This is part two of a three-part series that provides insight into understanding, developing, and maintaining your IT Roadmap.
In part one of this series, we discussed the importance of having an IT Roadmap in place to guide your organization’s IT investments in support of your business objectives. This article will dig deeper and address how you go about developing such a Roadmap.
Before getting into any IT system details, we recommend you step back and define your business goals for the next three to five years.
Here are some of the questions that you can address to get the process started:
- What improvements and enhancements would you like to make to your existing products and services?
- What new products or services are you planning to offer in the next three to five years?
- Are there any new markets or customers you would like to serve?
- Are you planning any potential acquisitions or facility or workforce expansions?
- What are key cyber and information privacy risks related to your business plans that you need to address?
The answers to the above questions can be developed by holding a series of executive roundtable sessions, soliciting input from all participants, and organizing the responses into a business plan. This will be a good practice to have in place on an annual basis regardless of any IT planning implications. Once a plan has been developed, you can then start fleshing out IT capabilities needed to achieve such objectives.
At this stage, do not worry about your existing IT systems and capabilities. Think outside the box, gather your management team back together, and ask them questions such as:
- What are some IT capabilities that could support our business objectives?
- Which IT capabilities would best help us satisfy our customer requirements?
- What are some IT capabilities that could enhance our employees’ productivity levels?
- What service and support arrangements do we expect from our IT resources?
- What tools and resources do we need to manage our cyber risks?
Organize and summarize your responses to the above questions to create a wish list of solutions and capabilities that you and the team would like to have in place regardless of any constraints with your existing internal systems and resources.
Once this exercise is complete, perform a gap analysis between your current systems and the ones identified on your wish list. From there, come up with a plan of action, referred to as a Roadmap, to improve your existing IT capabilities.
This gap analysis should address questions such as:
- Do you need to replace or upgrade any of your existing software applications?
- Are there any new systems you should research that would support your future business goals?
- Are your current systems integrated with one another to satisfy your productivity and efficiency objectives?
- Are your current IT resources and arrangements adequate for your future plans?
- Do you have proper cyber security and business continuity mechanisms in place?
Once you perform this gap analysis, it is beneficial to apply ROI metrics capturing hard and soft costs and benefits of potential solution alternatives. After completing this exercise, you will be equipped with the needed information to develop an overall IT Roadmap as the baseline planning document to link IT initiatives and investments to planned business goals and objectives.
In part three of this series, we will discuss some of the hurdles and challenges organizations face in developing and implementing their Roadmap.
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