It’s planning season again, and by this time of year most organizations have taken a first swing at their business objectives for the next year. One plan that small businesses often times forget to invest time in developing is an IT roadmap. Especially when businesses aren’t in the technology field, the thought process is that all you need is for your systems to be up and running. Getting the most out of technology, and properly allowing your technology to grow with your business, requires much more strategy than this approach would ever allow for.
10 Reasons your SMB Needs an IT Roadmap
It’s one thing to say “I want to move my business to the cloud” or “I want a clear backup and recovery strategy” but without a step-by-step process outlined of how to make that happen, it will likely never be realized.
Aligns Business and IT Strategy
As with any investment, the overall goals of the business have to be taken into consideration. When you develop an IT roadmap, you illustrate how the IT goals are in line with the business objectives. Aligning the Business and IT strategies is essential to getting management from senior objectives, as it can clearly outline how IT objectives and goals contribute to the overall strategic initiatives for the company.
Helps to Assign Priorities of Investments and Time
Again, the biggest goal of an IT or Technical Roadmap is to be able to have a high-level view of the overall technical goals of the business. By having this big picture with steps and progress markers defined, you can more appropriately assign resources to the various tasks to make sure the roadmap stays on track. This includes the time that various resources spend on a project, and in what order their tasks are assigned.
Prevents IT Strategies from Being Placed on the Back-Burner
Without a clear timeline for when different goals need to be met, and the purpose of the goals understood, it is very easy for IT objectives to be put off with the thought that they can be accomplished later. A roadmap provides the timeline for the completion of various tasks and objectives.
Helps you Measure Success
Without an IT Roadmap and goals clearly defined, IT Success could mean little more to your small business than “have I had a computer or server crash lately?” Understanding the goals and what all you want to be able to get out of your technology will provide you with clear criteria for which to measure performance again.
Allows IT Investments to be Strategic
Being very strategic with investments is important in any line of business. This is especially true with technology, when updating your server could cost anywhere from $499 to over $1,000 for a small business. You don’t want to go with the cheaper option, only to find out that you didn’t get enough RAM to support your business functions.
Allows you to Visualize Gaps in Resources that Would be Needed
By having a big-picture view of the goals of your IT, you can identify areas where plans are needed to achieve objectives before they become issues. A common example of this would be to implement a Internet of Things policy before updating your network to be able to support the increased bandwidth. By having all of your goals mapped and out put into a relative timeframe you can avoid these issues.
Modern day cyber security is so complex, that traditional “I have antivirus” thought processes are no longer valid. In order to maintain a secure infrastructure, planning has to be taken into consideration around when licenses need to be renewed, what is operating on an outdated system, and how those systems will be secured. By having all of your maintenance and licensing activities planned out and put in a timeline, instead of handled on an ad-hoc basis as problems occur, you are dramatically reducing the risk of a data breach or system crash.
Allows you to Allocate Resources Effectively
Within each IT project that is outlined for the year, various resources will be needed. These resources include money, technology components, and most of all people. By having a holistic IT roadmap put together, you can visualize how resources can be shared among the difference projects, and outline different needs and capabilities that can be shared. In the case of investment and budget, the roadmap also helps you to determine the priorities and focus on how your funds are spent in a methodical manner.
Provides a Framework to Determine Where New Technologies Need to be Adopted
Once the needs and gaps are understood, management and IT leadership will be able to better understand their capabilities for bringing in new technologies, such as new software, newer servers, mobile or IoT support, among others.
To wrap it all up, IT road mapping is a process that allows your small business to be better prepared for the future. Having a strategic plan in place allows supports a much higher ROI from technological investments through realistic goals, target timelines, prioritization of initiatives, and measured results.
If your small business hasn’t started your IT roadmap for next year, contact our experts today to learn how we can help.