In today’s economy, business can’t function without technology. Email, social media, websites, online ordering, inventory control, cloud computing, mobile computing…and the list goes on. Recent articles talk about the place of wearables such as fitness trackers and smartwatches in technology planning, the need for sales, marketing, and IT to work together on technology implementation and budget, and what you should expect from your IT department. What all of these have in common is the need for a comprehensive technology plan that considers both the role of technology in the business balanced against the cost of that technology.
With the proliferation of wearable technology, Seth Robinson explores “The Place of Wearables in Technology Planning” in a February 9, 2016 article in WindowsITPro. He speculates that although wearables have taken on the mantle of The Next Big Thing and they will continue to be in the workplace to a certain extent, it’s important for the IT Team to explore new options while still being cautious. In “CMOs/CTOs: Let’s Have Lunch” by David Baker published on March 7, 2016 in EmailInsider, the importance of technology and marketing working together is explored. The prevalence of social media has thrust marketing further into the world of technology so that both functions must work together to propel the business forward. As consistently functioning, high quality IT services become ever more important, does your IT function provide the support you need?. The expectations outlined in “5 Things to Expect from Your IT Provider” posted on March 29, 2016 on SmartDataCollective, are relevant. Many business functions rely heavily on technology, which means that strategic technology planning as well as uptime and backup plans are critical.
So, what does this mean to you and your business? Do you have a technology plan that matches your business goals and fits within current budget constraints? Do you have a technology plan at all? If not, now is the time to develop a plan that will move your business forward and maximize the advantages of current technologies.
Do I need a plan?
How do I know if I need a technology plan? Well, let’s start with a few questions.
- Do you find that technology interferes with the productivity of your business?
- Are all employees comfortable and proficient with all technology tools?
- Does your technology spend result mostly from reacting to problems or unanticipated requests?
If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, you need to develop a new or expanded technology plan. For other tips on evaluating the health of your current technology, review our Technology Planning Checklist.
Where do I start?
Now that you know you need to work on a technology plan, how do you get started? With proper planning and budgeting, your technology solutions will start to match your company goals while also controlling spending.
The first step is usually an assessment of your current technology landscape. The next step is to review business goals and how technology ties into achieving those goals. Aligning technology spending with business goals begins with planning and budgeting. By carefully considering your maintenance, data storage, security and solution requirements, and setting goals for spending more effectively in all areas, you can define and implement a strategy that makes technology work better for the business as a whole. Once you know where you are and where you want to be, you can develop a strategic plan to bridge the gap.
How do I proceed?
Moving from a technology line item budget to a technology strategic plan that aligns spending with business objectives may seem like a daunting task, but with the right expertise, the process can be a smooth one that dramatically increases efficiency while also developing a state-of-the-art technology landscape within your company. Ninestone has extensive experience with strategic planning and budgeting which results in not only stabilizing spending on technology, but also increasing capabilities and satisfaction among management and staff. Ninestone can help develop the plan as well as oversee the implementation of new technology that creates tangible results, including administrative savings and increased collaboration opportunities for employees.
To read more about building an effective technology budget, see our white paper IT Budgeting Best Practices.
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