure to write it clearly, with as little technological jargon as possible.
How to Create an IT Strategy
Once you understand what elements should be included in a detailed IT strategy, you will need to fill each section with the appropriate information. This can be done by conducting an initial review of your existing plan, if any, and collecting documentation of your current IT situation. Next, your team can assess how the company currently uses technology to meet established goals and identify areas for improvement. Working with internal teams in other departments and using outside resources at this stage can help create a complete picture of your company’s technological strengths and weaknesses. This information can then be inserted into your IT strategy plan.
Implementing a Strategy
Your completed IT strategy should be used to guide your business decisions, especially ones in which technology plays a central role, going forward. Make necessary updates to your business practices after developing the initial plan, but be open to making regular changes as necessary to keep up with the latest tech advancements. Holding an annual IT strategy planning meeting can be helpful in ensuring that the plan is still aligned with your organizational mission.
Benefits of IT Strategy
With a comprehensive and detailed IT strategy, your business will be better equipped to create new business models and products, improve customer service and support, increase sales, improve internal productivity and establish better connections with vendors and business partners. This allows your business to maintain a fast pace of growth, as you will be using technology to its optimal advantage.
Executives also benefit from implementing an IT strategy. With a solid plan in place, they will be better equipped to develop goals and budgets, prepare for technology shifts and plan ahead to meet each opportunity and challenge in the most effective way possible. This significantly reduces stress and the amount of time it takes to take advantage of opportunities or prevent problems.
Working with Hartman Executive Advisors
IT strategy consultants can help you create a comprehensive plan in a faster, more efficient manner thanks to their extensive experience in the field. By working with a professional consultant, you will be able to quickly establish a detailed plan that aligns with your business’s needs and helps propel its growth. Hartman Executive Advisors prides itself on working alongside C-level executives at middle market organizations to drive financial, regulatory, and leadership success through technology. Speak to the IT strategy consultants at Hartman for more information about how they can boost your company’s growth.