When did you last update your IT strategy?
Hopefully it’s something you’ve made changes to over the past 12 months, to take Covid into account.
If you don’t have an IT strategy, or if you haven’t given it much thought over the last year, now is definitely the time to get on with it.
If you use any technology in your business – whether that’s something as simple as a cash register, or it’s a full blown network for 5 locations – a proper IT strategy will be your best friend. It’s the foundation to growing your business. It can mean the difference between surviving a time of uncertainty and thriving through it.
OK, there’s a big chance we are biased! But we cannot stress enough how important a well thought out IT strategy is for any successful business.
Your IT strategy should work alongside your business plan, detailing the ways your technology will accelerate progress towards your goals and objectives. It should take into account both long and short term targets, and leave room for change where necessary (if nothing else, 2020 has taught us just how quickly we might need to adapt).
And while it’s called an IT strategy, it’s not actually about your technology. Sure, you’ll have plans for the technology and devices that you use, and those that you aspire to use in future. In reality, the strategy is about your business, and how your technology can help you to achieve all the things you’d like to, in the easiest way possible.
Getting Started with an IT Strategy
A great starting point is to take a look at your current IT infrastructure. What works well, and what would you like to improve? As your business grows, will your technology grow with you, or will you need to look at new software, networks, and even phone systems?
Speak to the people working in your business. What do they think works really well, and what would they change if they could? Are there parts of your infrastructure that actually hinder what you’re doing? Could you save time if you switched over to different software, or if one app could communicate with another one?
When you’re working with an IT support partner, they will be able to help you identify the right hardware and software. They will make recommendations based on the way you work, and the ways you want to work. They should even be able to spot potential issues that you hadn’t noticed, and suggest a simpler way of doing things.
Your Technology Roadmap
A technology roadmap as part of your strategy will help you to budget better, and know what’s going to be replaced, and when. It’ll stop those surprise costs and random invoices you didn’t budget for.
It can seem a little complicated to do this yourself. But if you’re working with an IT support partner, this is definitely something they should be getting involved in too.
Now, more than ever, every spend needs to be justified. Every investment needs to work hard for your business. You want value for money from everything you do.
Create a range of metrics to help you track how well your infrastructure is actually working for you. It’s nice that your team like the way a certain system works. But if you’re not getting a return on your investment then it’s not working as well as you might think.
Regular Strategic Reviews With Your IT Partner
Your IT support partner should also get involved with regular strategic reviews. It’s up to you how often you do these, but I would recommend at least every 12 months you should look at what’s going well and what’s taking longer than you’d like it to. A few adjustments may be all it needs to get you back on track towards hitting your goals.
And this is why we keep talking about an IT support partner. Not an IT support company. Not an IT support provider. A partner.
Imagine an office building. It has a cleaner who comes in every evening and cleans up the mess that people make.
That’s how lots of IT support companies work. They just clean up the mess.
We actually prefer to work as a facilities manager. You see, a facilities manager is constantly thinking and planning.
They schedule what maintenance the building needs. They look at what they can proactively do to stop the building falling into any level of disrepair.
Yes, there’s still an element of managing the cleaners and making sure they’ve done their job. But they’re proactive enough to stop most of the problems happening in the first place.
That’s what an IT support partner does. We take a proactive approach. We do as much as we can in the background to stop things from going wrong in the first place.
Of course, things will still go wrong. Unfortunately, that’s inevitable when it comes to fast moving technology and data.
But that’s when the clean-up work happens and things get fixed. All of that proactive work means that we need to clean up a lot less than an IT support company that doesn’t work proactively.
Looking For An IT Partner?
Before we talk we’d recommend reading ‘The 2021 IT Buyers Guide‘. This Article is taken directly from that guide and there are 9 more chapters of really useful information to help you make an informed choice of your next IT support partner.
We don’t think you should have to fill out a form to get really useful information so click on the book cover or the link above and you’ll get straight to the Guide. Prefer a physical copy? Email your address to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post one out to you.