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The role of IT has changed. Once seen solely as an enabler of business processes, the IT department is no longer relegated to the sidelines, but has instead become an integral part of business planning and strategy.

As business leaders increasingly recognise the power of technology to help them in achieving their business goals, there’s an opportunity here to level up the use of technology as it currently exists within your organisation.

A strategic IT review can help you deepen your understanding of the role of technology within your organisation, how it supports your business processes and what changes you can make to ensure your business and IT strategy are aligned.

For these reasons, a strategic IT review is often the most logical first step for organisations as they work towards optimising their use of technology, simplifying business processes and fast-tracking their progress.

The value of an IT strategy review

Most businesses are so caught up in their day-to-day operations that they never really stop to think about how their business is operating, let alone what tools and strategies can be implemented to optimise business outcomes.

A strategic IT review can provide the space and time needed for key stakeholders within your company to see things in a new way. It’s much more than an audit of your IT; it’s an opportunity to redefine the mindset and functioning of your organisation as one that leads with technology.

According to Gartner, companies that adopt this shift in mindset tend to see a number of benefits, including:

  • Increased opportunities to use technology to support growth: Rather than looking at technology and business strategy as separate entities, organisations that put technology at the forefront understand that it not only facilitates their business strategy but informs it as well.

  • A clear understanding of goals, priorities and strategies: Setting specific and measurable goals and defining priorities provides you with milestones that help shape your IT roadmap and ensures alignment throughout your organisation.

  • Staying ahead of the curve on emerging trends in technology: Technology is constantly evolving, with new tools and services launching every day. As an IT leader within your organisation, you’re in a prime position to keep on top of emerging technologies, while also identifying the potential opportunities (and risks) they may present to your organisation.

  • Ensuring your organisation remains compliant: Whether you’re bound by government-enforced, industry-specific regulations or you’re concerned about the security of your organisation amid mounting data and privacy regulations, a strategic IT review can help ensure that you’re adhering to necessary guidelines.

  • Ability to effectively communicate the value of IT to key stakeholders: In order to really move the needle in terms of technological advancement within your organisation, you need the buy-in (and the budget) from key leadership.

Undertaking a strategic IT review gives you tangible evidence of the specific ways the right technology can impact your bottom line, enabling you to back up any budgetary requests while also demonstrating the value of technology in terms of business practices and strategy.

Aligning IT strategy with business goals and challenges

Competing goals and priorities can cause friction within your organisation, especially with the increased siloing of different departments that rarely get a chance to interact.

A review is an opportunity to take your IT strategic plan in a new direction while fostering inter-departmental collaboration, making sure that everyone is on the same page and understands each other’s goals.

Within some organisations, the term “IT” can be polarising. However, it’s worth emphasising that these conversations are really about how to harness technology with an IT strategic plan that drives business outcomes, not about individual policies or programs within the company’s tech stack.

That said, a strategic review can also be used to provide insights into the technologies or applications that may already be in use or that are about to be introduced into the business. This gives all stakeholders the opportunity to share their perspectives on how they could be better implemented to help reach the company’s long-term business goals.

Building an effective IT strategic plan

A strategic IT review necessitates the involvement of relevant stakeholders which may include the C-suite, management, and in some cases, team leaders of various departments. It’s essential that everyone is involved at all levels of the business, as this provides a clearer picture of your company’s current state, as well as its overarching strategy, goals, objectives, current challenges, and opportunities to add value or reduce friction through technology.

While decision-makers may shy away from the idea of a strategic IT review thinking that it means adding on a slew of expensive new apps and technologies, this isn’t always the case—in fact, a strategic review can help you optimise your use of existing tools and simplify business processes, no new technology required.

A strategic review is also the first step in defining an effective IT strategic plan that corresponds to the unique needs and challenges of your organisation.

For example, imagine you have a company-wide goal of improving your customer experience. One of the best ways to do this is by focusing on your employee experience. Customer-facing employees are a direct reflection of your business, and happy employees are more likely to deliver a customer experience that inspires repeat business.

A strategic IT review can help you address employee experience by streamlining processes, eliminating unnecessary technology, and reducing friction within the programs that remain. Further, as we start to reimagine the employee experience in a post-COVID world, the right IT strategic plan can help you strike a balance between supporting your staff online and on-site.

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Becoming a technology-led organisation

Ultimately, legacy IT thinking could be holding your organisation back, posing a barrier to advancement and preventing you from making meaningful progress towards your goals.

In order to move forward in a smarter, more strategic way, it’s essential to shift the mindset of key stakeholders within your organisation from looking at IT as an island unto itself to seeing it as an integral and influential part of your business strategy and long-term objectives.

A managed service provider like Canon Business Services ANZ can work with you to develop an IT strategic plan that deepens your understanding of your business, goals, challenges and where technology can make the biggest impact.

Reach out today to learn how CBS can help you improve upon your current business practices by aligning your technology and business strategies.

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