Mapping out your information technology (IT) strategy alongside your organisation’s long-term business goals ensures you’re on track and that the technology you have in place is working with you, not against you. When both business and technology strategy are fully in sync, IT can help accelerate both your progress towards your objectives and the positive outcomes associated with achieving them.
As an IT leader within your organisation, odds are you already understand the value of conducting a strategic IT review. But are you able to effectively communicate that value to your company’s key decision-makers?
In our years of partnering with IT teams, we’ve noticed a tendency in them to shy away from the spotlight, preferring to remain behind the scenes. However, this means that the full impact of the work they do remains unknown to others within the organisation, which can limit future investment and buy-in to their initiatives.
Rather than keeping quiet, positioning yourself and your team as key enablers of business priorities is essential to securing the support and the budget that you need to hit your targets.
While there are many benefits to performing a strategic IT review, it can be challenging to accurately articulate them to decision-makers within your organisation.
Generally speaking, it’s important to approach this conversation strategically, emphasising the ways in which technology can contribute to resolving business challenges and meeting key milestones.
Ideally, you want to demonstrate the value that investing in your IT strategy will bring across all levels and departments within your organisation, as well as how to facilitate long-term planning and strategic development while supporting immediate business objectives.
The following are some best practices to keep in mind when pitching the idea of a strategic IT review to business leaders within your organisation.
Go in with a strategic plan: Without a solid strategy in place, it’s difficult to get the support of the necessary stakeholders and secure the budget you need to improve your IT strategy. A comprehensive plan shows that you’ve thought through the entire process, what changes you’d like to implement, and any impact they might have on the business and its operations.
Prioritise business goals: Next, it’s essential to consider how to communicate the value of a strategic IT review from a business perspective without getting too technical. Avoid getting bogged down in the details rather, demonstrate the power of technology to provide solutions to some of your organisation’s most pressing business problems, and you’re much more likely to get people on your side.
Emphasise the risks of falling behind: Using outdated technology can actually put your business at risk and cost you more in the long run. This, in turn, perpetuates inefficient processes, hinders collaboration and slows down company momentum.
Work with what you’ve got: A strategic IT review has the potential to reveal a wealth of missed opportunities, both for optimising the technology you already use and increasing the efficiency of your business processes. This can lead to an increase in revenue, improved customer experience and myriad other benefits to your business. By working with what’s already in place and demonstrating how you can provide value before asking for any investment, you’ll be in a better position to secure the budget you want down the line.
Have a budget in mind: As budgets are typically allocated well in advance, your strategy should include planning and associated cost projections for at least the next two to three years. Forecasted budgets prevent any unpleasant surprises and enable the board and C-suite to set aside the budget necessary to achieve your strategic IT goals.
Define specific goals and measure progress: Key performance indicators (KPIs) can help you to define the impact your technology and IT strategy has within your organisation. One of the major KPIs a lot of organisations look at is, of course, revenue, but you can also consider tracking customer acquisition and savings in both time and money, among other things. Showing how a strategic IT review might impact these and other metrics can help make the benefits of performing one more tangible.
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When we partner with organisations, we are typically trying to get them to think three to five years ahead; this allows plenty of time for planning and to secure the necessary resources, especially if their goals involve digital transformation.
As noted above, your budget requests are more likely to be approved if you approach the board with well thought out plans that are aligned with the company’s overall business strategy.
While the reality of business may be unpredictable, strategic planning entails a certain amount of projection and speculation. A strategic IT review is part of this process, ensuring that your investments in technology are in direct support of the milestones on your roadmap, while also helping to identify new opportunities on the horizon.
If you know that your organisation is looking to prioritise forging new partnerships within your industry, for example, you can demonstrate the ways in which a strategic IT review can contribute to this objective. Executing a review may help you to identify more suitable business partners, as well as facilitating stronger communication and collaboration between parties.
Remember, your budget requests should never come as a surprise. Laying out your plans well in advance allows the CFO or board time to understand the importance of a strategic IT review, as well as to secure extra funding if need be.
Making big changes to IT strategy following a review requires both budget and the involvement of individuals at every level of the company.
You want to demonstrate to the C-suite or board how IT is inextricably linked to key areas of the business, such as security, productivity and profitability; therefore, it’s in their best interest to invest in an IT review and the strategic changes that result from it.
In our role as a managed service provider (MSP), we regularly support IT stakeholders like you in presenting a strong business case for an IT strategic review to your CFO or board-level.
An experienced MSP can bring a fresh perspective, along with years of relevant experience and knowledge of the latest technological advancements—as well as how they may be applicable to your organisation and business processes.
We can also help you define a realistic budget to ensure you’re not asking for funding outside of what’s been budgeted for. This further demonstrates that you’re operating with a clearly defined plan, inspiring trust and confidence in your department.
An MSP like Canon can help you to challenge the status quo within your organisation, as well as work with you to evaluate both your specific needs and the areas where IT may be able to offer greater support while increasing your competitive advantage.
Reach out to CBS to learn more about how we can help you build a roadmap that aligns your IT and business strategies.