Information technology (IT) is a key operational function at many organizations, requiring a strong strategy that is cohesive with the strategies with other departments. Otherwise, these other functional units will be unable to achieve their targets. Thus, it is important to understand why IT reporting, metrics and roadmaps matter and how to use them effectively.
An IT roadmap is a strategic plan that details how the software, infrastructure, and talent of a business will evolve at a high level. When properly developed, the roadmap ensures that staff are working to create a portfolio and department that meet a company’s needs. According to CIO, the best plans include the following elements:
Ideally, the roadmap should cover the IT department’s long-term goals but should be flexible enough to change when necessary. By treating the map as a living document, IT departments can adjust, re-prioritize and tweak their plans to meet the changing needs of their business.
Many IT professionals feel that resources are wasted because they are stuck in a reactive pattern of responding to business user needs. Instead of being able to focus on the future, IT personnel are busy dealing with improvements and risk mitigation on an as-needed basis.
A roadmap can be a way to shift towards a more proactive business model. Leadership can gain the ability to forecast business needs and implement proactive maintenance and improvements before technology becomes a problem.
Strategic roadmaps are a powerful tool for facilitating communications between IT and business leadership. With a well-documented, robust IT roadmap, professionals stand to gain the ability to:
IT leadership can gain the ability to operate strategically and gain critical buy-in from executives on projects that necessitate new talent or other resources. An optimally-used IT roadmap can shift an IT department from a model of crisis response to structured change management.
Gaining the ability to approach IT improvements slowly and with full buy-in from executive leadership allows IT management to appreciate greater efficiency and cost savings due to better planning, executive sponsorship, and more realistic project timelines. To help a company realize its business goals, an aligned IT strategy is critical.