For every company there are different ways to perform the ‘how’ of strategic planning. While I can’t speak for every industry, I can provide general guidelines as they relate to technology. We specialize in technology planning for many industries and these guidelines are universal across the different business segments.
In general the planning looks at three major factors:
- How many new employees are needed for your projected growth? Technology for each staff member is needed to make them productive and any new employees will need some technology to get them going.
- How old is existing technology? Older technology can slow down the productivity of your staff. In general desktop or laptop computers are good for three to five years. Typically updating older computers is more expensive than replacing them with newer computers.
Server based systems are replaced on a five to seven year cycle. Planning for increased data storage or additional functions will be a part of the planning process.
- Line of business applications are always part of every business management process. Each industry has applications specific to their industry. When preparing your strategic plan for the year, looking at the new features of your line of business application is important. These new features are generally designed to make your business more efficient or improve profitability.
When investigating the features, be sure to request information about the technical requirements of the upgraded applications. In some situations newer servers or adjustments to existing systems will be required to take advantage of improved features.
In conclusion, consulting your IT staff or service provider during your planning process will ensure any new technology will be aligned with your business goals and increase your business profitability.