This is part one of a three-part series that provides insight into understanding, developing, and maintaining your IT Roadmap.
Many managers and business owners are in a reactive mode when it comes to their IT investments. Software applications and IT systems such as servers and connectivity equipment are not always purchased in advance, but rather in response to application or system crashes or security breaches.
Given the increased reliance of organizations on IT systems, capabilities, and resources, you must have a dynamic plan in place. It’s vital to have both a long-term and short-term plan that is reviewed and modified periodically to best represent changes in your business environment. We refer to this as an IT Roadmap, a dynamic plan that is tightly aligned with organizational objectives. An IT Roadmap not only supports business goals but also enables you to explore new opportunities thanks to advancements in IT systems and capabilities.
An effective IT roadmap is holistic in nature and addresses your organization’s current and future needs.
These include existing systems, resources, and capabilities. Systems are often added over time, so there is a mix of older and new technologies. The older systems may be difficult to support due to a lack of available resources, training, or enhancements, or they may lack features and capabilities that should be available to support your processes efficiently. This poses risks to your organization, as poorly fit IT systems and applications result in increased operational costs and lower quality and service levels.
These are driven by changes in industry dynamics such as economic conditions, emerging customer needs, introduction of new products and services by competitors, and technological changes and innovations.
Economic realities such as inflation, employment levels, and market and customer confidence levels impact organizational revenue projections, resource and capital availability, and liquidity concerns. Customer needs also evolve on an ongoing basis, so your business needs to be aware of such changes and be ready to address them to maintain your competitive posture. It’s necessary to have the flexibility to offer relevant products and services as customer needs evolve or as a result of competitor offerings.
Given that IT systems advance at an exponential rate, innovative features and capabilities emerge on an continuous basis that could provide opportunities for new tech savvy entrants to gain market share while also enable existing market players with well-planned IT systems to offer new products and services. Recent advances in areas such as cloud and mobile computing, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, business analytics, and robotic process automation are examples of how emerging technologies are revolutionizing how work is being done and how products and services are delivered while introducing new cyber security and information privacy challenges.
An effective IT Roadmap, as a result, is a planning process that takes into account not only your current organizational needs, but also future needs based on anticipated market dynamics and emerging IT trends. Stay tuned for part two in our series which will discuss specific steps your organization can take to develop an effective IT Roadmap.
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