The Importance of Information Technology Planning
Many company’s functional areas presented their New Year plans during the tail-end of the year 2020. They outlined specific tactics and demonstrated how these strategies would fit into the central business goals. The IT departments were not an exception to this periodic routine.
Technology is increasingly becoming an integral part of all company operations and departments. Everything from human resources to sales to marketing requires robust IT infrastructure and applications. So without a clear strategic plan for IT, things can quickly get messy.
This article will discuss why your organization has to plan every IT project before implementing it. Read on.
The world of Information Technology is ever-changing. You can take advantage of these changes only if you’ve prepared for them. Through strategic planning, you can steer your organization through the waves of changes to remain successful.
Consider Blockbuster and Netflix. While the former was still stuck with the old way of renting videos, the later was planning for video streaming. And you how things turned out.
Furthermore, a robust strategic plan prepares your organization for unexpected issues. Have you ever experienced a system problem or outage just before clocking out for the weekend? Without a strategic plan, emergencies can pull you back and cause a lot of losses.
For instance, your engineering team is through new drawings, but you’re running low on storage space. Luckily, cloud migration is among your strategic plan’s core goals, and your team has already implemented a cloud storage pilot project. Furthermore, the CFO is ready to finance the pilot project. So it becomes easier to move up the cloud solution implementation to cater for the emergency.
An IT strategic plan enables your business to anticipate unfavorable scenarios before they occur proactively. So you can rest assured you’ll keep abreast with the competition and the changing market trends.
2. Helps IT to Fit in Everywhere
When laying down their strategies, the IT team will go beyond technological considerations. They’ll expand their thinking to cover the overarching company opportunities and goals.
So expect them to chart other departments’ paths alongside their plans. A professional team strives to understand your organization’s needs from the ground up and get a head start implementing their plans.
For instance, suppose your sales and marketing team is dealing with an increasing amount of client data. Your IT gurus will plan to increase data analytics capabilities, boost data storage on-site, or embrace cloud storage.
But what if these data analysis and storage facilities are still not adequate? You can plan to outsource this task to an external IT consultant or decide to shore them up within your company.
3. Defines Boundaries for Creative Thinking
When developing solutions to your business’ issues, you’ll want to avoid a blank slate, as it gives too much leeway. A strategic plan facilitates conversations around your organizational needs in terms of best IT features, your likes, and dislikes.
You want to focus your planning and problem-solving sessions on capabilities rather than ‘lumber selection’ that don’t improve your larger goals. With a strategic plan, everyone will have a fundamental understanding of the organization’s direction. Therefore, you’ll be in a better position in providing creative solutions that address the exact problems much more quickly.
A robust plan also ensures your organization enjoys operational efficiency as it aligns your functional activities to the set goals. It guides decision making and discussions around budgeting and resource allocations.
4. Helps in Communicating Intentions to Senior Executives
An IT strategic plan is a crucial tool that will help you convince the senior leaders to buy into your intentions. The top leaders are responsible for steering the high-level strategy forward.
Presenting well-documented plans to these C-level executives will help you communicate how your ideas fit into the organizational goals.
Additionally, some of your efforts may be slightly deviant from the grand vision. So discussing your plan with the seniors will give them a chance to redirect these efforts back in the right direction.
Through these conversations, the top leadership can understand the IT department’s function and importance without getting involved in its daily operations.
5. Helps in Handling Shadowy IT
The emergence of ‘Shadow IT’ has gripped many organizations in recent years. Shadow IT is an informal IT department or function that are not affiliated with the formal area. Individual, organizational units tend to create them to solve issues pertinent to them.
Shadow IT tends to crop up when the IT department lacks enough agility or fails to meet other sections’ IT needs. For instance, the marketing department can develop a new application that’s in line with the IT department’s plan. However, the official IT team may not have visibility into it yet. So frustration is bound to hit the marketing team when they fail in getting past the official project management intake process.
A robust strategic plan will help you smoke out the root cause of these informal IT setups and integrate that need to the whole goal. That way, you’ll achieve more flexibility in project management. In most cases, you’ll need to acknowledge the need and win the department’s support for more straightforward incorporation into the central IT department’s objectives.
6. Boosts Cybersecurity
Data thieves and hackers are continually looking for loopholes in the ever-changing technological landscapes. They primarily target small businesses and company employees to access the IT system, steal data, plant malware, and execute other damages.
According to Kaspersky, only 19% of companies with 25 or fewer workers prioritize IT in their strategic plans. On the other hand, larger organizations take more precautions by having a solid IT strategy in place.
Security is a crucial facet in the IT strategy since you’ll need to collect and store organization and customer data digitally. IT solutions can indeed cost an arm and a leg, and not every organization can handle data security internally. But you still need to address the issue, even if you have to outsource cybersecurity operations.
As soon as you begin gathering sensitive data, your cybersecurity strategy needs to kick into motion. And ensure it remains proactive to ensure you’re beating the fraudsters and malicious competitors in their game. Failure to protect your business and customer data can lead to reputational damage, financial losses, and other adverse effects.
7. Facilitates Delegation of Decision Making
Let’s face it- delegating your decision-making task can be a hard nut to crack. Despite your best efforts, your employees will rarely think the way you do. That’s another place where strategic planning steps in.
A strategic IT plan provides a clear decision-making roadmap to your employee. That way, they can make decisions that are in line with your thinking and overarching goals.
A strategic plan empowers employees to decide confidently, allowing them to handle other essential things. So your organization doesn’t have to wait for you to come back. It also helps you nurture your employees for future IT leadership positions. The result is a more agile organization that moves seamlessly amidst critical changes in leadership.
8. Allows You to Start with the End-goal in Mind
Starting with the end in mind is the spirit behind all strategic planning efforts. You need to know where you want to take your organization in the next five years. Otherwise, you don’t stand a chance of arriving there.
A strategic plan gives your organization a sense of direction and helps set up realistic objectives aligned with its mission and vision. It acts as a sure foundation upon which your business can grow, monitor its success, set boundaries for effective decision-making, and pay its employees.
With a clear plan, you also get to step out of your daily thinking and busy schedules. You start focusing on the important instead of the urgent issues. That way, you’ll come up with a mechanism for realizing the critical outcome.
9. Helps in Boosting your Business Profitability and Durability
A dedicated IT plan allows your organization to gain crucial insights into consumer segments and market trends. You also get to understand the service and products you can provide to increase your bottom-line. A well-strategized and targeted approach can harness all the sales and marketing efforts into maximum outcomes. That way, you’ll enjoy increased market share and profits.
Gaining market share and profitability, in turn, helps in cushioning your business through tumultuous times. The strong foresight, foundation, and focus ensure you don’t get trouble riding the next wave of change. Researchers found out that almost a third of leading companies may be wiped out in the next five years. Only those with firm strategic plans stand a better chance of surviving.
A comprehensive strategic IT plan allows you to know where you want to take your IT, how to handle threats, and take advantage of opportunities. If you’re looking for assistance in setting up a strategy that will endure the test of time, Technijian experts are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation now to see how we can inject magic into your business.