Why your Business needs a Strategic IT Roadmap
Typical strategic plans are like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, they will include growth plans for new and existing markets, analysis of competitive landscapes, HR requirements and financial considerations. A core piece of this jigsaw puzzle is the alignment of your IT strategic roadmap.
The roadmap is a primary document that prescribes how technology will support the business strategy and help drive business priorities over both short-term (annual) and longer term (3-5 year) periods.
IT Roadmap Checklist
Effective roadmaps typically contain:
- A strategy statement which lists strategic priorities for the business (not IT-specific).
- A timeline of the longer term upcoming projects and initiatives with estimated start and end dates, duration and scale or size.
- A prioritized list of strategic opportunities that is driven by the business and enabled by IT.
- The investment justification for individual projects. The justification should be robust for projects over the following 12 months and contain simplified statements or validation for projects beyond the following 12-month period.
- The anticipated project cost and duration. The expectation is that this costs and time frames are specific and realistic for projects occurring over the upcoming 12 month period, and less specific for projects extending beyond that period.
- An owner (executive or senior staff member) overseeing each of the IT technology projects. For projects occurring over the following 12 months, it should be the particular person in charge of oversight and for projects beyond 12 months, it can be the owning executive.
To support IT roadmaps, it is recommended that technology departments keep current versions of:
- Systems architecture diagrams of the entire enterprise (this includes interfaces, manual data movements and platforms)
- Systems inventory (periodically updated with details about end-of-life dates, a basic statement on usage, the number of users and the system owner).
- An ongoing reviewed list of emerging issues identified by the IT support staff.
What is the Value of an IT Roadmap?
The IT department can use the roadmap to improve planning for projects and resources. The roadmap helps your team anticipate resourcing needs, plan assignments, software and vendor selection, and foresee budgetary needs ahead of time. In general, it makes it possible to begin planning for IT requirements well in advance.
Are you a technology leader? Get your executives or senior management to support the development of an IT roadmap and have structured conversations around strategic investment with the other executives.
If you are not a technology executive, leader or member of senior management, you should be evangelizing your organization to develop a roadmap so you can act more strategically to benefit the business in new IT investments.
IT Roadmaps are critical to your success. If you would like to discuss the best ways to integrate IT Roadmaps into your business, or for any of your IT Services or needs, contact us today at 206.931.3200 email us here.