Are Your IT Services Aligned With An IT Strategy?
It doesn’t matter how skilled your internal IT team is — without a high-level IT plan, you’re most likely just going from one tech problem to the next, with no strategy that will align your technology with your business goals. Do you need expert assistance developing your IT strategy?
Every successful application of IT services has one thing in common: IT strategy.
This is precisely what a recent study by Wakefield Research is all about – they surveyed 250 business “decision-makers” at companies that have an annual revenue of $5 million – $50 million to find out the role that IT plays in their work, and how they’re planning the future of their IT:
- 93% of surveyed businesses recognize that IT is strategically and operationally critical.
- Surveyed businesses said they would rather lose half their annual revenue than lose half their data.
Despite this, these businesses aren’t investing in or planning effectively for their IT:
- 66% find that the amount they’re budgeting towards IT isn’t enough to keep up with what they need from it.
- 77% of those with less than 100 employees have found that their investments in IT are too limited
- A third of those surveyed said that less than 10% of their strategic planning was about IT
All of this goes to show that your technology plan cannot be overlooked. Everyone knows that IT is important and that planning the future of their IT is a necessary undertaking — what are you doing about it?
How Do You Develop A Technology Strategy?
Building a robust and effective technology strategy comes down to answering the right questions:
Where Are You Now?
To best understand your current situation, it’s important to audit your IT infrastructure, perform a risk assessment, and analyze your high-level 5-year plan.
Where Are You Going?
To figure out where you want to be, it will be helpful to consider where you are in your technology refresh cycles, learn about new technology trends and how they could be applied to your business, set expectations for your entire IT team to strategically mitigate risks, as well as invest in consultation as to how IT can drive your business.
How Do You Get There?
Lastly, you combine all three levels into a single robust IT strategy. This includes identifying strategic objectives as well as business goals, building scorecards to track progress, and beginning to execute your strategy.
What Is Involved With Strategic Planning For Technology?
IT Strategy Aligns IT Services With Your Organizational Goals
Sometimes technology is an afterthought, and the investments don’t deliver the results expected because they haven’t been planned and strategized properly. You can’t afford to make significant technology investments with an already-constrained budget.
Most businesses operate on tight budgets, and the cost of current technology can seem prohibitive. But the effective use of technology can help you do your work more effectively, so it often justifies the cost.
It’s critical that you align technology with your organizational goals. But, how do you know what the right technology is? The easiest way is to ask your IT services company – they should have experience working with businesses like yours.
Your IT services company should provide an IT assessment that will examine the technology you use and what’s lacking in relation to your culture, process, and financial requirements.
IT Strategy Evaluates Your IT Services To Determine If You Need A Change
Many businesses continue to use legacy technology systems that are inefficient and less than user-friendly. With today’s newer, cloud-based and more flexible IT infrastructure solutions, your business can have the technology you need at a fraction of the cost of purchasing it.
Plus, you’ll no longer need to worry about technology solutions going out of date. With cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, you can add or delete the number of seats you pay for, and because you pay on a monthly subscription basis, it makes technology easy to plan and budget for.
There are IT services that deliver customized, industry-specific cloud solutions that can help you remove data silos, optimize your resources, and improve operations and efficiencies. By exploring these new cloud innovations, it’s possible to leverage business intelligence that will help you overcome some of the challenges we mentioned above.
IT Strategy Keeps Your IT Services Focused On Security Best Practices
Information security should always be a priority. You could be doing everything else right, but if you don’t mitigate risks and protect your business’ confidential data, you could be the victim of a costly data breach. Just one breach could result in hefty fines, penalties, expensive litigation, and a ruined reputation that scares clients away.
IT strategy-focused cybersecurity policies should have three main objectives:
- Confidentiality of data and information assets and to confine these to only those authorized to access them.
- Integrity of data to keep it intact, complete, and accurate, and to keep IT systems running reliably.
- Availability so data or IT systems are accessible to authorized users when required.
We Will Be Your Strategic Advisor For All Things IT
The fact is that you need to have someone in charge of your organization’s IT strategy. This can’t be left to one of your IT support technicians or engineers — they’re busy with the hands-on work. You need a dedicated role to oversee long-term IT decision-making.
However, finding an experienced IT consultant that is willing to carry out executive-level duties on a small business salary is a near-impossible task. Many businesses simply can’t even afford to even try to hire someone to fill this position — but just because the resources aren’t there, it doesn’t mean that the need for strategic IT services isn’t there either.
Allow NST to help — we can come in and offer assistance in IT strategy development to augment your internal resources. As your organization’s dedicated strategic advisor, we will handle a number of key tasks for your firm:
- Consolidation and Optimization: Your dedicated strategic advisor will analyze and resolve any inefficiencies in your existing IT infrastructure to optimize its performance.
- IT Budgetary Controls: Your dedicated strategic advisor will work with your leadership to establish budgeting and cost-control processes when implementing IT services, support, and equipment-procurement strategies. The goal is to give you the best-running technology without unnecessary expenditures.
- Cybersecurity: With today’s sophisticated hacking threats, you face more risks than ever. The right dedicated strategic advisor service will oversee your cybersecurity from a macro view, managing vulnerability assessments to determine your level of risk, if gaps exist in your IT security profile, provide up-to-date solutions, and training your employees to recognize phishing email attempts that contain malware and computer viruses.
- Adoption Of New Technologies: Today’s manufacturing businesses can benefit from both properly hosted cloud solutions and carefully managed mobile device implementation – but it takes a certain level of oversight to do it properly. Your dedicated strategic advisor can make sure that the implementation of these new technologies doesn’t disrupt your firm’s operations, or put them at risk.
- Case in point: when employees use their own computing devices at work, they must be used in a secure fashion. And the same goes when they work on their mobile devices offsite. Mobile Device Management from your dedicated strategic advisor will make sure your workforce uses their devices in a secure and controlled manner.
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): Your dedicated strategic advisor can help you set up and deploy management software for all aspects of your manufacturing operations. This includes things like product planning, marketing, inventory management, shipping, invoicing, accounts receivables and payables, and more.
The fact is that IT strategy (especially when aligned with overall business strategy) isn’t a one-time thing. Your dedicated strategic advisor will work alongside your team to provide ongoing guidance, support, and services.
Your needs are constantly changing, so your information technology should be too — get in touch with the NST team to enlist expert assistance.