Understand your business’ strategic plan
Meet with the business leaders in your company to make sure that you understand the direction of the corner office. A few questions to kick things off:
- What are the company’s business priorities? Areas of growth?
- Will any sectors of the business be facing major shifts?
- What are your businesses core competencies?
- What are your risks and areas that need improvement?
- Where does your business make the most money?
Map out your current IT environment
You will need to do a thorough current state analysis which should cover the following:
- Performance and age of IT assets Identify your aging systems. Which ones will go end of life and which have already done so? What are you paying for support if anything?
- Capacity Understand your data growth. Where’s your capacity? Will it need to grow in the near future? Do you have a cyclical business so that it may grow and contract again?
- Dependencies Identify any system and application dependencies.
- Costs What’s the budget look like? What are your current IT costs? What is your return on those expenses? Compare current costs to TCO of new equipment. Consider when you are sinking money and time into aging systems and when they are running ok on their own.
- Policies Lay out all of your operational policies and procedures. Are there gaps? Do they need to be updated? Is there overspend or underspend based on what you now know about the business?
Look to the future
Ahh, the fun part! (maybe). Once you have thoroughly charted out the current state of your company’s IT, it’s time to develop goals and priorities for the future. With goals and priorities well-established, it’s time to plot out exactly how you are going to get there.
Identify new technologies
You probably already have ideas of new tech that you’ve been dying to try. This is the really fun part. Your chance to think big. Sky’s the limit! Research. Research. Then research some more. Enlist the help of your IT Services Partner to examine manufacturer solutions. What’s HPE, Scality, or Nutanix got in the pipeline for data center solutions? Just ask! Your IT Services Partner can do the work for you!
Costs + goals + priorities
The money. Alas, we had to get to the cold, hard numbers eventually didn’t we? What are the estimated costs of any new tech you plan to implement? What are your must haves? Nice to haves? What can you do without? Compare cloud and on premise solutions. Are there areas for cost savings?
How will you track your progress? Create milestones to mark the achievement of your IT goals. How will you handle multiple projects? You can’t possibly keep a tight tab on all the progress all the time. Divide things up and decide who will take ownership over each project. Share the load.
Lots of questions to answer here! Depending on how you manage your resources you may get more bang for your buck. Look at who will actually do the work and who can support it? What will you do in house? What third party partners and providers will you bring on? If you are managing multiple teams, how are they collaborating? What cross-functional checks and balances can you put in place? Will your internal IT team be project managing or can a provider give better service? Where does your expertise lie and where do you want your team spending their time? In some cases, the answer to these questions may be, it depends on cost. Do your research here to get those answers before making decisions.
Be sure to consider new skills your IT staff will need to maintain and operate any new tech solutions. If you don’t have it already, create a training budget, there is tough competition in IT and you want to make sure your team is learning and likes working for the company. Cloud and IoT solutions naturally come with increases in user expectations but are also exciting new areas. Give your IT team the tools they need to deliver quality and success. Let’s keep those end users happy!
With any new tech implementation, there are risks and potential problems. It’s always better to identify these (if you can) before they arise. Be a boy scout. Be prepared, keep a small budget aside in case things go awry or in case you need additional items you didn’t expect.
Each company is different, so these factors are a starting point for your team. Your particular company and its IT environment may need different or additional considerations. Your IT roadmap should be custom tailored to your company, your IT team, and your goals. As with any strategic planning process, the more thoughtful and thorough you are, the more useful and helpful the end document will be. We suggest that in this process you also get an IT services provider involved to see what they can bring to the table for solutions, suggestions and other thoughts. Reach out to Comport should you need help with your IT Roadmap.