What happens if your business grows significantly, and you don’t have the right hardware or software to accommodate the growth? You might find yourself faced with ill-matched technology and productivity delays, not to mentioned significant frustration from both your clients and employees.
Luckily, a good IT strategy can help you avoid the guesswork and wasted time while saving you money.
WEBIT Services has over 25 years of experience helping clients develop IT strategies and create budgets and growth plans
By reading this article, you’ll learn about IT strategy, the issues it addresses, its benefits, and its disadvantages.
What is IT strategy?
IT strategy focuses on meeting your business’s IT needs as it grows.
If a device plugs into the wall and lights up, someone must maintain it, make repairs, plan for replacements, and budget for replacements. Finally, they must replace old technology with new technology that meets business needs.
IT strategy also plans responses if technology fails due to age, environment, cyberattacks, or disaster.
IT strategy and business growth
A good IT strategy is born from a partnership between the client and the IT provider.
This partnership must be based on trust.
This means the provider is honest about risks and limitations. The provider also must not “upsell” expensive equipment that doesn’t align with their client’s needs.
For the client, this means being open about technological needs and concerns. They must also be upfront about plans for the future of their business. If they do not disclose significant changes, the IT provider cannot alter their IT strategy to suit potential higher employee numbers and their technological needs.
For instance, if you plan to add 50 new employees in a year, that’s a large increase and will require significant IT updates. Taking it a step further, let’s also say that your company’s server is old and will need replacing.
If you tell your provider about this anticipated expansion, they help you plan for, acquire, and prepare the proper technology enhancements needed for your additional workforce. This way, new employees have their devices ready to go and can begin working without delay.
Regarding that server, your IT provider may recommend an extended warranty to get that server through one more year so there is time to strategize whether a new server makes the most sense, or a possible shift to the cloud or hybrid environment is a better choice.
What happens in this scenario if you don’t tell your provider about the expansion?
They cannot prepare in advance, perhaps unable to match you with the best technology for your needs. There may also be significant delays due to supply chain issues that could have been avoided with advance notice.
The old server would likely be replaced on schedule but before the new workforce arrives. This new server will be a duplicate of the old one, built to accommodate the current workforce numbers.
With 50 new employees logging into your system, you soon discover that the new server is not strong enough to support your new workforce. In response, you must choose between keeping the now too-slow server or acquiring an unexpected expense of a newer, bigger server, or perhaps an even more significant project in shifting entirely to a cloud-based model
What made the difference in these two examples? Shared knowledge.
While IT strategy does not decide your company’s future, its goal is align your technology with company goals and do it as smoothly as possible. If your provider does not know your company’s plans, it cannot support you on the journey.
Lack of planning and cooperation leads to increased frustration, wasted time, and poor return on technology investments.
Benefits of IT strategy
If the partnership between client and IT provider is based on honesty and trust, there can be immense benefits to developing and utilizing IT strategy.
These benefits include:
Because your provider knows what technology needs replacing, when your company anticipates growth, and how much growth you expect, your provider can help you establish an IT budget.
IT-related spending surprises will be fewer because you’ll know when you need to set money aside for IT projects.
Because your provider knows your system and goals, they can help you identify and remove unnecessary technology and applications.
Your provider can help match you with the technology that best fits your organization. This will help your workforce perform tasks more efficiently. With proper planning, they can also make sure new employees are equipped quickly and can begin work right away.
Improve system weaknesses
Thanks to regular risk assessments, your provider can help you develop strategies and goals to address risks and cybersecurity concerns. While it’s impossible to have zero-risk cybersecurity, your provider can help you develop plans and practices to reduce risks to an acceptable level.
Disadvantages of IT strategy
Well-constructed IT strategy has few to no disadvantages. Disadvantages come into play when the IT provider and client are poorly matched. These elements are also highlighted if either or both parties are more reactive than proactive when addressing concerns.
Your IT strategy may be putting you at a disadvantage if:
- It is created as a “one-size-fits-all” program rather than individualized with an understanding of your business, present reality, and future goals.
- The provider is more focused on selling you a product rather than listening to your needs. This can also show up where the provider has commissioned staff.
- The provider is not asking clarifying questions during discussions to help create a plan matching your needs and goals.
- The provider does not consult you regularly to ensure your needs are met and that plans work for you.
- The client does not share growth plans, barring legal limitations in acquisitions and mergers.
- Either party refuses to communicate or collaborate.
If you find yourself in a relationship containing more than one of the above bullet points, it may be time to find a new provider. You want a provider who will create an individualized strategy with open communication.
Next steps to developing your IT strategy
IT strategy is born out of communication and collaboration between a client and their IT provider. It seeks to answer significant questions like, “Where is my business going, and how can technology help get me there?”
Quality IT strategy also helps businesses budget for IT investments, improve productivity, and help with cybersecurity.
However, if the client or provider is unwilling to communicate openly, the IT strategy will fall short and create the stress it is meant to alleviate.
For over 25 years, WEBIT Services has helped hundreds of clients develop and execute IT strategies to help their businesses.
To examine or build your IT strategy, talk to your provider. Ask them what strategies are in place, and, if possible, review your IT roadmap. See if its goals align with your business trajectory.
If it does not, it might be time to look for a new IT provider.
Schedule a free 30-minute consultation to see if WEBIT Services can help.
If you're not yet ready for your free 30-minute consultation, you may be interested in these articles on the elements of an IT strategy: