In last month’s edition of The Voice, we explored why it is essential to have a clearly defined strategy when developing an IT roadmap, so that it aligns to business needs rather than being technology focused.
Once the business strategy, drivers and goals have been determined, and the IT strategy has been established in alignment with those, the next step is to develop a high-level technology roadmap and establish a timeline for delivery of each stage.
The roadmap itself should include the actual technologies to be implemented, an understanding of the current “as is” environment, and the future “to be” environment. Decision-makers can choose these technologies by identifying gaps in the business’s current capabilities, then researching which tools will fill those gaps. This leads to a more targeted IT investment.
The technology should empower the company’s IT department to work in a much more strategic manner, putting their major focus on finding ways to improve the business.
Once the inclusions in the roadmap are agreed upon, the next priority is to establish a timeline for the delivery of each component. This is important so that everyone understands when the proposed new infrastructure will be available, and other necessary steps that need to be taken ahead of time are scheduled appropriately, such as employee training on new systems.
Of course, there will typically be ongoing refinement of the ICT strategy and roadmap as they progress. It’s important to periodically review the mapping of the current “as is” environment and the future “to be” environment; as they are cyclic, fluid documents. It’s also essential to have a degree of flexibility in a roadmap, as priorities can change. For example, if a new product that was in the offing is delayed or shelved; there is no longer a pressing need to develop IT to meet the anticipated demand for that new product. Instead, the team can bring forward and prioritise another project within the roadmap without having to go through the ordeal of developing a whole new roadmap.
A well thought-out and defined roadmap should also improve all areas of the business and enable teams to work with a fair degree of autonomy, as everyone will understand the roles, responsibilities and direction of each department once they have all been clearly defined in the roadmap.
When developing the roadmap, finding ‘quick wins’ can help to get employee buy-in. If end-users can see improvements being achieved quickly as a consequence of the roadmap’s implementation, they will start to think about how it will also make their work better and more efficient, which will make them keener to support it.
Ideally, a quick win would be something that can be fixed inside the first three months. Better still if it is a technology or process change that can be overwhelmingly improved with a quick implementation.
At Brennan IT, we certainly don’t sit back for months if the implementation of new technologies, processes or employees can be actioned straight away to deliver improvements. Recognising areas of weakness and helping to highlight those for our clients is a fundamental part of the value we bring, and it is also a key component of developing a successful IT roadmap.
If you would like more information on how to build a successful IT roadmap, or to find out how Brennan IT can help your organisation, please visit http://www.brennanit.com.au or contact us on 1300 500 000.