You’ve invested time and money in building your business into what it is today. However, the Chicago business landscape constantly changes, and your business needs to adapt to stay relevant. Keeping up with information technology is one of the most challenging aspects of running a business today.
Advancements happen daily in the IT world. However, it isn’t enough to have a website. Today, successful businesses have a complex IT infrastructure that includes cyber security, data protection, connectivity solutions, IT hardware, and on-site support. All these elements need coordination, and that requires a strategic IT plan.
In large companies, a chief information officer (CIO) develops a strategic plan for IT. However, many small- to medium-sized businesses don’t have a CIO, leaving this in the hands of operations managers and small business owners to manage. Fortunately, you can find help with strategic IT planning at Spot Migration Co. If you have any questions please give us a call at (312) 561-9703.
What’s Strategic IT Planning?
Strategic IT planning helps businesses create a clear IT vision and the necessary strategies to use available information technology, digital equipment, and software that adds value to your business. That value is internal, as IT applies to operations, and external, as it enhances your customer’s experience.
Any successful strategic planning always starts with identifying where you want to be after you’ve executed your plan. So, we recommend you develop a goal to reach in a specified number of months or years. Having short-term and long-term plans is okay, but they should align with your long-term goals.
Your IT strategy should support the company’s business plan and goals. As a result, it should align with and support your business’s strategy. Once complete, your IT strategy should result in organizational value, both internal and external.
Any good IT strategy will focus on essential aspects of your business that you don’t usually address in day-to-day operations. In short, your IT strategy provides the roadmap and vehicle for achieving your company’s goals.
Your strategic plan should include principles that guide the decision-making process, not dictate it. Using strategic IT planning must result in organizational value supporting the business strategy to attain company goals. Your IT strategy must create the vision for your information technology to do so, including equipment and applications, and then identify how and when to integrate them.
Think of your strategic IT plan as a flexible frame in a house, one you can adjust as you build. Once you create your IT strategy, you can execute specific steps to reach your goals. Your plan will succeed if you focus on the strategy and let the execution happen intuitively.
Not only should your IT strategy be flexible, but it should also be revised as often as necessary to continue reaching your goals. For example, as the IT landscape shifts with new machines and technology, so should your plan to capitalize on such things. In addition, shifts in the marketplace or cyber security threats often lead to unique needs in IT infrastructure and operational philosophies.
For example, the pandemic saw a massive rise in telecommuting as people were forced to work from home during isolation. That shift created the need for secure portals to communicate. As a result, businesses that grew over these two years were the ones that adjusted their infrastructure to support this activity. In most cases, these businesses were more profitable as a result.
Share Your IT Strategy With Your Team
We don’t recommend that you keep your IT strategy a secret. You don’t need your entire organization to know it, but the key people should have this information. Consider any person responsible for implementing the strategy or affected by the implementation to be a key person. Doing so will result in better execution and lower anxiety as things develop and change.
Benefits of Strategic IT Planning
Any good IT strategy has its benefits. For example, a good plan encourages creativity within specified boundaries and allows you to delegate responsibilities to achieve goals. In addition, you can discuss your IT strategy’s framework with your team and hear what people like and don’t like and what people within the organization would like to see happen.
This discussion process lets you adjust the flexible frame that captures fresh ideas. And, as you execute your plan and employees face a decision, they can consult the plan to see if what they intend aligns with the goals or runs counter to them.
A well-conceived IT plan explains its over-arching vision and the necessary steps to meet business goals through IT initiatives. And your IT strategy lets you and your employees prepare for changes proactively.
For example, your plan might include the need for future IT equipment to handle stages of company growth. Your strategy would have a team investigating the process of implementing new equipment as your company expands its presence in Chicago and beyond. Then, when growth occurs, your team has an action plan they can follow.
Being proactive benefits the organization, especially when the vision is shared. You and your team will react more quickly to changes because everyone understands the company’s goals and the parameters you’ve laid out in your strategy.
Dealing With Shadow IT
A good strategic plan will help you deal with shadow IT. Many small- to medium-sized businesses end up with what the industry calls shadow IT. Shadow IT occurs when an individual department or business unit creates its own IT applications to support its specific needs and isn’t involved with your central IT department.
These departments implement shadow IT because the central IT department has failed to meet its needs. It could be because the central IT department couldn’t respond quickly to change. Often we find shadow IT evolves in the smaller business units of larger companies because the minor department doesn’t receive the focus or prioritization of larger departments. As a result, the smaller department strikes out on its own to resolve its IT issues.
A good IT strategy will help discover shadow IT within the organization and assess how to incorporate it into the central IT department.
Get Strategic IT Planning in Chicago
At Spot Migration Co., we understand the challenges many Chicago-based businesses face in a constantly evolving IT world. If you need assistance creating and implementing an IT strategy, we invite you to book a call today. We’ll link you up with one of our strategy specialists to help formulate a path forward that aligns your IT department with your company’s goals.
Without Strategic IT Planning You’re Guaranteed To Lose Time & Money.
Does This Sound Like Something You’ve Said?
- We didn’t see that coming.
- Why did we wait so long to do this?
- I always have to bring up new ideas for our systems.
- I never get a straight answer.
- We outgrow our equipment really fast.
- Our growth is slowed down by technology.
- I have to do all the thinking.
- I need a partner to help me understand my options.