High performing C-level executives know that baking technology strategies into their business plan leads to greater success. They understand that strategic technology purchases will allow the company to operate more efficiently which points to improved revenue growth. Also, by budgeting for key technology improvements in all aspects of the business plan, the “surprise” factor is reduced.
Technology planning is often tied to key operational areas. In marketing, for example, it is critical to plan and budget for website development, search engine optimization and social networking activities. A successful technology strategy will cover all facets of Technology Management including cost management, human capital investments, hardware and software purchases, vendor coordination, risk management and integration of the technology environment. Executing a complex plan requires strong leadership to work closely with technology and operations advisors as well as with other key groups within the organization.
Technology paves the way to new business models, products and services.
A clear-cut technology strategy increases competitive advantages (work flow, customer service, faster turn-around, accuracy, etc.) to improve business outcomes. Many organizations choose to formalize their technology strategy with a written document or balanced scorecard strategy map. Others use methods like polling departments for input or adding detailed notes to their general budget. The plan and its documentation should be adaptable to change in response to new organizational circumstances, business priorities, budgetary constraints, available skill sets and core competencies. Smart executives are always keeping an eye out for operational areas that could benefit from innovative or upgraded technology.
Mapping out the right strategy and the technology needed to meet the goals will enhance existing offerings and deepen customer experiences. It also can pave the way to new business models, products and services. To compete in the increasingly dynamic and disrupted digital markets, businesses need to leverage technology to respond quickly and easily to changing market conditions, customer preferences or competitor activity. To achieve the greatest success, they choose technology that fulfills the requirements without being overly complex.
A typical process to develop a technology strategy includes these six steps:
- Conduct a technology inventory to identify technology status and replacement needs
- Identify the technical capabilities best aligned to the business strategy to accomplish the overall vision
- Assess the gap between the current state, future state and technology needs for each business capability
- Develop a prioritized technology roadmap or architecture to build and support the required business capabilities
- Create underlying budgets and staffing plans to realize the technology roadmap
- Conduct Cost-Benefit Analyses to determine the payback or break-even point before technology investing
When establishing this technology plan, be flexible and keep in mind how the company might expand or change as a result. With business growth as the goal, these results may require more space, people and technology.