IT Strategy Roadmap
IT Strategy Roadmap
An IT strategy roadmap is a strategic plan of a business to execute the IT strategy. After creating the IT strategy, it becomes pertinent for businesses to define each step that ensures successful implementation of the IT strategy. With the formulation of a clear IT strategy roadmap, businesses find it easier to bring everyone in the company on the same page regarding the actual goals to achieve and the small steps required to accomplish them. Business leaders, CIOs, and relevant members of the IT strategy team must have access to the strategic thoughts behind the final IT strategy and the plan to realize it.
Therefore, an IT strategy roadmap demonstrates the current IT capabilities and capacities of a business at the left end and the IT and business goals at the right end and then describes the small steps taken to reach from the left end to the right end. With a clarified stance on these points, the organization enables the team members to identify with the IT strategy and agree on the broader strategic objectives so that resources are allocated accordingly. Such an IT strategy roadmap also gives a clear view of the strategic requirements to the IT team that can help them to separate the valuable IT assets from the not-so-valuable ones and redeploy the latter ones for betterment.
Now, since we understand what an IT strategy roadmap is and why it is important for any business, let us focus on understanding what it includes and how it is planned. The key elements of an IT strategy roadmap are:
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Elements of IT strategy roadmap
Business and IT alignment
Although the IT team has a separate set of goals and functions as a separate silo from the business part of a company, they at least have one common objective of improving customer satisfaction. For a few years, the IT department has started collaborating with the business part to reinvent the processes that can help in overall decision-making. You must ensure that your company’s IT strategy aligns with the business strategy since IT plays a key role in every function and it brings efficiency and flexibility to the overall organization.
To achieve this alignment, you must assess the current collaborative nature of functions in the current setup. You must understand how different departments are communicating, discussing issues, sharing insights, brainstorming ideas, and facing challenges. Once you understand the gaps, you must define the shared goals. The IT department must share the implications of technology advancements and innovations to the various business processes with business leaders. The business leaders must ensure to incorporate the IT goals into the business goals so that the benefits of IT expand to all functions and processes.
You must appoint a Business Relationship Manager (BRM) who will be the connector between the IT department and other functions through collaboration, communication, and interaction. A BRM ensures to converge the business and IT capabilities that will improve the relationship between different departments and IT. Businesses will achieve the business-IT convergence only when they make every stakeholder understand the role of IT as a medium to achieve business success. With such a convergent business and IT, the IT initiatives will become more effective, the ROI of IT investments will rise, and all departments will be able to harmonize for efficiency. Businesses will reap the benefits such as quick time-to-market, the accomplishment of strategic goals, and better customer experiences.
As-Is system analysis
An IT strategy roadmap requires you to be doubly sure of where your current IT capability stands, what IT assets you possess, what is the current situation of these assets, etc. You need to analyze the current usage of :
Computer hardware such as computer systems, routers, drives, telephones, etc.
Software such as operating system and application software
Telecommunications such as Ethernet cables, fiber optics, wireless, LAN, WAN, etc.
Database and data warehouses
Database and data warehouses
Human assets required to run the system and carry out the processes and their skillset
You must be fully aware of the current usage of IT in all the functions and what impact it is bringing to the mentioned processes. It is important to know about the risks that your IT assets and capabilities face and the risk appetite of each. The ‘as-is’ analysis requires you to connect with the actual users of IT systems so that you get the actual viewpoint on the current status, document them, and report them to the relevant management authority.
To-Be system analysis
Once you are aware of the current IT situation of your company, you need to develop the desired state of IT. This will be the ‘to-be’ system analysis, which tries to find out what do you propose as the future scenario of IT, considering further advancements or innovations or new uses. It is extremely crucial to measure the implications of changes in IT on other business functions since the processes must not get disturbed but become more efficient.
All the factors that were assessed in the ‘as-is’ analysis step must be revisited to study the desired state for each. The ‘to-be’ system analysis requires discussion and brainstorming with the actual users, management, and IT experts to understand the possible outcomes of the change. You must factor in the assessment of the ROI of the changes so that the decision-making authority can understand the feasibility of the shift from ‘as-is’ to ‘to-be.’
When you reach this point, you are aware of the gaps between your ‘as-is’ and ‘to-be’ system and the requirements for alignment between IT and your business processes. Now, you just have to add milestones to break the IT strategy into a journey of small achievements towards the business goals and IT-efficient functions. Each of these milestones must be defined clearly and comprehensively, along with a mention of the timelines, costing, and effort required to accomplish the IT strategy.
An IT strategy roadmap is essential for the successful realization of an IT strategy. It is a tool of communication from the business to the key decision-makers, employees, and team members who will execute the IT strategy and who will benefit from the successful implementation.
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