When it comes to your business, it’s always helpful to have a concrete plan before implementing anything. Planning organizes resources and activities efficiently, which in turn helps you achieve your goals more quickly.
This is why building or restructuring your IT infrastructure requires a technology plan. Here are some best practices you can follow:
#1. List your business objectives
What are your goals? Define your short- and long-term goals for the company. This will help you determine what technologies will work best for your business strategy. Remember that business models and machinery are constantly evolving, so you need to update them according to your organization’s current needs.
Don’t focus solely on the short-term goals you have for the year. Consider as well your plans two, three, or five years ahead. Remember that everything you’re doing now should contribute to a larger goal in the future.
Examples of short-term goals:
- Minimize server costs by turning to cloud solutions
- Decrease client turnaround time by using better CRM software
- Minimize the risk of cyberattacks by training staff better
Examples of long-term goals:
- Increase website traffic by 100%
- Shorten customer service processing times by 15%
- Increase enrollment of consumer advocates by 25%
#2. Assess your weaknesses
Next, find pain points in your IT infrastructure. Are your applications outdated? Are your PCs running slowly? Or are your employees experiencing difficulties communicating with one another online?
There will always be some aspects of your business that aren’t performing as smoothly as others. Take note of areas that need improvement, and those that fail to deliver expected profits and output.
#3. Ask for employee feedback
Your technology plan should also include input from your employees. What tools do they need to do their jobs more efficiently? Take time to listen to your staff. Adjust your strategic plan according to their feedback.
Let’s say your company only communicates with each other via email. If some employees are requesting for corporate messaging apps such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, take these into consideration.
#4. Define the expected benefits
What do you want to get out of your technology plan? This might include more satisfied customers, improved communication within the office and clients, reduced costs, or increased productivity.
#5. Calculate a return on investment (ROI)
ROI calculations are useful for determining whether your technology investment will be profitable. To do this, you need to figure out first what financial benefits you gain. Your financial benefits typically fall into five categories:
- Revenue enhancements: This includes IT investments that will allow you to offer a new product or service to clients, which will naturally increase revenue.
- Cost reductions: These are the benefits that will help you reduce costs. Some examples include reduced travel expenses by holding online conferences instead of in-person meetings, or lowering maintenance costs by using better technology.
- Cost avoidance: This includes costs that have been eliminated entirely caused by fewer errors or better productivity.
- Capital reduction: Some benefits can help you reduce capital expenses, such as the reduction of cost of storage and server capacity.
- Capital avoidance: This should include a benefit that would help you get rid of a capital expense entirely, like an IT investment that doesn’t require a new data center.
Calculate your ROI using this formula:
ROI = (Gains-Cost)/Cost
Concrete ROI numbers should only reflect measurable gains. It’s difficult to quantify soft benefits like customer satisfaction, better usability, and better support, but still consider them in your ROI.
#6. Define the cost of doing nothing
Aside from the ROI you calculated, include a description of the risks and costs of not investing in new technology.
For example, if you don’t invest in cloud-based backups and instead use in-house servers, your files might be damaged when disasters such as earthquakes, floods, or cyberattacks strike. This would not only cost you a lot of money, but it could also negatively affect productivity and employee morale.
#7. Consider a phased approach
Your plan shouldn’t be accomplished all in one day. It’s more cost-effective to adopt technology in phases, because not only would this require major changes to your operations, but your employees would need to slowly adapt to it, too.
#8. Find your budget for your IT investments
Demonstrate how your proposed technology plan will fit into your corporate budget. This is a crucial step in your planning, as this will determine whether or not you have a feasible scheme.
#9. Encourage employees to use new technology
Your employees will be the ones using the new technology you wish to implement, so it’s important to get their support. Look for ways you can help employees adapt to new technology.
Conduct regular training programs where they can get hands-on experience with the new hardware or software. Encourage them further by showing them how these technologies can make them more productive and efficient.
Technology planning shouldn’t be complicated. Here at Binatech, we simplify the process by taking a team-based approach to create IT solutions based on your requirements. Ensure a better ROI on your technology spendings. Contact us today!