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|Defining An IT Strategy|
WHY DEFINE AN IT STRATEGY? Many small to medium size organisations often don’t see the need for a well balanced, practical IT strategy until it is too late. This often results in expensive system replacements that could be minimised over time through an effective IT Strategy.
So what are the keys to developing an effective IT Strategy that supports your business objectives?
Information must be readily available that provides a thorough insight into the core business of your organisation. This level of detail may be revealed through interviews with key business stakeholders, from existing business plans, discussions with staff and reviews of other company documentation such as annual reports. Throughout this process it’s important not to forget that your information technology infrastructure exists only to support your business.
You will also need to decide whether embracing new technology will provide a genuine competitive advantage or whether adopting a less risky “middle-of-the road” approach is more appropriate.
The status of existing business and office automation systems within an organisation is required to establish a baseline against which future improvements can be made. Analysis of help desk logs and past IT project implementations will provide a valuable insight into the challenges that have been presented in the past. Businesses also need to have an understanding of current technology trends and should be prepared to accept change.
Now that we have an understanding of where your business is focused as well as an assessment of your current technology platforms, a gap analysis should be performed that will highlight areas for improvement and assist in establishing a “priority list” of activities.
Planning & Recommendation
This final step makes use of the information gathered to form plans and recommendations to enable technology to support your organisation’s core business focus.
It is imperative that the recommendations and initiatives formed through an IT Strategy are relevant to the organisation. For example, a small printing company employing 10 people is unlikely to require an 8-way server cluster to support its business processes!