Building Out Your 2016 IT Strategic Plan
Does your technology work for you? Does your IT help your team get their jobs done…or does it hinder their progress and decrease overall efficiency? Does it seem like your tech is always getting in the way?
It’s never too early to start evaluating your IT needs for the New Year. As daunting as technology changes can be, companies that align their IT technology growth with their overall business growth objectives end up saving big money in the long run.
Want to see success in 2016? Your IT budget and strategy considerations should be part of your company’s big-picture strategic planning efforts. Now’s the time to start your IT strategy. Let’s make 2016 your best year yet!
Your First Steps to a Working IT Strategy
It all starts with a company-wide IT evaluation. On a foundational level, list each IT component (systems, hardware, software, mobile devices, OS, SaaS solutions, etc.) you currently use to run your business. You’re looking to get a big-picture view of your IT capabilities and requirements. From here, you’ll not only understand what your IT infrastructure and network is capable of, but you’ll also be able to pinpoint which areas need attention.
Evaluate how your employees currently use your IT. Are they regularly using workarounds due to IT roadblocks? Does your IT team regularly receive complaints about certain systems, programs or connectivity issues?
Understanding exactly what you have, where you stand right now, and what you’re spending allows you to set your sights on where you want to take your company in 2016. Developing a strategic IT plan is both about evaluating your current needs as well as about predicting your future IT needs.
Key questions to ask for an effective 2016 IT strategy:
Is your company growing?
If so, what are the projected growth margins and how will you meet those needs effectively? How will company growth affect how your employees use technology to do their jobs?
What equipment will you need to invest in to stay successful and on top of your game?
Will you be adding more employees? More off-site workers? Will you be storing more data? Will you require more working memory to process a larger bulk of information?How will your IT infrastructure need to be built/revamped/overhauled to effectively keep up with growing demands?
What systems, software and/or equipment will become outdated?
Systems and equipment are only supported for so long, meaning your equipment could soon be outdated and therefore more vulnerable to viruses, malware, glitches, and hackers.
Your Best Bet: Proactive Planning and Proactive IT
When it comes to IT strategy, there are a lot of factors to juggle—but if you feel like you’re always flying by the seat of your pants when it comes to your IT, it’s time to escape that counterproductive reactionary slap-a-Band-Aid-on-and-go IT mentality. Instead, be proactive for 2016 and finally get ahead of the curve.
Outlining an IT strategic plan is one thing. Effective implementation is another. There are plenty of ways to get your IT strategy off the ground. Hiring an outside IT consulting firm can be a cost-effective approach. One of the best ways to save money is to invest in technology when there’s a window of opportunity—and Q4 is a great time for opportunity! For example, don’t forget about year-end tax breaks and credits for new technology purchases and investments. Plus, you can often find great year-end deals on equipment and hardware.
Technology today is the foundation of which business operates. You can’t limp along forever and still expect to see business growth. Take these considerations to heart and start your 2016 with a bang—with an IT strategy you can be confident will support your business growth requirements and goals. Here’s to an awesome year!