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Your Business IT Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide

As technology has continued to improve and develop, IT strategy and planning have become necessary components of your overall business plan. Without a solid set of IT strategies, your business will not be optimized to accomplish its goals or protected from cyber threats. Over time, this can lead to negative consequences such as financial losses or even data breaches. 

But how do you create an IT strategy?

Step 1: Understand Business Objectives

The first step in any IT strategy is to understand your business objectives. Engage with key stakeholders to gain insight into their goals, challenges, and expectations. This alignment ensures that the IT strategies you develop will support and enhance the overall business plan, rather than working against it.

Key questions to consider include:

  • What are the organization’s short-term and long-term goals?
  • What are the critical success factors for achieving these goals?
  • How can IT contribute to these success factors?

Step 2: Assess Current IT Capabilities

Before planning for the future, it is essential to assess your current IT capabilities. Conduct an audit of your existing IT infrastructure, applications, processes, and skills. Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (this is often called a SWOT analysis) within your company’s IT. This assessment will help you understand your business’ current position, and what improvements are needed to support future growth.

Areas to evaluate:

  • IT infrastructure (hardware, software, network)
  • IT processes and workflows
  • IT team skills and competencies
  • Current technology investments and their return on investment (ROI)

Step 3: Identify IT Needs

Based on your business goals and current capabilities, you must then identify the future IT needs of your organization. This is the time to consider emerging technologies, industry trends, and potential disruptions that could impact your business. Think about how developing technologies could be leveraged to create growth.

Questions to explore:

  • What new technologies can enhance our business operations?
  • How can we improve our IT infrastructure to support future demands?
  • What skills and competencies will our IT team need in the future?

Step 4: Develop IT Strategic Goals

Now that you have a clear understanding of your business’ IT needs, it is time to develop specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) IT goals. These goals will direct your strategy by addressing the gaps identified in your current capabilities, and should align with your company’s overall plan. 

Each goal should have a clear roadmap, including key milestones, responsible parties, and required resources.

Examples of IT goals:

  • Implement a cloud-first strategy to improve scalability and flexibility
  • Enhance cybersecurity measures to protect against evolving threats
  • Develop a data analytics platform to support data-driven decisions
  • Invest in IT training programs to upskill the workforce

Step 5: Create an Action Plan

Once you have defined some IT goals, create a detailed action plan outlining the steps needed to achieve them. This plan should include specific initiatives, timelines, and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your progress.

Components of an action plan:

  • Initiative description and objectives
  • Timeline and milestones
  • Resource allocation (budget, personnel, technology)
  • Risk assessment and mitigation strategies
  • KPIs and performance metrics

Step 6: Implement and Monitor

Begin implementing your IT strategy. Ensure effective communication and collaboration across all departments to facilitate smooth execution. Monitor progress regularly using the established KPIs and adjust the plan as needed to address any challenges or changes in business priorities.

Step 7: Review and Adapt

IT strategy and planning are an ongoing process. Regularly review and assess the effectiveness of your IT strategy, taking into account new developments in technology and changes in business objectives. Be prepared to adapt and refine your plan to ensure it remains aligned with your organization’s growth trajectory.

Prepare Your Business for the Future

Developing an IT strategy is a long and complex process, but it is necessary for businesses attempting to leverage technology for business growth. A proper IT strategy can drive innovation, protect against data breaches, and prepare the company for whatever new technologies may develop.

Ascentient’s team of expert consultants can provide expertise while you strategize your business’ IT, helping you step into the future with confidence. Discover our IT strategy services now to learn more.