Why does an organisation need a technology strategy?

The era of just getting by and “sweating the asset’s” of your technology estate are no longer viable.  To remain relevant, competitive and agile you must invest in technology to enable your business.

Technology has never been so fundamental, so strategic and so important as it is in the digital age. It is being used to create new business models, products and services, enhance existing offerings and create deeper, more rewarding customer experiences – and as such businesses need to develop the right technology and IT strategy for success.

A technology strategy however is floored if it is just purely a “Technical” strategy.  To deliver a technology strategy the organisation must have clearly defined objectives which then allow for the technology strategy to be formed in order to support this.

The way in which a good technology strategy is put together is not led just from an IT department.  It is a fundamental shift in how the IT expertise are perceived from just keeping the lights on to now playing a strategic part in supporting the business.

In order to make that switch, organisations must expect to now be talking at board level about  technology.  This is usually filled by the role of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Chief Information Office  (CIO) or IT Director.  It’s a difficult skill set to find – somebody that can understand the business requirements and then transfer this into a technical plan.

6 areas of a modern technology strategy:

Infrastructure

The underlying infrastructure on how data and services are delivered to the organisation has changed significantly.  Organisations adopting Cloud, Hybrid and on premise technologies now have a pleather of choice in where to provision underlying infrastructure.  This as with anything within your technology strategy should be led by the business requirements.  Key drivers for which route is taken will be things like remote working, security, data access, in house resources and business continuity.

Infrastructure doesn’t just end here.  Your communications platform including Unified Communications (UC), contact centre and collaboration tools will form part of your overall technology strategy.

Applications

Every organisation will have key business system applications.  This can be through a CRM or an ERP or a complete bespoke system.  When defining your application strategy it’s key this is done from a business user level.  Only the business should define what applications the organisation should use.  However, it is key that whatever decision is made is fed into the overall technology strategy and supports a bigger picture.

Data

Without a doubt one of the fundamental shifts in business behaviours now is data, or more specifically how businesses use their data.

Organisations need to access data quickly, easily and confidently that information is relevant and correct. A robust technology Strategy ensures that data requirements are captured, understood and can be delivered back to the business.

Integration

Technology strategies should not be over-complicated making them impossible to understand.  However, one of the biggest consideration for your technology strategy is integration.  If you look back at the business objectives and ultimately the customer experience, mapping out where there are gaps within your organisation to improve overall experience and performance is really where a good technology strategy will come into its own.  Again, this comes back to working with the business on creating a utopia and working back to deliver against a sensible and relevant plan.

Security

Underpinning every part of your strategy should be a security strategy.  When defining any part of the strategy questions around security must be raised and articulated clearly.  It’s important to remember that security is an internal threat just as much as it is external, so a plan of staff training, cyber security awareness needs to be considered. With recent changes in regulation, consideration for new issues or laws, such as GDPR, will form part of your security plan.

Training

Often missed but without a doubt key to ensuring your strategy is a success is training. Understanding your users needs, current skill sets and showing how you can really deliver a technology strategy that get’s into the hearts and minds of the business will ensure your vision is well executed.

A modern approach to defining a strategy

  1. Identify the business objectives
  2. Review the current technology estate and skill set.
  3. Detail a fit gap analysis from what the business requirements are to the current technology estate
  4. Agree a 6-12, 12-24 and a 24-36 month vision that allows you to be agile throughout the delivery of the strategy
  5. Determine the business capabilities that will take priority during the agreed planning horizon and assess the gaps between the current and required level of each business capability
  6. Develop a prioritised roadmap for building the required technology model outlining resources, timescales and budgets