For growth and sustainability, businesses– no matter the size– should embrace information technology (IT) and the tools that facilitate it. Thus, at the onset of enterprise creation, an IT strategy should also be formulated to drive business objectives forward.
Not many business executives realize that IT has essential operational contributions—from streamlining your daily processes to improving your customer base, making internal and external communications more fluid. Ultimately, an IT strategy that’s aligned with your business needs can help your business thrive and be competitive.
Know that IT and business alignment is a cycle that needs to be continually evaluated and improved. For starters, though, here’s how you can strengthen the connection between your business goals and your IT strategies:
Set Your Business Goals
Before looking for IT experts for help, be clear on your business goals first. Ask what you want your business to achieve. New businesses may have slightly different goals than an existing business, being that they have to create a more effective brand awareness campaign. In general terms, though, all businesses need to stay competitive, increase revenue, attract new customers, and enhance customer retention.
Whatever your specific business goals are, your technology strategy should be able to support these objectives. For instance, if you’ve identified brand visibility as one of your main goals, check if your IT methods support digital advertising and marketing, as well as search engine optimization.
Establish A More Inclusive Approach
Getting state-of-the-art digital business tools isn’t enough to help improve your business operations. To better identify the IT-business alignment gaps and propose enhancements, involve IT staff, management, and other key departments in the process. IT support shouldn’t only be limited to fixing a computer, the network, or the server.
In some organizations, inter-departmental communication and collaboration, are lacking. Don’t let your business suffer the same fate and experience missed opportunities. In fact, as part of essential business procedures, you can include enhanced communication and collaboration as part of your business strategy, needing the adoption of an efficient team collaboration or project management software, as well as other mobile communication apps.
Assess Your IT Infrastructure and Resources
After identifying the gaps, make an inventory of your business information technology infrastructure – from the computer and mobile devices, servers, routers, hubs, and switchers, as well as your data subscription.
Check whether all your resources are maximized, or if there are certain disparities in the IT capacity and requirements for each department. In some cases, you may need to introduce changes such as getting a VPN service to reduce server and other IT costs.
Again, by using an inclusive approach, you can involve some of the staff for some thoughts on which IT resources may be needed to boost productivity.
Create An IT Plan Based on Your Business Goals
Having listed down the existing resources and needs, discuss with the admin, management, and IT departments for prioritization and budget allocation. Identify the resources that need to be upgraded in line with the most important business goals and make sure to have the appropriate allocations for these priorities.
Make sure to be accurate in your IT plan. Establish clear and workable objectives, place realistic timetables, and identify the people or departments involved in each step. Setting milestones is likewise necessary to know your team’s progress.
For instance, if your business wishes to have attracted more clients and retain existing ones, consider subscribing to a customer relationship management (CRM) software that integrated lead generation functions.
Keep Track of Your Progress
After implementing your business IT plan for a few months, check your business performance to see if the plan is working as intended. In some cases, such as in digital marketing, you can tap web analytics to gauge your performance.
In addition, communication, collaboration, and other business software typically have integrated data analytics tools so you can measure specific categories, including productivity.
If some things in the plan aren’t functioning well, understand why and propose some changes.
Identify Best Practices and Streamline Business Processes
You can read on about the experience of other businesses in implementing an IT plan, but it’s still necessary to learn from your own implementation.
As part of your evaluation process, seek to identify best practices and stick to them to ensure you’re maximizing business IT resources. For instance, installing chatbots on your website or social media accounts can help you save on costs in hiring customer representatives.
In the same vein, getting rid of complicated business systems that generate the least amount of revenue, is a wise choice that can be discovered typically if you’ve done evaluations. Perform these appraisals periodically to see how your IT and business connections fare.
Because markets and businesses can be fickle in this day and age, information technology should be properly aligned with business objectives to ensure that an enterprise is capable of thriving and growing.
When used appropriately, technology can drive business growth by reducing costs, improving productivity, communication, and collaboration. Whether a start-up small business or a large enterprise, you should understand how IT can propel your business forward by integrating resources and strategies in your business growth plan.
This article was originally published here