There’s no one way to create a strategic blueprint for your business’ growth and development. Yet it’s vital that a business has – and executes – such a strategy if they want to be successful. It’s telling that in this day and age of continually-shifting priorities, 65% of organizations have a strategy but less than 10% of them actually follow it.
As the Harvard Business Review explains:
Good strategies promote alignment among diverse groups within an organization, clarify objectives and priorities, and help focus efforts around them. Companies regularly define their overall business strategy (their scope and positioning) and specify how various functions—such as marketing, operations, finance, and R&D—will support it.
But how many businesses actually account for their technology needs during their strategic planning? As the above quote shows, marketing efforts, operations, and financial considerations are usually at the forefront. Unfortunately, too many companies – especially small businesses – see their IT needs as being incidental to their growth.
There are likely several reasons for this. 65% of small business owners are concerned how future IT disruptions will affect their business and decide to defer technology decisions. Perhaps it’s a question of being reluctant to embrace new technology like 51% of smaller companies. Or maybe it’s simply a lack of understanding of how strongly your technology is linked to your organizational performance.
Let’s examine some of the risks that businesses who don’t incorporate IT planning into their business strategies.
The Dangers of Failing to Incorporate IT Planning into Your Business Strategy
Technology May be Required to Achieve Business Efficiencies
There’s no question that the right technology will boost your organizational efficiency. Recent advances have allowed employees to work remotely, improve their collaboration through shared access platforms, and have provided new opportunities to automate some tasks for reduced resources and greater accuracy.
But what about future and emerging technologies? Since the technology landscape is shifting so quickly, it’s difficult to know what new efficiency-boosting technology may be just over the horizon.
Advances in Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation, and Business Intelligence (BI) are continually evolving, and you’ll never want to be in a position where you can’t be ready to identify an important trend and be ready to capitalize on it.
Wise and careful business planning can include needed flexibility to adapt to changing technology, so you’ll always be able to stay ahead of the curve and adapt for maximum profitability.
You Might be Hit With Major Business Costs You Hadn’t Accounted For
As internet hosting and domain services giant GoDaddy summarizes it:
If you have equipment that is critical to your ability to do business, you need to make sure you either have a rainy day fund or access to quick capital to fix or replace it to keep the doors open.
Many business owners choose to set aside a fixed amount every month hoping it will be enough, but taking a more strategic approach to anticipate where extra capital will be needed can help make it less surprising.
This is where strategic IT consulting can be invaluable. By getting a complete assessment of the state of your current technology, you’ll be better positioned to plan for needed upgrades and replacements down the road so that you won’t be surprised by major unexpected costs.
Having a clear strategic technology forecast baked into your business strategy will give you a good idea of how long your technology will serve you before needing to be replaced.
Timelines For Business Projects Might be Underestimated
Obsolete technology can hinder your productivity, and can ultimately cause you to consistently underestimate project completion timelines. With unreliable equipment, you’ll never be able to predict with any degree of accuracy how quickly you’ll be able to complete your business projects.
Lack of strategic planning for future technology needs can easily make this a recurring theme going forward, putting your business at risk for project failures, loss of customers, and reduced revenues.
Business Strategy May Drive Different IT Hiring Skill Sets
Your future growth will be driven by the success of your employees. Ensuring you always have the right IT workforce is critical; not only in the face of a pervasive IT talent shortage, but for your continued ability to stay dynamic and competitive in an environment that relies upon technology.
Without anticipating your future IT needs, how will you know what type of talent to recruit? Do your current IT personnel have the right skills and experience to handle future needs? If not, you’ll need to know where your technology needs are heading so that you can have the right people in place to support it.
Make Sure You Have Clarity About Your IT Needs
You depend on your technology to power your business. Because it’s so integral to your success, creating a business strategy without taking into account your current IT status and future needs can lead to significant problems down the road.
But by establishing your IT vision and creating a plan to execute it, you’ll insulate yourself from potentially costly headaches in the future that could threaten your ability to stay competitive.