IT Strategy, Consulting and Technology Planning
Helping Southern California Organizations Use IT to Power Their Strategic Goals
Plan to End Your Technology Problems
If IT support is consumed with fixing problems, then the real problem that you need to address is a lack of IT planning. Your IT structure is more complex than you realize and when you make changes, such as connecting new equipment or adding new software, you also have to take into account how the impact of the change ripples out to other parts of your infrastructure.
What is IT Strategy?
IT strategy is the process of planning for Information Technology in a way that aligns with and enables business objectives. Sometimes known as a technology roadmap or business technology plan, the strategy is documented and includes a budget, priorities and timelines for implementation.
From “Just Make It Work” to Technology Enabled Business Goals
Technology planning is not a project. It’s an ongoing process that proactively improves the IT function of your business and intentionally seeks out ways to use technology to enable your people and your goals. When you have a technology plan -- an actual PLAN, with tasks, timelines, who’s doing what, etc. - you’ll be able to see a clear picture of where technology is going in your business; you’ll be able to make better decisions; and you’ll know exactly what IT is going to cost.
Our growth prospects are pretty good over the next few years and I know having Accent along for the ride is going to eliminate all of those headaches and problems that we can’t even anticipate on the IT side.Chris Pulone, PresidentSeachrome
Accent Helps Companies Plan and Budget for IT
IT decisions are complex and have the potential to impact your whole organization, so we provide experienced Technology Advisors to collaborate with clients to lay out the costs and benefits of every facet of IT in a meaningful way so that the right decisions are made at the right time, In addition to creating an IT strategy, clients count on us to bring them ideas and solutions that are out of their wheelhouse.
Here’s what you can expect to get:
- Cost-effective IT Leadership
- Proactive Research and Planning
- Guidance for Complex IT Decisions
- Critical IT Planning and IT Roadmap
- Understanding of Advancing Technologies
- Clear IT Path and Right-Sized Solutions
How Accent Delivers IT Services
Each Accent client has a designated support team that works collaboratively to deliver all of the services that are needed for a fully staffed IT department.
If you were going to do this yourself, you would need many different people with very different talents and skills to:
- Manage your infrastructure.
- Strategize, plan and budget for the future.
- Resolve issues and take care of routine tasks.
- Enhance the way your business uses technology.
Our services are structured so clients have all the resources they need for each discipline within the framework. Teams meet weekly to review client status and progress, and they own client success. The result is fast response when you need help right now and continuous improvement of the IT function in your business.
Instead of a necessary evil, technology becomes a competitive advantage.
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What You Need to Know About IT Strategy 👇
You really don’t need to be a captive to IT issues and unpredictability when a well thought-out strategy can proactively prevent issues and bring costs under control. Many executives start to see dollar signs when you mention “IT investment”, and while it’s true that there could be some catch-up at first, planning for IT can actually reduce costs when compared with the true costs of poor IT performance.
The first thing to do when you want to use technology strategy to move your business forward is to change how you think about IT. Instead of isolating it as an entity on its own, think of it as a department that can be managed similarly to how you manage other aspects of your business like accounting and HR. That means that the IT department has objectives and performance metrics so that there are targets and ways to measure progress.
IT Planning is Tied to Business Needs
Have you ever thought that IT could actually solve some of your business problems? Well, it can. Besides eliminating daily frustrations, IT planning may be just what you need to you push past your current plateau. In order to do this your IT advisor will learn about your business needs.
The level to which your outsourced advisors get to know your business will give you an indication of how well they’ll be able to align IT with your objectives. The first part of their procedure is to learn about all of the business processes that are related to your current technology. Expect some deep questions here, You may not know all the answers. Your outsourced IT experts might request to shadow some of your employees to actually see and document how they do what they do and this is usually a very eye-opening experience.
Setting Priorities in Your Plan
When you have a handle on your current lay-of-the-land, some priorities will emerge. If your IT situation is chaotic and unpredictable, you’re likely going to have some catch-up to do in order to build a stable IT foundation on which to grow.
Your IT advisor should also identify weak spots in your technology that are exposing you to unacceptable risk. Identifying these “Single Points of Failure” and planning to remedy them will take priority over other initiatives. Staying in business is a priority, right?
Some other problematic situations that will require immediate attention include:
- Refreshing outdated technology.
- Eliminating technology frustrations.
- Assuring security of data and systems.
- Assuring that backups are working.
IT Planning for Business Improvement and Innovation
Once you have a solid IT infrastructure, you’ll be better situated to direct technology solutions towards your objectives and become more innovative with how you use technology -- whether it’s to improve the way you deliver your products and services, or to cut costs by being more efficient.
Some possible areas to explore include:
- Internal and external process improvement.
- Better utilization or customization of your line-of-business software.
- Potential cloud computing solutions.
- Creation of custom reports to improve business intelligence.
- Efficiency analysis and workflow development.
Get Rid of Surprises with Technology Budgeting
If you’re like a lot of business owners and executives, the thought of budgeting for IT is really attractive because one, you’re always getting hit with unexpected IT costs, and two, you think that you’re already spending a lot of money in that area of your business. Budgeting isn’t just about the amount of money you spend. It’s about spending on the right things and predicting when you need to make investments.
For example, a very common problem with many businesses is slow internet. The answer to the problem may not be buying more bandwidth, but analyzing how you currently are utilizing what you have and finding ways to make that more efficient.
When you budget for future IT investments with a strategic technology plan, you still might on occasion have a need that becomes urgent, but if you did a good job with planning, the item was already on your radar and you just need to push up the timeline.
Getting Started with Business Technology Planning
Here are some general steps that you can follow to create a technology roadmap for your company:
- Explore your vision for the company
- Evaluate what you have
- Map your route
- Build the plan
- Start the journey
Going through the process without an experienced IT advisor is probably not going to get you to the best plan or results because, as you now know, the scope of your strategy should encompass more than a list of hardware and software that you need to buy. Additionally, as humans, we get comfortable with how we do things and it’s crazy, but we even think we might get different results without changing our plan.
Dynamic IT Strategy Doesn’t Sit in a Drawer
Once you have worked with an experienced Technology Advisor to develop your IT strategy, you don’t let it collect dust. Your plan should be reviewed on a quarterly basis at the minimum, to gauge progress and make any necessary tweaks due to a change in your business climate.
Accent provides IT Strategy and Technology Consulting to Southern California businesses through our Comprehensive IT Management framework. Call us today to explore how you can empower your goals by improving your IT experience.