What is IT strategy?
When it comes to an organization’s information technology (IT) systems and processes, it’s important to have a clearly defined strategy. This strategy should revolve around achieving business objectives rather than just checking boxes to avoid failing audits. Executive input and buy-in are also critical components of any IT strategy. But what exactly is an IT strategy? What does one look like and how can you define it for your organization?
An IT strategy is a comprehensive but flexible results-oriented plan or roadmap that details your organization’s investment in technology and how to leverage it to meet business goals. It should both support and help shape your organization’s overall business strategy, with the main objective being to create and maximize the value of technical resources.
Read more from our "What Is" series:
Key Elements of an IT Strategy
Here are some components you should be sure to include in your formal technical strategy:
- An overview of your existing IT resources, asset inventory, and architecture including data centers, utility and infrastructure equipment, software, contracts, licenses, personnel, etc.
- A listing of your requirements for security and governance, even if it only includes firewalls and anti-virus
- A SWOT analysis of your current IT capabilities
- Your current IT budget and future spending forecasts
- Your current and future IT project plans
- Predictions for technology-related opportunities and vulnerabilities
- The desired future state of your IT environment
- Known gaps between your current state and your desired future state and a plan for how to fill them
Along with these basic components of a strong IT strategy, you should make sure your roadmap is flexible enough to allow you to iterate and continuously align business requirements with IT capabilities. You should also know IT is an ongoing process, not a once-a-year project, and take an approach that demonstrates that understanding.
Why Your Technical Strategy Needs to Be Flexible
Several forces can shape your tech strategy requirements, and many of them are constantly changing. Technology itself changes rapidly, and you must have a strategy that allows you to respond to that change to remain relevant. Here are some more of the top reasons you need an agile strategy that allows you to change direction:
- Competition: It’s important to keep a beat on your competitors and adapt to the market as needed in order to differentiate yourself.
- Digital Presence: In this digital age, your online presence is more important than ever. Like other technologies, things like social media and digital networking are rapidly evolving. You need to stay on top of trends to stay competitive in your market.
- Spending: Cost containment is possibly one of the most important business reasons for have a strong strategy roadmap. The more you know what you’re currently spending and define a budget for upcoming projects, the more control you will have over where your dollars are invested and how much value you’re receiving in return.
On top of these quickly changing forces, other factors like the pushes for energy reduction, server virtualization, mobility, cloud adoption, artificial intelligence, and more make the ability to adapt to the changing tech landscape absolutely critical.
Business Benefits of an IT Strategy in Any Industry
Sometimes it can be difficult to see the value of investing so many resources in developing an IT strategy, especially if your organization has limited IT resources. The truth is an IT strategy is crucial for every organization of every size. Here’s why:
Keeping up with digital transformation is the primary driver for allowing your organization to scale, no matter the industry, product, or target market. You’re going to need effective technology for nearly everything you do to grow your business, from creating new products/services to improving productivity, enhancing customer service, interacting with vendors, recruiting the right talent for your organization, and more. A proper technical strategy can ensure you not only have the technological resources you need, but that you are using the fewest resources and taking the fewest risks needed to maximize the most returns.
Ultimately, by leveraging your technology to the fullest, you can expect to get the most value out of it while reducing operational bottlenecks and expenses, providing clarity around your organization’s goals and clearly communicating them, managing data electronically, and enhancing collaboration.Get started with your IT strategy today!
With a background in technical writing, marketing communication, and web design, Jordan served as Mandry Technology's first in-house marketer.