Information technology has risen as a critical element for business growth and success. It enables firms to do more with less resources, drastically improve how they deliver products or services, create new business models, and more. In fact, some businesses rely so heavily on IT services that they cannot function without it.
Given this, even small businesses need to implement an effective IT strategy.
#1. To align IT with the company’s current and future goals
Without any planning and strategy, companies can easily end up with multiple IT solutions that do the same job. For example, within the same company, employees might be using different chat apps like WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Slack. Even if they are just using the free versions, using multiple similar products is inefficient. And as small businesses grow, software and hardware are often added on an ad hoc basis. They might end up with IT tools they don’t need, don’t work well together, or are not robust enough.
A strong IT strategy can alleviate these issues by streamlining the systems used across your organization. It can serve as the blueprint of how technology supports and shapes the organization’s business strategy, and show where IT should head over the next three to five years, based on the needs of key stakeholders, including employees, customers, and business partners.
According to Joni Podolsky, author of Wired for Good: Strategic Technology Planning for Nonprofits, the IT plan should be tied closely to the organization's strategic plan:
“...so that the business is thinking through the appropriate tools needed to accomplish the specific goals and strategies it is striving for in both the future and the present. Therefore, if the business has a three-year strategic plan, then the technology should also be a three-year plan. If the strategic plan is for five years, then so should be the technology.”
#2. To plan and prepare for large IT investments
Covering multiple aspects like hardware purchases, software licenses, managed IT services, IT personnel salaries, energy costs, and more, IT costs can be quite significant at times. That is why it’s important to estimate and allocate for present and future needs.
By crafting a strategic IT plan, organizations can carefully identify when equipment or systems will need to be replaced, upgraded, or phased out entirely. Not only does this help prevent unbudgeted IT expenses, but it also enables businesses to raise money and spread out those expenses across multiple years to keep the bottom line healthy.
A planned approach to purchasing IT solutions allows for effective budgeting, making them more cost-effective in the long term.
#3. To keep abreast of new technologies and cyberthreats
According to a Forbes article, rapid technological change is the biggest threat to global business. New technologies arrive and mature at an increasing rate, while the development of cyberthreats outpaces the creation of security measures meant to protect users against them. It is then important to closely monitor the IT scene so you can strategically leverage emerging technologies and trends to your advantage and also secure your company from cyberattacks. Failing to do so will make you vulnerable to unexpected changes and costly consequences.
It’s best to partner with an IT expert like Frontline to help you develop a strong strategy. We possess both the business and technology skills required to ensure that your company maximizes your IT investments, becomes prepared for future IT expenses, and stays ahead of the technological curve. Contact us today to get started.