Technology Planning For Your Business

Every successful IT operation has one thing in common: strategy.

Years of working with multiple organizations across several industries have taught our team one thing – no two businesses are alike. That means you need a technology plan that is strategically aligned with your distinct requirements to help you achieve real success in business.

This is precisely what a recent study by Wakefield Research is all about – they surveyed 250 business “decision-makers” at companies that have an annual revenue of $5 million – $50 million to find out exactly what IT means to them.

  • 93% of surveyed businesses recognize that IT is strategically and operationally critical.
  • Surveyed businesses said they would rather lose half their annual revenue than lose half their data.

Despite this, these businesses aren’t investing in or planning effectively for their IT:

  • 66% find that the amount they’re budgeting towards IT isn’t enough to keep up with what they need from it.
  • 77% of those with less than 100 employees have found that their investments in IT are too limited.
  • A third of those surveyed said that less than 10% of their strategic planning was about IT.

All of this goes to show that your technology plan cannot be overlooked. Everyone knows that IT is important and that planning the future of their IT is a necessary undertaking – what are you doing about it?

What Is A Technology Plan?

Too many companies jump from one system or application to another and never realize the full benefit of their technology. Without a technology plan that’s aligned with their goals, they make poor buying decisions and waste money on ineffective tools.

Those businesses that excel know that a technology plan will help them achieve their goals and gain a competitive advantage. The right solutions help them save money, improve processes and exceed their clients’ expectations.

Aligning your information technology solutions with your business plan will be transformational in terms of returns and success. A technology plan can do the following for you:

  • Drive productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness.
  • Save you money in wasted time and effort.
  • Enhance collaboration and communication.
  • Keep you on track to achieve your goals.
  • Show you opportunities to further optimize business processes.
  • Identify and mitigate cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

What Will A Technology Plan Achieve?

Everything we’ve explained about a technology plan so far may make sense, but that’s just in theory. You want to know what a technology plan will look like in action, right?

Let’s consider an example, then: how will a well-developed technology plan support your use of the cloud?

For example, let’s assume you’re relying on outdated and ineffective line of business software. As dependable as it may be (and let’s be honest, mileage varies) software like this has a core flaw – it only works for those who are fluent in it.

After all, it’s not that accessible if you’re not familiar with it. However, you know about new technologies, such as the cloud, can help you get past old line of business software.

You may know about the cloud, and you may want to use it for your work. But doing so without the right expertise can make the migration a tedious process, and the ongoing management can come with downtime and security risks. That’s why many businesses find it difficult to keep up with the latest advances in technology.

Put simply? You don’t have a technology plan, which leaves you will no clear and effective way to migrate to the cloud.

When Do I Need A Technology Plan?

There are a number of situations in which it will become clear that you can’t approach your IT without the right strategy:

1. Your IT, Or IT Support, Isn’t Working Properly

Whether it’s an email client that never works right or the fact that your HR rep is always putting off their work to go fix someone’s computer, you know that something isn’t right.

A faulty process, or unnecessary role undertaken by a staff member, is a clear sign that your organization lacks IT strategy. It means that either problems aren’t getting fixed, or they are, but by the wrong people, which means other work isn’t getting done.

2. You Want To Harness New Technologies

Many businesses find it difficult to keep up with the latest advances in technology. It takes time and knowledge you may not have to keep up to date with recent IT advancements and to understand how to harness them.

With the right expertise and strategy, you should be able to effectively plan to adopt new technologies in the right time frame, according to your budget. With a technology plan, the project will undoubtedly take longer and cost more than expected.

3. You’re Not Getting What You Need From IT

Maybe you recently invested in a new CRM solution, or a new cloud platform. Is it delivering what you expected?

If not, it’s likely due to a problem in your planning phase. You lacked the time or expertise to find a solution that properly aligns with your needs and business culture.

Why Do I Need A Technology Plan?

You need a technology plan because IT is too fundamental a part of the business world for you to ignore any more.

Have you heard about “digital transformation”? It’s one of the biggest buzz phrases going around the business community right now. In fact, two-thirds of CEOs plan to focus on digital transformation by the end of this year alone.

At its simplest, digital transformation is the initiative to use technology for better business outcomes. That’s rather general though, isn’t it?

To understand it, it may be more effective to look at the way technology is changing the workplace, such as that…

  • 80% of the workforce operates at least in part from outside the office.
  • A vast majority (up to 80%) of IT budgets are directed towards “business as usual”.

The fact is that, whether you embrace technology or not, the people you interact with (your customers and employees) will expect you to. If you don’t, they’ll work with someone else who does.

Don’t believe it?

  • 75% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy from you if you know their name, purchase history and can recommend products/services based on that info.
  • 38% of millennial staff members state that outdated collaboration tools have a negative effect on innovation.

What Are Some Examples of What a Technology Plan Might Include?

Any great technology plan starts with a thorough understanding of the organization’s initiatives and programs. After all, the goal of a technology plan is to enable the organization to better use technology to alleviate challenges, reach objectives, and overall, achieve greater growth and success.

Upon gaining a thorough understanding of the organization’s initiatives and programs, a technology plan can be created to outline a general roadmap of projects and/or initiatives necessary, such as:

  • Updating policies and procedures to account for industry-specific compliance regulations.
  • Updating the business continuity plan to ensure proper backups, testing, and documentation.
  • Implementing innovative solutions, such as secure remote access, data management, and other technologies.
  • Replacing legacy systems that are slow, antiquated or outdated and resulting in performance issues.

Although this is only a few examples, a technology plan essentially gives you an idea of what’s coming up on the horizon.

All of this goes to show why you need to make an effort to understand how technology can affect positive change in the work that you do, and to have a plan that reflects that understanding.

From customer experience to workflow optimization, technology is playing a big role in the way businesses operate. Make sure you have a technology plan that aligns your IT with your business goals.