Businesses of all sizes are trying to catch up with the rapid evolution of technology to stay relevant, profitable, and connected to customers. But this isn’t as easy as buying the latest gadgets available in the market and pushing them to your team without any strategies. It’s important to have an extensive plan tailored to your organization.
Technology planning determines how an organization can best use IT to improve their operations. It takes time and resources to see what’s appropriate for the entire organization, but doing so can lead to greater productivity, improved employee morale, and better customer service.
Here’s a checklist you need to run through when it comes to technology planning:
#1. Establish leadership and support
A technology plan shouldn’t be written by just one person. You should get the following people involved so that the whole organization is behind you:
- Tech specialists: This should be made up of a wide range of employees, such as a board member, project manager, executive director, administrative assistant, or an accountant. Include your system administrator if you have one. Conduct meetings regularly to review the plan’s progress, and make sure to distribute responsibilities equally.
- Management: It’s crucial to get active support from management, as they are the key to the financial support of your technology plan. One way to convince them is to describe the costs of not doing a plan. Let them know how much time, productivity, and money is wasted in the current setup.
#2. Assess your resources
After forming a team of people who will lead your technology plan, it’s time to assess your current situation. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Where is my business now?
- What technologies does the organization have?
- Which technologies work or need improvement?
- What technology skills do the employees have?
- Who does the company turn to for IT support?
Afterward, make a basic inventory of the hardware and software in your organization. This will give you an idea of the overall capacity of your workstations, and will help you avoid buying redundant, incompatible, or outdated technologies. Document your network setup, access policies, and management practices as well. After taking all of these into account, ask yourself how well these things are working for the business.
#3. Identify your needs
Why are you creating a new technology plan? How will it be able to help your business operate better? Remember that your plan is all about how you want technology to work for you and not about just buying the latest technology in the market.
Consider all the problems you might encounter in your organization, such as new policies and procedures. From there, think of all the tools that can help you solve these issues.
For example, look for ways to improve communication within the staff, as well as the important issues in the organization.
You may also find that your staff needs cloud storage. But which services fit your business well? Consider all the features each cloud provider offers and weigh them according to your needs and priorities.
#4. Explore your solutions
After assessing your needs, make a concrete plan on how to achieve them at a minimum cost. Doing extensive research on the web for a solution can help. However, this step requires a lot of technical knowledge, so you may want to hire a consultant such as Binatech for your planning.
Consultants give you insight as to what you need to do to complete an upgrade, including budgeting and creating timelines. They are experts in planning, developing, and implementing solutions that are tailored to each organization.
Before you decide on a solution or talk to a consultant, consider these questions:
- What type of network do you need?
- What hardware upgrades or purchases should you make?
- What software should you choose?
- What’s the most efficient way to connect to the internet?
- What is the best way to train your staff?
- How can you take care of regular system administration needs?
Make sure that all the solutions you pick are compatible with one another. Technology is interdependent, and it would be a waste of money if your new backup server turned out to be incompatible with your new network.
#5. Write your plan
There are several key elements to writing your technology plan:
- Organizational profile: Your technology plan should have a short description of your organization that will set the context for your technology needs. It should include your mission and vision, and details regarding your current situation.
- Technology vision: This part should answer how technology will further your organization’s mission. For instance, if you’re looking to improve communications with your clients, you can envision using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to trim calling costs and provide a unified messaging system.
- Projects: This should contain a description of all the projects you will undertake. Highlight all the benefits such as “improved customer communications” and “faster ticket turnaround time”. List the tasks needed to complete the project, which should always include employee training.
- Budget: Creating a budget is the only way to know whether or not your plan is feasible. This should include costs for all listed projects, troubleshooting and maintenance, and consultant services. Include the salary of a system administrator if you plan on getting one.
- Timeline: This includes the phases of work and deadlines for your plan’s implementation.
#6. Get funding
Use the technology plan to seek funding for your proposed projects. Make sure your requests are practical to increase the likelihood of approval.
#7. Implement your plan
After you’ve carefully written your technology plan, it’s time to implement it. Here are some key elements to remember:
- Designate a point person: This person should oversee the implementation process, communicate with consultants who handle aspects of the plan, and report back to the technology team and management about the plan’s status.
- Break projects into tasks: Ensure clear steps for each individual so you can monitor their progress.
- Assign responsibilities: Designate tasks per employee and ensure that everyone is contributing to the implementation.
- Set a timeline: Set milestones and deadlines for your plan so everyone has an idea of how much time they have to accomplish their tasks.
- Define your successes: Identify success indicators and make sure to assign clear metrics for each. For example, the project is successful if it is able to lower calling costs by 50%.
- Update your plan: Just because you’ve finished writing your first technology plan doesn’t mean you can leave it as it is forever. As new technologies develop and needs and priorities evolve, modify your plan accordingly. If a project doesn't go according to plan, rewrite it and try again.
When it comes to your technology plan, remember that what works for your competitors might not work the same way for you. It might not be a walk in the park, but if your scheme is properly written and implemented, it will help your business take advantage of technology to ensure maximum profit.
Need a proactive IT consultant? Binatech’s IT Consulting service helps you implement the right combination of technologies so your business can grow and prosper. Our expert staff will develop solutions to address your biggest challenges. Call us today to know more.