Why All Businesses Need an IT Roadmap
The technology landscape changes fast. Every day presents new opportunities and challenges, as existing services make way for newer ones, your competitors onboard new tools, and the client demand for an efficient and pleasurable experience intensify.
To keep pace with the fast-changing landscape, small and midsized businesses across Ohio must stay on a proactive technology footing for not just how they support their network, but also how they plan their technology.
In a previous article, we’ve talked about the benefits of a virtual chief information officer (vCIO) and how they play the same role for small and midsized businesses that a chief information officer (CIO) plays at an enterprise.
In this article, we’ll look at one of the great tools in the vCIO toolbox: the IT roadmap. Specifically, we’ll see how an IT roadmap designed by a reputable managed IT service provider helps your team better understand your technology, budget for IT with greater efficiency, and streamline the efficiency of their workflows.
Are you spending your IT budget wisely? According to Spiceworks Ziff Davis, 53% of businesses in North America will spend more year-on-year in tech than last year.
The IT Roadmap Focuses You on Long-term Technology Success
The IT roadmap is a centralized document that clarifies for your entire team how your technology will evolve over both the short and long term. The roadmap is crucial to prioritize technology goals and communicate how and why your organization will complete those IT projects, and in what order.
A well written IT roadmap has several important features:
Goals and Initiatives
Every organization has unique business goals, so any worthwhile IT roadmap must start with a series of sit-down conversations with your decision makers. The point of these conversations is so the vCIO team can dig deep into existing business problems and gather input from your stakeholders.
Network infrastructure and hardware
Hardware upgrades, migrations, scheduled maintenance, hardware testing, and other IT management tasks require a major commitment of engineering manhours. No business wants to have to complete those tasks at the last minute or after they’ve lost maximum productivity. Your vCIO team should perform a thorough network assessment at the beginning of your engagement so they can incorporate that data into your roadmap.
If you’re working with a managed IT services provider to help your business develop the strategy, then you’ll rely on their human and technical resources to help you execute on your roadmap. If you’re not working with an MSP, then the roadmap section will outline who in your team is going to be responsible for each task, so each party can schedule accordingly.
Do Small and Midsized Business Really Need an IT Roadmap?
We’ve been working with small and midsized companies throughout Ohio for decades, and many have asked us point-blank if an IT roadmap is really that important. Isn’t it enough for us to just support and maintain the technology they have currently, and worry about the rest of it sometime down the road?
We’re firm believers that having a documented and strategic approach to IT management is best. Here are some of the benefits of having an IT roadmap that should appeal to businesses in any industry.
Achieve Lasting Business-Technology Alignment
As businesses mature, most will start to realize the business and technology goals are not exclusive; in fact, they’re often one and the same. Information technology is no longer a supporting player in most organizations but a primary driver of productivity, which means that every business should have the best technology for doing their work. That doesn’t mean just providing IT as a utility, but as a means of shaping what a company can offer and how it can offer them,
When an organization achieves business-technology alignment, it can achieve long-term sustainability, stronger employee morale, and improved financial performance
The IT Roadmap is Your Key to Effective Budgeting
No small business wants to confront a sudden bill for a new server or storage array. Yet without a clear sense of when your aging hardware and components will need to be replaced, that’s precisely that kind of sudden, uncomfortable expense that they’re positioning themselves up to experience.
An IT roadmap supported by a schedule of regular network assessments (along with MSP partnership) are the most effective ways to plan and budget for technology so that you never get a sudden IT support bill.
It’s just not support where an IT roadmap can be helpful. New and exciting technologies emerge every year, promising to improve how businesses connect and serve with their clients. Those technologies are also expensive.
Pressured to implement new hardware and software to up with the competition, small and midsized businesses may stumble into a project without a clear examination of the potential return on investment (ROI). An IT roadmap developed by experienced technologists will ensure that those projects come in on budget and provide a lasting positive impact on your business.
A survey of more than 1,000 IT decision-makers and senior business executives found that 83% believe adapting to external change requires moderate-to-considerable IT infrastructure and software improvement.
Cybersecurity Demands a Comprehensive IT Roadmap
Cybersecurity is like IT management in that it must be approached methodically and consistently to have the maximum impact. Having a documented plan that lays out key cybersecurity stages and milestones, as well as the resources and time required to achieve those milestones, is a crucial component in your security toolbox.
In smaller businesses, it’s fine to make the cybersecurity portion a feature within the larger IT roadmap.
However, in businesses that have more complex security or compliance needs, you may want to work with a dedicated cybersecurity services provider to develop a standalone cybersecurity roadmap that goes into details about your security challenges, tactics, policies, and tools that you’re going to implement to counter the latest threats, so that you can review and update that roadmap more easily.
Did you know that companies should be spending between 2% to 10.7% of their IT budget on security?
Develop Your IT Roadmap with Our Trusted IT Consultants
Businesses in Columbus and Cincinnati shouldn’t go it alone when trying to budget and plan their network technology. The team of consultants and senior network engineers have been helping organizations throughout Ohio maintain optimal business-technology alignment, reduce worry, and streamline budgets for decades, earning solid 5-star reviews in the process.
Want to plan your IT more effectively? Contact us any time!