Is Your Technology Aligned with Your Business Plan?

These days, technology is a vital tool for achieving your business goals. Your solutions should be designed with work productivity, data management, and client communication in mind. You’ve thought about how you want your business to move forward. You’ve developed your business plan and goals/objectives. Now, it’s time to consider how your technology can best contribute to the success of your business.

With years of experience, Ninestone has put together a checklist to start thinking about technology and the role that it plays in your organization.

  • Is technology incorporated into your business plan?

Your business plan likely includes information about growth and sustainability from a revenue and operations perspective.  But have you accounted for the technology requirements to support the plan?

Consider what role technology currently plays in your communication mechanisms, operations, data and customer management or marketing efforts.  It is used internally to provide tools for your employees, but it also faces outward to address client/customer needs.  Ask yourself: 

  • What types of technology do employees use daily?  
  • What type of technology do my clients/customers need to keep a high satisfaction rate and maximize retention?

It is likely that your business plan includes initiatives that require updates or acquisition of new technology solutions and tools so make sure to address them as part of the planning process. Whether technology plays a large or small part in your business, it is vital to business success.

  • Do your financial plans accommodate technology investments?

Too often, organizations do not include IT as a line item in the budget.  Often, the technology budget is defined as a subset of the overall administrative and/or operations budget, including expenses to vendors that are known to provide technology.  This approach is rather short sighted and does not allow for appropriate technology planning or monitoring from a fiscal perspective.

Financial planning should account for IT in the budget as a cost center or at least specific line item(s) to ensure that you know what you are spending on IT as well as what level of funding is planned for upgrades, modifications and new initiatives.  Failure to include technology in this way can negatively impact your success.

  • Does technology enhance the productivity of your organization and not impede it?

Employees require tools to fulfill their assigned function. Your clients/customers most likely look for ease of use and integration to meet their needs, as well.

Often, employees assume that they are restricted to what is currently available to them.  And, clients/customers may accomplish their requirements through other means if your technology is not user-friendly. 

While it may be the case that the sky is not, in fact, the limit, often there are ways to improve performance and increase satisfaction through fairly minor technology investments.  A review of your technology from the employee and client/customer view can provide tremendous insight.

Your systems must work together to ensure efficient and streamlined processes. Coordinating and aligning your business goals with technology planning will positively impact your business.

  • Is there a team or staff member that is responsible for the IT components of your business?

Systems break, users have problems, and periodic upgrades are required. Although you may not have a full IT department, a primary point of contact is necessary to oversee IT concerns so that employees aren’t left to address issues in an ad hoc manner which can lead to unexpected operational problems.

There are a variety of options for addressing IT support needs and the best option for you depends on many factors, including the size of your organization and the complexity of your technology landscape. The two primary options for IT support, in-house or outsource, are the place to start when thinking about what will work best for your organization.  However, a third, and often more effective way to address the challenge is to adopt a hybrid approach that allows your organization to combine an in-house IT presence paired with some level of outsourced support. To Learn more read our insight on IT Support: Outsource or In-House.

For many organizations, securing external IT support assistance is a good strategy to ensure that you can keep up with the ever-changing technology landscape.

Ultimately, you want to focus on the right technology priorities to ensure business productivity.  Let us work with you to assess your current systems and design a plan that better supports your business.

Give us a call!

The Ninestone Team

November 2018