As a small- to medium-sized business (SMB) owner, you may already have clear strategies on how to manage your finances, employees, and workspace. The question is, do you also have a clear idea of how to use your current technology to achieve those strategies? If not, then your company needs an IT roadmap.
What's an IT roadmap?
An IT roadmap is a visual document that contains plans on when, why, and what equipment and software solutions will be used to drive your business priorities forward while avoiding costly mistakes at the same time. It's a long-term plan designed to analyze and bridge any gaps between your strategic needs and your IT infrastructure. It also checks the capabilities of your employees and business to handle IT needs.
What are the key benefits of an IT roadmap?
Over time, your business priorities will change, which will bring in new challenges and opportunities. An IT roadmap will also evolve with the changing needs of your business to provide key technology initiatives to keep pushing your company forward. Using an IT roadmap offers the following benefits:
- Provides a clear picture of your IT capabilities and their alignment with your goals
- Improves productivity by providing your business with the specific technology it needs
- Enhances your IT security
- Helps clear away systems that cost your company money
- Tackles IT issues and weaknesses
- Helps streamline processes and optimizes available resources
What are the components of a good IT roadmap?
A successful IT roadmap should include these components:
Goals – Short- and long-term achievements your business is hoping to reach
New system capabilities – What will be provided to your business through the enhanced technology systems
Release plans – Focuses on enhancing your systems to support the new capabilities. Release plans are scheduled months in advance and communicated throughout your organization.
Training – Documentation that will guide the internal team supporting the system for the users
Risk factors – Internal and external factors that might prevent your business from achieving its goals
Resources – The manpower required to implement and maintain the systems in place
Status reports – Reports designed to keep everyone informed about the progress of your IT roadmap
Who will benefit from an IT roadmap?
An IT roadmap will benefit all the key stakeholders of your business, but most especially these individuals:
Functional leaders – A well-thought-of IT roadmap will help your company's functional leaders be more strategic when it comes to requesting new technology. With the help of a managed IT services provider (MSP), functional leaders can use an IT roadmap to determine the type of technology your business needs to reach its goals.
IT staff – A good IT roadmap will help IT teams — whether in-house or outsourced — anticipate the technological needs of your business. This lets them coordinate with other departments to plan projects in advance.
Employees and project teams – IT roadmaps provide a clear communication line between leadership and employees. It explains why some projects are more critical than others and why and how priorities shift as the roadmap evolves to meet the needs of your organization.
What are potential challenges you might face?
Despite the obvious advantages that an IT roadmap can provide, there are some challenges that come with it. Here is a list of common problems you and your team might face when building an IT roadmap:
Alienating stakeholders – When you push your organization forward using an IT roadmap, make sure your stakeholders are always in the loop; otherwise, you'll find yourself chasing after them to get the necessary approvals.
Inaccurate information – Incomplete or inaccurate system data can hurt the quality of your IT roadmap. One way to avoid this is by thoroughly reviewing your company's system data before you start roadmapping. You can consult with your MSP and tap into their expertise. Remember, an IT roadmap is packed with details, so you’ll need all the help you can get.
Understanding the potential problems you might face will help you formulate efficient solutions when you're creating your IT roadmap.
Regardless of the size of your business, you will have to rely on advanced and often expensive technology to help your business succeed. Unfortunately, most SMBs in the Ohio area do not have a clear plan for acquiring this technology. This is where Arnet Technologies comes in. Our consultants are well-versed in a wide range of business technology and will help you formulate an IT roadmap for implementing, maintaining, and supporting these technologies. Contact us today to get started.