It’s imperative to get more value from IT investments. This means that IT projects, expenditure and priorities need to be aligned with business goals.
IT strategic planning is often used to meet this need; many companies lack the foresight to create an IT strategy or the ability to implement it.
When every team member has a clear vision of the end goal and overall strategy, they can make their individual decisions in the context of the greater goal, resulting in a true adoption of the strategy.
Although IT provides numerous benefits, companies without an IT strategy can encounter business challenges. There is no silver bullet for developing and implementing an IT strategy, as there are a large number of variables.
With the integration and use of technology within businesses becoming the norm, companies must incorporate a comprehensive IT strategy into their overall game plan to be successful.
What is strategic planning?
In this strategic context, planning refers to the level of harmony between business and IT strategies.
Management should provide IT decision makers with the vision of the overall strategy of the company in a collaborative way. This allows the decision-makers to integrate and exploit new and existing IT capabilities to further the company.
An IT strategy should be;
- A documented process that is frequently revisited
- A strong alignment of business and IT capabilities rather than IT solutions designed to support business requirements
- A future direction for IT focused on value creation
Why should IT be part of your strategic plan?
A weak or non-existent IT strategy can be wasteful for businesses, especially if they operate under a tight budget with minimal people and tools. It can force companies to work reactively. The rapid pace of technology change affects business, according to editor of Fortune Magazine,“CEOs clearly recognise that new technologies are going to radically change the way they do business.”
An IT strategy can significantly help improve the performance of a company by;
- Enabling business to bring products/services to market faster and cheaper
- Meeting the level of competition on sophistication
- Matching the correct level of expenditure to align with what the company can support
- Reducing the risks of an increasingly online business landscape
There should be documented and checked measures that define the value of IT within the business. It should be clear how IT is supporting business goals and how it will do so in the future.
Discussing the IT strategy in congruence to the business strategy allows IT decision-makers the opportunity to provide input on timeframes and challenges, which can help ensure the business is properly supported and goals are achievable. An IT agenda must work toward business-related metrics to improve alignment.
How can you align business strategy and IT
It is impossible to develop a set of strategic IT objectives without a set of business goals, so this is where the IT strategy process should begin.
Leap Consulting’s PPMT process, which stands for People, Process, Management, Technology covers the unique IT engagement model needed to fully align IT with your business goals.
When creating an IT strategy, it’s important to first understand where the business stands. Leap Consulting begin by gathering information about the existing business processes. This allows us to discover the staff’s challenges, what they find difficult or annoying, and where the obstacles lie.
We survey and measure team’s capabilities and compare results to similar companies, giving businesses the insight to keep staff happy, learning, and productive.
By our examination of your current computer systems, Leap Consulting’s strategy and planning services focus on driving real innovation, which enables businesses to free up resources and increase efficiency.
We focus on what makes technology work for people, concentrating on IT literacy and adoption of any new tools to improve processes and profitability.
Once we have an understanding of everything in your business, we’ll then work with you to create an IT strategy that will allow you to address efficiency and profitability in your business.
We’ll create an IT roadmap which focuses on the implementation and specific technologies to be used. It is aimed at ultimately one goal: to optimise your return on IT investment.
According to Strassmann (1998), the following are critical success factors for aligning IT with business goals:
- Alignment Must Show Enhancements to a Business Plan
- Alignment Must Remain Updated as the Business Evolves
- Alignment Must Overcome Obstacles to its Purposes and
- Alignment Must Relate to Benefits.
The process then needs to be fully integrated into the business systems and reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that goals are being met.
Leap Consulting has been helping businesses in Perth plan and execute effective IT strategies for over 10 years. Our planning focus will resonate with clients that believe in investing in their business to achieve their longer term objectives.
Get in touch with us today to see how we can boost your profitability and increase your business’s efficiency with a customised IT strategy.