Just as you needed an action plan to launch your enterprise, a well-thought-out IT business strategy paves the way for you to consistently align with your company's objectives amid an ever-changing marketplace. The importance of IT planning is often overlooked, but without it, businesses limit their growth potential.
As any investment banker will tell you, it takes money to make money. Technology, however, will only work for you if you know how to use it to your advantage. Investing in IT solutions that aren't a good fit will likely leave you with applications that aren't interoperable, creating fragmented processes and information silos. Bad technology leads to wasted time and resources. You may have to go to great lengths to maintain it and purchase "add-ons," hire more staff, or adopt less-than-optimal processes to make up for its shortcomings, yet it still isn't meeting your needs.
The Catalyst to Innovation
New technologies offer new ways to conduct business that can have dramatic impacts on operations. Smart IT strategy creates opportunities for growth and creative development that would otherwise be out-of-reach. Similarly, new technologies around IoT, data analytics, and software integration offer new capabilities that will reshape how we do business. Consider what the right approach can do for you:
Operations and performance. Strategic IT streamlines workflows, automating tasks that were once done manually. Rather than requiring you to work around it, user-friendly technology can be configured to improve operations. Employees can then turn their attention to more important matters, such as enhancing customer service. The right IT business strategy boosts employee morale and performance. When they're empowered to do their jobs well, your most talented team members are more likely to stay with the company.
Marketing opportunities. The right solutions allow for digital advertising to expand your customer base, reaching a wider audience through search engines, social media, blogs, and other Web-based resources. You can connect with consumers from other parts of the globe without the costs and risks associated with building bricks-and-mortar establishments overseas.
Employee and vendor relations. Smart IT business strategy connects team members across multiple locations or departments. Through virtual communication channels, they can share ideas and solve problems, building trust and cohesion. Employees are more likely to put their differences in position or background aside when working together in an almost face-to-face setting. Likewise, technology can facilitate better communication with vendors to avoid misunderstandings or roadblocks to maintaining sufficient inventory.
Customer service. You can use your IT advantage to cultivate customer loyalty by engaging with them on their terms. They can learn more about the company, place orders, and provide feedback at their convenience. You can use analytics to track their preferences, give them customized choices, and suggest other products or services they might like. By connecting well with customers, you'll not only retain current clients, but attract new ones as existing customers post glowing reviews and spread the word about your company on social media and through word-of-mouth.
Security. With a successful IT business strategy, you can take a proactive, rather than a reactive, approach to protecting sensitive information. Most security approaches center around prevention. However, similar to insurance, you don’t need it, until you do. Like other critical assets, a company's data and technology infrastructure must be secured and protected. The right solutions safeguard proprietary information and alert you when problems arise so you can intervene before significant damage occurs.
Resource management. Advanced software and cloud computing allow for real-time management of resources -- from financial records to human capital. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools enable management to monitor resources anytime, from any device, so they can stay up-to-date no matter where they are.
Informed decisions. Successful IT solutions provide real-time data-tracking tools so management can make decisions more quickly and accurately than they would be able to otherwise. Thus, problems and weaknesses can be readily identified and addressed before they become major obstacles.
A well-implemented IT business strategy gives you the means to capitalize on virtually unlimited possibilities, now and in the future.