Business Plan, most businesses have one. They are often created with a grand vision in mind of where the company wants to get to – Your Big Hairy Audacious Goal. As an important foundation of your businesses future, your IT should also have a plan (or roadmap as we call it) that is aligned with your businesses requirements and plans.
Although IT changes and upgrades can often be highly beneficial, they can also be costly, time consuming and sometimes draining for many people in the business. Therefore, these changes and upgrades should always be considered as part of an overall plan to ensure the shortest and most effective path is taken.
Here’s a few tips on how to create your business IT roadmap.
Step 1 – Internal investigation – Talk to the team
As a starting point, there are some key factors you need to be aware of and understand, such as your business direction, objectives, current user pain points and opportunities to improve the flow/competitiveness of your business.This could sound hard to ascertain, however you can easily become familiar with this type of information by chatting to people in your business, or creating a discussion committee involving different departments, and getting to know a) what would help to improve their daily routine and b) asking senior members about their plans and challenges.
Here are some points to keep in mind during your investigation:
- Do your current systems perform well – Are they fast, error free and easy to use?
- Would your business, or staff, benefit from new business systems or solutions? If so, which ones? i.e. an improved document management system to centralise information or maybe a better reporting system for improved tracking of results. These are just examples, however, once you have gathered information on the key factors mentioned above (business direction, objectives, current user pain points and performance opportunities) you should be able to list how IT could help the business’ main needs. You don’t have to be technical, just list the outcomes you would expect from a IT solution, i.e. staff need to easily find information such as general files, policies, procedures and forms.
- Is your business local or does it need multi-site solutions? Do you have employees that often work remotely? Do staff have access to the information and applications they need when they are not at their desk? Does this work well – can this information be accessed effectively from their mobile device or laptop?
- Is there anything about the company’s IT that really annoys the team or slows people down?
Don’t know what else to ask the business? We created a checklist that includes key areas that need looking at and will help your business become familiar with any underlying infrastructure risks or capacity issues that may need to be addressed within your roadmap period.
Step 2 – External investigation – Find out what is out there
Once you are aware of the current risks, IT areas that need to be developed to support the business and areas for general improvement, you can begin investigating options to meet these requirements.
Your IT provider is a great place to start as they will hopefully be able to recommend the perfect solution or point you in the direction of a consultant who can. I recommend obtaining a solution overview and approximate costs for each change you are considering.
Step 3 – Prioritise, organise and document
By now you should know the areas of your IT to be focused on and be aware of clear options that will meet your requirements. It’s now time to prepare and document your plan. Here’s our tips:
1 – Discuss the changes you’ve identified with key personnel, or your discussion committee, to gain feedback that will enhance your findings and help to shape your recommendations. These discussions can also help you to prioritise the changes recommended.
2 – List each change in your IT roadmap document and include the following points for each
|Deliverables – Benefit to the business or reason for the change or improvement
|Considerations – Any points that should be evaluated before proceeding
|Costs – Summarise the total setup and ongoing costs for the change
3 – Finalise your plan by highlighting the key risks and benefits for the business that should be considered as a high priority.
4 – Present your plan to the key business stakeholders. Discuss priorities and pencil in approximate dates that the various changes may be considered. Depending on the cost of the changes and pending approval, you may seek to have the changes added to your company’s financial budget.
Step 4 – Execute
Finally, it’s time to execute. Work towards your roadmap over time and refer to it whenever making IT investment decisions. The steps don’t always need to be done when planned, however, when a priority or problem comes up, you have your plan ready to refer to so you know where you are at in working towards your overall journey.
If you are unsure about your IT environment and would like to discuss your concerns with one of our IT consultants contact us on 1300 991 351 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Bremmar works with our clients to create an IT plan like the above on their behalf. Our consultants are highly experienced and can point you in the right direction of how to start your IT roadmap.