Technology: your strategic weapon – but only if you plan it that way!
Technology is more than just the tools and services you use to do your job. Depending on your industry, it can be a competitive advantage and a differentiator in your field: it can provide operational agility, but it can also represent an area of risk. That is why thinking and planning strategically about IT is more important today than ever.
Creating your IT budget for the next year should be a thoughtful, planned exercise that takes into account not just the allocation of funds, but the strategic business goals that have been set out for the organization and the various paths to achieving those goals. Additionally, in a year where most businesses have had to rethink employee roles, interactions with their customers, and overall workflow, the technology needed to enable these changes is key in a company’s ability to function and thrive in the new normal.
Strategic IT planning should include:
Infrastructure assessment - what infrastructure do you have in place? What needs to be replaced and/or upgraded? Are there any mandatory changes that you need to plan for? For example, if you have any remaining Windows 7 computers or Windows 2008 servers in your arsenal, you should be making arrangements to phase out those systems out in the next 2 months.
Changes in your industry - are all your competitors already in the cloud? What new applications and services are available for your industry? How are your competitors using technology to carve out an edge? Are there any regulations, for example, in regard to the handling and storage of data, that will mandate a change to your current infrastructure?
Working from Home - for most companies either a portion or the majority of their workforce is working from home and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. While you didn’t have a chance to plan for this scenario back in March, now that you know this is the new normal, what should you change? What tools and services do your employees need to be effective? What infrastructure changes are needed to facilitate a remote workforce?
Cybersecurity - no matter how big or small your company is, you need to think carefully about cybersecurity. It is not just “the big guys” that the bad guys are going after, companies big and small find themselves victims of scams and fraud. User education and awareness, as well as company processes and policies, are needed to set the parameters and guidelines that will keep your data, your employees, your customers, and ultimately your company, safe.
Special projects - are there any planned or ongoing projects that will carry over to next year? Are those still aligned with the business goals laid out for the company? Special projects can include migrations, replacements, transitions, infrastructure updates, workstations, and server replacements. Projects take a lot of time and energy, so don’t forget to consider the timing of each project and all of their implementation costs.
Hybridge is not only your IT provider but also your virtual CIO. Your partnership with Hybridge gives you access to professionals whose job it is to think IT, all day long. We get to see changes and trends across industries, best practices within industry verticals, and cool new technologies coming down the pipe. That is why meeting with Hybridge for your CIO review is key: we can help you think through all the questions above and share our deep industry expertise with you. To schedule your CIO review meeting, or for additional questions on how to create an IT budget for 2021, contact us at hybridge.com.