A business owner’s guide to designing an optimal IT roadmap

A business owner’s guide to designing an optimal IT roadmap

An IT roadmap is a document that lays out what state your IT assets need to be in to achieve your business’s goals and how to get them there. It’s a vital tool for ensuring your business can keep up with the times and leverage new technologies that keep you competitive and facilitate long-term success.

Here are some best practices you should use for designing a clear, efficient, and adaptable IT roadmap.

1. Define and analyze your business goals

Your IT roadmap isn’t just a plan to acquire cool new tech. It’s a means by which your business can achieve greater success, be that higher revenue, higher customer satisfaction, or some other metric that is important to you. So before you can go designing the perfect IT roadmap, ask yourself: “Why am I making this document in the first place? What is this new technology supposed to achieve?” If your IT roadmap is not aligned with your objectives, it’s doomed from the start.

2. Assess your current IT and priorities

If you don’t know where you are when you start your journey, the best a map can do is point you in the general direction. A technology assessment will show you the strengths, weaknesses, bottlenecks, and areas for improvement in your current IT network — and, in turn, this information will tell you what you need to change to meet your objectives. Prioritize solutions based on their significance to your goals and their impact on your business, because you can’t do or pay for everything at once.

3. Calculate the total cost

Once you know what you want to accomplish and which things to change, it’s time to think about cost. After getting a rough estimate of what all of your chosen solutions will cost, you can then set a budget that your organization can afford.

It’s likely that the amount you are willing to spend will be under your projected costs, but that’s fine. Just because you can upgrade a piece of technology doesn’t mean you should. A solution in your roadmap might be beneficial later, but does its impact outweigh the cost you would pay today?

Another thing to consider is the total cost of ownership of the solutions in your IT roadmap. Technology is rarely a one-off purchase, as maintenance, energy, subscriptions, and many other costs are necessary to keep the solution working and beneficial. Look carefully at your roadmap to determine if your organization can bear the burden of these new ongoing expenses.

4. Set a timeline

Open-ended timelines do not foster a sense of urgency or facilitate a stable, incremental approach. Set a realistic timeline for your IT roadmap that includes both short- and long-term milestones for achieving its objectives. This structure will make your journey more manageable and your goals more attainable.

5. Put someone in charge

If no one takes ownership of your IT roadmap and there is no accountability for its success or failure, you probably aren’t going to get a favorable result. Assign a department, a committee, or an individual to take ownership of this plan and be the point of contact for other stakeholders in your organization. It can even just be yourself, but someone should be officially in charge.

6. Leave some wiggle room

Design the roadmap with the flexibility to adapt to unforeseen changes, emerging technologies, or shifts in business priorities. Continually review and update your IT roadmap to ensure it remains relevant and responsive to your business’s evolving needs.

7. Bring in expert assistance if you’re able

An IT roadmap is a big undertaking that requires extensive knowledge of business technology and applicable experience. You’ll want to include your IT department in the design of your roadmap, but if you have no such employees, then an outside consultant is your best option.

It’s not every day that you create a long-term business plan that requires specialized knowledge and expertise, so bringing in an expert is a good way to achieve the maximum ROI for your IT roadmap.

Fidelis is a Seattle-based managed IT services provider that can not only help you optimize your technology, but help you create a detailed IT roadmap. From assessments to professional recommendations, we can be the consultant that drives your business forward. Contact us today.

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