On May 20th, many of you joined us for the second webinar in our 2021 series. Below is a recap of the main points we shared and a link if you would like to watch the webinar.

Top Technology Concerns of Business Leaders 

Over the past months, we have surveyed business owners and leaders.  While many felt they had strong in-house IT teams and outside IT partners, they all expressed the same overarching worry: “Am I going to walk in tomorrow and find there’s an IT problem I didn’t see coming?” 
We dug deeper and identified four key areas of concern:

  • Data Security
  • Strategic IT planning and budgeting
  • Ransomware or Data Breach
  • Securing the remote workforce

This year, we will be taking a deep dive into each of these four topics to provide actionable steps leaders can take to help mitigate risk and regain confidence.

Why is ‘IT’ Planning Important?

Creating a technology plan and roadmap is a critical component for any business in today’s world. Every organization relies on IT in some way and in many cases if the IT infrastructure or computer environment is down, the business can’t function. By creating a strategic IT plan, you can ensure your business is preparing for the future, protecting itself from malicious activity and budgeting for spend in the proper areas. 

The Planning Process

  1. Strategic Planning Meeting
    • Meet with the leadership of your organization and discuss company history, current focus, and strategic goals for the next three years. Goal setting is vital to shaping the IT plan to ensure all technical recommendations move the business forward and support your business’s initiatives 
  2. Technical Deep Dive
    • Using your company’s internal IT team and/or outside technology vendors, collect network documentation to understand the physical IT environment. Developing a deep understanding of your network will help guide what needs to be added or adjusted based on your plan or vulnerabilities. 
  3. Review and Assess
    • Analyze the information and data collected. Create recommendations which include steps to implement the change, along with an estimated timeline and budgeting/cost information.
  4.  Present and Discuss
    • The last stage of the IT planning process is to complete your plan with a technical roadmap and recommendations. 

Creating a Technology Roadmap

We recommend creating a technology roadmap that follows a three-year timeline with implementation schedules based on company milestones for strategic goals discussed during the initial stage of the process. An organization’s IT environment can be complex, so we break it down to five key areas of focus:
– Infrastructure
– Layout/Topology
– Security
– People
– Solutions or Services
By structuring the planning process with a focus on the above categories, the final strategic plan will encompass a thorough review of the technology environment, examining staff processes and procedures, and placing a heightened focus on securing the business from top to bottom

Frequency and Trigger Events

Different IT plans and budgets require different frequencies for revisions. 

Annual Strategy and Budget
> Technology should be a part of annual planning.
> Once business goals are set for the coming year (and beyond), a complementary IT strategy should be created.
> A combination of ongoing, strategic, and project-based expenses should always be included.

Ongoing Review
> Quarterly/monthly touches will help to alleviate surprise changes to the budget at year’s end.
> Unexpected “trigger events” may also impact the strategy and budget for your IT team. 

The IT plan is a living document and can require changes or modifications based on unexpected events.  Some common events that would trigger an update to the IT plan are:
> New office buildout or redesign
> Merger or Acquisition
> IT security event such as a breach or ransomware attack
> New Chief Technology Officer or other new executives involved with IT
> Rapid advancement in technology that directly impacts your business

Cost Allocation & Budgeting

Prior to setting a budget, categorize your IT spending and identify the types of expenses. 

Structuring your IT budget
All IT budgets should contain information related to three categories of IT spending:
– Capital expenses are hardware, software licenses, upgrades and parts replacements
– Operating expenses are subscriptions, maintenance, support and cybersecurity
– Project expenses are special projects and short-term or one-time expenses

Identify the Types of expense
All of the expenses in your budget should fall into these four categories: Hardware, Software, Subscriptions and Services.

Watch the Webinar Replay

Create a Technology Plan!

Creating a strategic technology plan and budget is critical, regardless of your company size or industry. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to schedule some time with our subject matter experts.