It’s that festive season, and with a new year around the corner the last thing on your mind will be your business IT. However, preparation is key; so why not have a clear IT strategy to ensure the growth and stability of your business is planned and ready to roll?
It can be hard for businesses to plan for the future, but with the right strategy and implementation, your IT can be the biggest asset in mitigating risks and navigating the numerous unfixed variables that lie ahead. Maybe you’ve outgrown your original plan? Or maybe you’ve never devised an IT plan before. Never fear, we are here to help and guide you to create a perfect personalised IT strategy for your business.
To create this strategy, we must focus on 5 important areas to help achieve your business goals in both the short term (6 to 24 months) and long term (up to 5 years). Naturally, the world can be unpredictable so we will have to ensure there’s plenty of flexibility for your business to thrive going forward.
This may sound obvious, as you’ll already have goals as a business owner (how else do you push it forward?) but considering how your IT infrastructure can support these is important when devising a strategy.
Think of the variables: Can your system help achieve and accommodate your sales pipeline and targets? What about potential future partnerships or mergers? Will your infrastructure grow with the business? Will individual departments require specific tools or support? Are key staff or departments at the heart of the benefits that this strategy will bring?
Outlining your goals from the outset will help steer the direction and requirements of your IT strategy.
You’ll need to establish who will be responsible for delivering your IT strategy; will it be someone in-house or does it make more sense to outsource to an external IT expert? If so, who will liaise with them and who/which areas of the business is your strategy designed for?
These questions must be considered carefully, and you should take feedback from each department. Ask them how they use the current technology/systems, where they can be improved and what changes could help them fulfil their job roles to the best of their ability.
Think about timelines for the implementation of the strategy; will it be a large-scale roll-out over the whole company? Or you could gradually integrate departmentally to assist with budget and troubleshooting potential issues with the proposed changes. Have a date in mind for when you would like to complete the update and plan backwards from there.
There is little point in creating a strategy if you do not ascertain where improvements need to be made (if any) so a thorough review of your current IT infrastructure is imperative.
Again, speaking to your key staff is the best method to establish where the current system is flawed, or not allowing optimum efficiency. Ask them simply what improvements could be made to make their job easier and reduce turnaround times. You may be amazed by the number of small details that could be changed to make a big difference!
Ensure that everyone involved understands that there are no limitations to this improvement. There is no point in encouraging feedback if the suggestions can only be half fulfilled – ask your staff to visualise their perfect world at work and what they need to make that a reality. Understand that everyone is different in their views and potentially in how they use the current infrastructure, but the only way to find that ‘sweet spot’ for staff happiness and productivity is to listen.
Now that you have an idea of what you want your new and improved system to look like, it’s time to map out how to get there!
This is a vital step in implementing a new IT strategy. Strategic IT partners, like us here at Acu IT Solutions, are here to assist in recommending all aspects of your technological architecture; the hardware, software and other IT tools that will enable your new system work seamlessly as one.
Use your map to isolate what differing technologies each department will require from previous feedback and discuss with your IT partner to figure out the steps needed to complete this implementation as swiftly and efficiently as possible.
Of course, this new IT strategy won’t come for free and ensuring that it is cost effective is vital.
To best monitor the benefits of your new strategy, it is best to again look at individual departments with new KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that will highlight progress from the flaws or deficiencies of the previous infrastructure. Over time, these will begin to show how performance is changing, but remember that it does take time for people to acclimatise to change.
Creating and tracking a range of new metrics will provide you with a detailed insight into the benefits of your new strategy, while allowing you to proactively single out any minor issues before your team is impacted. It won’t be long before you see some longer-term improvement!
We appreciate that this is a lot to take in and planning a strategy can be overwhelming, but hopefully you can see that a successful IT strategy is intrinsically linked to a business’s growth. As always, it is best to seek professional help from IT experts if it feels daunting and we promise you will see the benefits.
If your current IT support company isn’t proactive when it comes to a strategy, perhaps it’s time to rethink who your IT partner is?
You can book a no obligation 15-minute video call with us at ACU IT to find out more.
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