In today’s business world, information technology plays a crucial role in the day to day operations of organisations around the world. Information technology (IT) is no longer a minor support function within a business but a foundation that businesses rely heavily to thrive and succeed.
The difference between success and failure in a business can depend on many things, but a critical part of that success involves business leaders listening to IT leaders when developing plans for future growth. An IT strategy is as vital as a sale and marketing plan.
Why is an IT strategy so important?
IT has become increasingly an important tool to enable businesses to function over the years. Frequently, IT has been added or bolted on, without consideration to what is obsolete or needing to be upgraded in the future, to allow employees to fulfill their roles effectively and the business to stay productive.
An IT strategy takes on board what the business does, what technology employees use to function effectively, and what might change in the future that could change that. Having a comprehensive strategy should define how technology should be used to meet both business and IT goals.
The benefits of IT in business are many, but there can be challenges:
Key elements of an IT strategy?
One of the ways to ensure your business thrives and succeeds, is to ensure all components of the business align with the same goal. The key to creating a successful IT strategy is to first be clear about the vision that outlines what your company aspires to be, and how IT can help get you there.
A detailed roadmap includes the steps that must be taken to get more value from your business IT and provides a competitive advantage.
Aligning your IT goals with the overall business strategy allows you to see what the company hopes to achieve and what needs to happen to reach these goals.
Setting a budget and allocating costs for IT development and maintenance gives an overview of the company’s performance. It also helps to make priority decisions about your short and long term goals – such as training employees, assessing current IT infrastructure, replacing legacy systems and processes. Long-term business goals should be clear and aligned with your business vision, and include upgrading software or integrating new technology.
A big part of creating a strategic IT plan includes what to do once you begin putting it into place. Ongoing assessment helps to evaluate where you start from and what needs to be adjusted to make sure your headed in the right direction.
All of this can seem daunting to small to medium-sized business leaders who aren’t IT experts. To ensure there is an objective perspective when creating an IT strategy, many companies seek the expertise and advice of external consultants to drive the process. Managed service providers can be best placed to offer companies the peace of mind that comes with having a dedicated IT strategist on board, such as a virtual CIO, who can optimise your business technology.
What’s a virtual CIO?
The Chief Information Officer (CIO), is a person who works within an organisation to guide them through the complexities of information technology, and creates tailored protocols and strategies for their specific business needs. A virtual chief information officer has the same experience, skills, and IT experience but they sit outside the organisation, as an external party.
Using a virtual CIO service presents a major cost saving to companies who cannot justify the cost to hire a full-time CIO. A vCIO’s role is exactly the same as an in-house CIO, providing your business with ongoing IT support, on a flexible and ad-hoc basis.
A vCIO service will:
The future for any company is uncertain, but the difference between business success and failure is to have a clear strategic plan to address unexpected outcomes and create a roadmap to achieve your goals. An IT strategy is essential for most companies to maintain their business objectives and manage risk. To incorporate the key components above and leverage your technology to create a successful business environment, contact the vCIO specialists at RODIN and let us help you create a powerful IT strategy for your business.