An annual IT strategy helps you to set your technology on the right course, and make your company goals a reality by aligning the two.
Business IT exists to support your business growth, it should be quietly ticking along in the background helping your team achieve success. Without an IT strategy, it's easy for your technology suite to become messy, complicated and create more problems than it solves.
Having a good IT strategy mapped out will help you and your team stay on course, building the right technology stack that will complement and align with your business goals.
Conduct a situation analysis
A great first step is to conduct a survey across your workforce. This will help you to understand how your team are using their IT, what frustrations they have and what they would like to see. The survey can be anonymous (that usually encourages honesty) but be sure to capture their department so you know which departments are asking for what.
Review your business plan
IT exists purely to support your business' goals and growth. Gaining a good understanding of what goals and projects the business has planned will guide you to make decisions on the goals and projects for your IT department.
An example might be, your company wants to open two new offices interstate. Naturally there is an IT component to setting those offices up. A strategic IT project that aligns with those business goals could be streamlining wifi across all sites. Having the same wireless access points and the same network can really boost your teams experience, it means that when staff travel between offices, their laptops connect seamlessly to the internet. It can also make managing your network much easier.
Review your asset register
Two less exciting but important components of an IT strategy are software renewals and swapping out old tech. You will want to ensure you have an extensive asset register of both hard and soft assets, noting down warranty expiration dates, software renewal dates and when assets first came into your business. Your strategy should state how frequently your computers are replaced - we recommend every 3 years to ensure you're not loosing out on lost productivity.
Both of these components will feed into your IT budget so it is important to keep track of them. It's also a good time to assess whether your current laptop and desktop computers of choice are still serving your business needs, perhaps it's time to start a replacement program. We love the Microsoft Surface and have most of our team using them, it works well for us, offering flexibility in where our team want to work.
Create a list of business as usual changes
Every year there will be an element of business as usual IT changes. These might be upgrading to a new version of software for a major business application, or just general software renewals, noting them down will help you build out a roadmap for the year.
Create a list of strategic changes
As a result of the survey you conducted, reviewing your company business plan and looking at your asset register, you should have a good foundation for creating strategic decisions and models around what your technology stack should look like. This is the most exciting part of writing an IT strategy, being strategic!
Map it all out
Combine your strategic and business as usual changes into a list and then prioritise them, from there you can put them into a timeline listing out what changes you will start in what month. This will become a reference point for your department to review throughout the year, to ensure everyone is still on the same page and is on track for implementing your plan.
Getting everyone on board
Once you have your document complete, we recommend getting input from business leaders from all departments. Asking them for their input and opinion will bring them into the process and help them feel connected to the technology decisions. Technology can be a real pain point for some businesses, so the more people you have onboard with your IT strategy, the better.