An IT strategy is a critical element in the success of any business. When you listen to one of our first ever podcasts that we will release later this month, you will hear CTO Matt Faulkner say exactly that. The value of having a strategy in place, and ensuring that strategy is coherent, cannot be underestimated. So, what do we mean by an IT strategy? What should it include and why is it so important to your business? Please read on for some expert advice.
What is an IT strategy?
As with everything in business, IT comes with its ups and downs. As long as you identify the positives so you can repeat them and learn from the negatives so you can avoid them, you can hopefully go in the right direction. One way to ensure this is to have an IT strategy in place.
You might already be familiar with making strategies – for sales, marketing and cash flow – but IT is one area that is often overlooked. This is crazy, when you consider that many businesses rely on technology to survive. Despite this reliance, a strategic approach to IT is often lacking.
What should an IT strategy include?
Putting an IT strategy together is not straight forward. It requires time, patience and a knowledge of IT. To be cohesive and effective, the strategy also needs to take into account the wider goals of the business. This means it will benefit from the input of the business’s leaders.
When you’ve done it many times, devising an IT strategy is simple. In short, your strategy should outline all of the areas of deficiency that bring risk to the business and then map out how IT can work to minimise these risks. It should also outline how technology can keep you on track to achieve your overall business goals.
Some examples of risks you might face include a lack of data security or having no backup solutions in place. Mitigating these risks might therefore involve moving to cloud based applications, ensuring secure system access for remote workers and reviewing third party contractual agreements to ensure that data is secure.
Why is an IT strategy so important to your business?
Having any kind of strategy in place moves you away from the day to day operations and helps you to focus on future development. An IT strategy, in particular, helps you to identify technology risks and plan how to avoid them. IT is an increasingly complex area and not being aware of the future could mean your business doesn’t have one.
Developing an IT strategy means those common problem areas, such as poor IT security and lack of backups are addressed before they become an issue. This can help to future proof your business and put it on the path to success.