As the business and technology landscapes continue changing around us, your company needs a solid IT roadmap to keep up with the changes. However, creating a roadmap can feel daunting, and you may feel unsure of where to start.
But why is it so crucial? Research by McKinsey found that 70% of complex, large-scale change programs do not reach their desired goals. An IT roadmap can help you innovate, improve processes, shift focus, and strategically enable growth. It also becomes your guide during significant changes, ensuring everyone is on the same page and you use budgeted resources effectively.
My team and I have distilled years of experience into this six-step plan for helping develop your IT roadmap, from setting achievable goals to tracking progress and ensuring buy-in from stakeholders. If you want to get started, keep reading.
1. Get the right people in the room
You must get the right people in the room when developing your IT roadmap. You might include individuals from all levels of seniority and IT experience, as they can bring fresh, out-of-the-box ideas you may have overlooked.
Additionally, having buy-in from all parties involved is crucial for success. By involving everyone, you can gauge the level of investment in the proposed changes and develop tactics that have the most significant impact on the organisation.
Furthermore, it’s essential to recognise that those putting the plan together may not fully understand the challenges teams face. By involving a diverse range of individuals in the process, you can make everyone’s voices heard and ensure the plan accounts for all perspectives. So, gather your team, collaborate, and create a roadmap everyone can get behind.
2. Understand the business challenges
Document internal and external pressures, such as staff capacity, legacy software, supplier availability, and inadequate vendor support. Then, prioritise these challenges to determine the issues you will address first and what can wait.
In my experience working with various industries, listing these challenges reveals opportunities for creative workarounds to compensate for the shortcomings of existing systems.
For example, as many of us move back to working in offices, businesses face the challenges of reviewing processes and software they put in place for remote work. It is essential to assess these systems and determine if they are still suitable for your current operations. By understanding and addressing these challenges, you can create a roadmap that supports growth and success.
3. Use these challenges to outline your end goals
You can use the challenges found to define your goals. With this understanding, you can begin to outline your desired structure for the business and plan how to make the necessary changes happen effectively. You can create a targeted and practical roadmap by setting priorities and defining the order in which you will implement changes.
Whether the implementation plan spans twelve months or more, having a clear picture of where the business needs to be will help ensure that the proper steps are taken at the right time to achieve success.
4. Define your stakeholders and highlight their needs
Building an IT roadmap requires identifying the stakeholders and understanding their needs. Stakeholders might be internal or external parties, such as customers, vendors, or silent third parties. When you know the people invested in the business, you can better position the plan to get buy-in.
You should also identify some quick changes you can make in the initial phases of the roadmap to get some quick wins and build good faith with stakeholders. Doing so will lessen resistance to the change and create awareness of the endpoint and benefits that will eventually come from the change.
Finally, when reporting on the plan and its progress, you should consider the stakeholders receiving these reports and the best way to get an outcome from them. For example, when presenting to a board for approval, a one-page high-level update might work better than an entire working group breakdown of the roadmap’s status. By understanding the stakeholders’ needs, you can create a roadmap that aligns with their goals and has their support.
5. Identify capacity and the business impacts
It’s essential to identify your team’s capacity and understand the impacts the changes will have on the business. Knowing what your team can deliver and their available skill sets will help you determine where to bring in external parties or adjust workloads.
Additionally, it’s crucial to consider both the positive and negative impacts that the changes will have on the business, such as improvements in efficiency and growth, and potential negative impacts like decreased productivity or increased costs. By carefully considering these factors, you can avoid the common pitfall of starting too many projects at once and failing to achieve any of them due to a lack of resources or unintended consequences.
6. Communicate the IT roadmap and monitor progress
Once you have established the plan, you must communicate it clearly and concisely to all relevant stakeholders. Use accessible language and metrics that everyone can understand, regardless of their technical background.
Regular reporting and updates keep everyone informed of progress and hold the team accountable for meeting milestones. You can complete this reporting at various intervals (monthly or quarterly) depending on the scale and timeline of the roadmap.
Transparency ensures that everyone knows where they stand and that potential issues or delays are identified and addressed promptly. By doing so, you can avoid falling behind schedule or losing sight of the goals you set out to achieve.
Building an IT roadmap involves identifying challenges, involving stakeholders, understanding the business impacts, and communicating progress to everyone involved. By following this process, you can create a clear vision of how you want your business to look and take the necessary steps to get there.
It is important to note that the roadmap is a living document, so you must regularly reflect on changes in the business environment. With proper planning, communication, and monitoring, your IT roadmap can navigate your business through changes and enable you to achieve the desired objectives.
Why work with RODIN when developing your IT roadmap?
Managing, developing and implementing a strategy for your IT roadmap can be daunting. You need to know if you are picking the right technology, stay abreast of changes in the industry, and ensure that your users get the most from the technology.
So, you need an experienced executive with the expertise to implement technology that supports business growth. RODIN’s CIO as a Service (CIOaaS) ensures you have access to consulting services and the right IT implementations and upgrades with minimal impact on your daily business operations. Visit our CIO as a Service page for more information.