The adage “measure twice, cut once” applies to most things in life. When it comes to technology planning, it’s no different—you’ll waste less time and money dealing with problems by planning carefully. It can be easy to think of technology as a blanket solution to many of the challenges your organization may face. And indeed, with the right IT resources, you’ll be able to leverage limited capital in smarter, more effective ways. An IT upgrade is likely to provide greater efficiency and versatility, making it a natural progression for the existing processes you may already have. Additionally, it helps your bottom line—you can improve productivity, find more customers, retain partners, and save money.
However, the thing with technology is that it comprises a wide variety of options and solutions. In the last few years, there have been rapid advances in cloud computing, data management, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and more that can impact your business. While most of these can be a great fit, they may not be the best option for your startup. You can make the right choices by building a technology plan, an IT roadmap that will guide your business from vision to reality. Here are some considerations that should be included in your blueprint:
A technology plan should include a mission statement that outlines where you are planning to go and what you hope to accomplish. Of course, your mission statement must be aligned with your organization’s overall mission.
Technology needs and assessment
Evaluate your existing technology and innovation resources. Include an appraisal of information systems and staffing needs as well as your physical equipment and software. It’s also a good time to identify which resources work and which ones meet the current standards of your industry.
For example, if you need to buy a server, you don’t need to spend a lot on a state-of-the-art one. Smaller businesses can opt for a more economic option. Nowadays, cloud-based servers may be gaining popularity, but onsite servers that you can operate yourself are still a good way to go. And hardware like this will be easier and more affordable to expand as your business grows.
Long-term and short-term goals
It's important to describe the goals for your organization. Consider answering the following questions to flesh out your project management plan. Having this information will help align your IT strategy with your business goals:
- Should you consider outsourcing IT development and support?
- Are you investing in the right technology?
- Do you measure the value technology brings to your business?
- Is your current IT environment managed, maintained, and secured properly?
- Can we maintain support for your customers? Is is cost effective?
- Can your IT strategy support your current and future needs?
Your IT budget should be a wish list of potential project and technology investment that are expected to be reduced, trimmed, and rejected. Rather than attempt to secure the maximum pile of cash, your budget should be a manifestation of your IT strategy. For example, if you’re migrating infrastructure to the cloud, your budget should reflect operational savings so you can use them as justification for increased project expenses elsewhere.
Better cybersecurity infrastructure
Cybersecurity is crucial. Glitches in your security systems can cause huge losses. Part of your IT plan should be to invest in good security software and network security to keep your business safe against data and budget leaks that could damage your company’s reputation.
From phishing, malware, and general data theft to denial of service attacks, the threats are diverse and far-reaching. Recovering from a severe breach can cost millions of dollars.
Taking a strategic approach to technology planning allows you to shift your IT focus towards important areas that can drive tangible business value. Careful planning will help you get the right tools that fit your business and ensure that they’re integrated effectively.
A reputable managed service provider (MSP) like Charles IT can assist you with creating a viable small business technology strategy. We’ll help your business navigate the plethora of emerging technologies and structure a technology plan that maximizes your IT budget and addresses your current and future technology needs. Give us a call today and let’s get started.