In this article, we discuss SME IT Priorities for 2023, and the 5 necessities for you to tackle in your Growth Strategy.
As we begin a new year, it’s likely that the last thing you want to think about is your IT.
However, being the IT super-fans that we are, we’d suggest that now is the best time to do this.
With this year set to be another challenging one, what greater way to start than with a clear strategy for the months ahead?
A solid IT strategy is a critical part of your business growth plans for the year, so your IT Priorities are important to get right.
You can’t grow the business unless your technology serves and enhances what you want to do.
Of course, we’re biased. But a powerful IT strategy really is the foundation of moving your business forward. Especially when times are tough.
With the right strategy and implementation plan, your IT will be one of the greatest tools you have working for you.
Perhaps you haven’t created an IT strategy before. Or maybe you have, but your business has outgrown your original plan.
So, where do you start with your IT priorities?
It sounds like a huge undertaking. But with the right advice and guidance, it’s actually a lot simpler than you’d think to create a personalised IT Strategy.
In this article, we’ve listed the 5 most important areas to include, that will help you to form your IT Priorities and Strategy for this year and beyond.
Before we begin, it’s worth noting that your IT priorities and strategy should take into account business goals for the:
• Short-term (let’s say 6 to 24 months)
• Long-term (3 to 5 years)
We’d always suggest that you focus on an IT strategy that has plenty of room for movement. Because as we’ve seen this year, things can change… and quickly.
You and your team must be adaptable in order to survive – no, to thrive – in these tougher times.
1. OUTLINE YOUR BUSINESS GOALS TO GUIDE YOUR IT PRIORITIES
As a successful business owner, it’s likely that you already have clear goals. After all, this is what drives you to keep pushing your business forward.
But it’s also important to consider how your IT infrastructure will accommodate them. Your IT strategy should support and complement your goals.
Here’s some areas to consider:
- Sales Targets & Pipeline
- Business Partnerships
- Acquisitions or Mergers
- Different jobs or departments
There are many areas to consider, but the core questions to ask yourself for each:
a) Will my current infrastructure support this?
b) What needs to change/where are the gaps that my IT priorities need to plug?
c) Who is impacted and how?
d) Do we understand the solution required?
2. IDENTIFY YOUR KEY PEOPLE AND IMPACT
You probably already know the key people within your business, but they may not be the same people you make either responsible or impacted by your IT strategy.
The next thing to understand is the gaps in your current capability, so understanding:
1. How your technology is currently used
2. Where the gaps are
3. What is more difficult than it needs to be?
4. Feedback from the team on where it needs to improve
5. Who is impacted
Consider these questions carefully, involving the necessary people in your team.
This will give you a fantastic viewpoint of where your need to put effort when it comes to your IT infrastructure.
The sky’s the limit. Your people should be telling you how they’d love things to work in a perfect world; if there were no limitations on what you’re able to do. That way, you can work to find solutions as close to perfect as possible.
3. REVIEW YOUR CURRENT IT INFRASTRUCTURE
You really need to understand how well your current infrastructure is working, in order to see what improvements (if any) need to be made.
You will have made good inroads with this with the previous two strategic considerations.
Next, think about how you will move this forward:
- Will you have an internal person or people handling things, or does it make better financial sense for you to partner with an external company?
- Who will manage liaising with your IT partner?
- Who does your IT priorities and strategy apply to?
With this important step, overlaid onto the previous two, means you are ready to start creating the plan.
It’s important everyone understands that this step needs some critical thinking.
Remember that each department will have a different take on this, because they will be
using your technology differently, depending on their roles. The key is to find the sweet spot in keeping everyone productive, motivated, and happy.
4. CREATE YOUR IT ROADMAP
This might sound like the hardest step, but creating a roadmap for your new IT strategy is vital.
If you’ve followed the advice with the previous 3 steps. and planned properly, it shouldn’t be too complicated.
There is no harm at all in reaching out to an IT Services Company to support you with this. They will be able to help you look at your overall technological architecture, which includes hardware, software, and other tools your people will be relyingupon.
It really doesn’t matter what company you are; large or small, we all rely on such hardware and software.
Your IT partner should be able to make the appropriate recommendations to fit your requirements. And suggest tools that will all work with each other seamlessly, to save time, money and resource.
It’s worth putting your roadmap and IT priorities into sections, to represent different departments, or functions within your business and the differing technologies they will require.
This will help to give you an overview of how everything will fit together when the time comes for implementation.
5. DEFINE NEW METRICS
While your new IT strategy should work to make your business life easier, it’s also of vital importance that it’s cost effective too.
Again, breaking it down into departments or functions is critical. And we suggest creating new KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to help you monitor exactly how performance is changing over time.
It’s worth remembering there may be a short period of adjustment for your people. So you may not immediately see the results you’re hoping for if you’ve made some dramatic changes. But it shouldn’t take long for you to notice longer-term improvement.
Creating and tracking a range of metrics will give you a fantastic insight into how well your new technology infrastructure is working for you.
It will also allow you to be more proactive in identifying and solving minor issues as they arise. And importantly, before your team is impacted.
Your choice of strategic IT partner is critical to getting this right when it comes to IT Priorities and Strategies
This might all sound a little overwhelming if it’s not something you’ve done in your business before. However, hopefully you can see the many benefits of creating an IT strategy, as part of your overall growth strategy.
Bring in the experts if it still seems daunting, and you will definitely see improvements to the way you do business.
Lots of businesses trust us as their strategic partner, and we pride ourselves on finding the perfect solution for them.
Book a no obligation 15-minute video call with us if you need to think about your IT Infrastructure for 2021, to make your business and your staff more productive, with less frustration.