IT strategy is a framework that guides decisions about your technology so that it actively contributes to your company's success. This approach isn’t just for enterprise level companies. Companies of all sizes depend on technology for their business processes, and all can reap the benefits of a comprehensive IT strategy to improve and grow. That's why more and more executives ask us - what is IT strategy? And, how can they create one that works for their company?
The Benefits of IT Strategy
Before we describe the main benefit of IT strategy, let’s first define what it is not. IT strategy is not reactive in nature. While your IT business strategy can be flexible, it’s not a contingency plan. It is not designed to guide your decisions based on certain situations. Instead, it is a forward-looking blueprint for your future technology integration based on your budget and your business goals.
The primary benefit of an effective IT strategy is transforming unpredictable IT into predictable IT. If predictable IT is not the focus of your strategic plan, you’re likely not optimizing your technology spend.
IT strategy allows you to focus resources on creating a reliable IT framework by guiding your decisions about technology activity and investment. Your strategy will help you achieve your overriding goals while improving the technology experience for employees and customers.
Step One: Align Your Business
IT strategy does not start with IT. It starts with the specific objectives in your company’s business plan. Some examples of objectives might include:
Increased market share
It’s important that you delve into each department’s plan to support your overall business strategy. Finance, Operations, Human Resources, and Sales and Marketing have their unique needs. Your job is to find the places where they intersect each other.
Creating an IT strategy can have a unifying effect. Your IT strategy consultant can listen to the needs and challenges of each area and make connections between departments that will help everyone make better decisions about technology. From there, you can draft a predictable IT plan that benefits all areas of your business.
Step Two: IT Strategy Framework
A strategy is just wishful thinking unless it has the tactics to implement it. That’s where the IT roadmap comes in. The roadmap lays out the steps that your company will take to execute your strategy. Your starting point depends on what kind of IT environment you currently have in place. A company with a very unpredictable IT framework will need to identify and prioritize investments that will transform it into a predictable environment.
What is IT strategy and how do you get started? Download the IT Strategy Quick Start Guide
For companies where IT doesn’t cause day-to-day frustration and problems, the roadmap provides clear focus for people or departments seeking new functionality. A documented IT strategy plan gives decision makers a tool for measuring how the proposal fits in with their budget and future plans. Having a predictable budget for IT is a key benefit of IT strategy.
An IT budget allows companies to be more flexible when something unexpected happens. They know what their technology plan looks like so they can pivot as needed to adjust their plan with changing circumstances. They can also jump on innovative ideas when they pop up because they have a solid technology foundation on which to build.
Step Three: Deploy the CIO
Historically, the role of the IT manager hasn’t included the kind of executive and management interaction that companies need to align their technology with their business goals. Companies get stuck when they look to their internal IT department or even their IT support company for guidance but don’t find it. They end up making decisions about technology that don’t yield the results they expect because they missed this critical role.
What companies need is the expertise of a Chief Information Officer (CIO). For smaller companies with limited resources, that may seem out of reach. With Thriveon’s IT strategy consulting, it’s entirely possible. When you work with us, you get your own personal, fractional CIO as your lead consultant.
Experience the IT Strategy Difference
Thriveon’s IT services includes the selection, implementation, and management of technology infrastructure, applications, and services at all levels. We’ll survey your teams to make sure they have the tools they need to do their jobs efficiently. At the same time we look at technology from the C-suite level to ensure your strategy aligns with your business goals, including a dedicated IT security strategy that protects your assets. Contact Thriveon today to learn how a dedicated Thriveon CIO can draft a predictable and sustainable IT strategy that works for everyone at your company.