An I.T. Roadmap is a Good Start
By Mark Rossi
There is a continuum of approaches to developing a company’s Information Technology (I.T.) strategy ranging from “Let’s hold off any planning or spending until something breaks” on one end of the spectrum to “Let’s forecast our needs over the next five years and create a plan and budget” on the other end. You can find your place somewhere in the middle of the continuum, but we don’t recommend waiting for something to break.
Every company is different in terms of budget, human resources, and hardware and software needs. Still, no matter your business, an I.T. Roadmap is an easy yet invaluable planning tool.
What is an I.T. Roadmap?
An I.T. Roadmap is a visualization of your objectives, requirements, resource needs and timeline. It can be a chart, graph, infographic, or table – the format doesn’t matter. What matters is that you take the time to plan for growth, change, and crisis.
What are the elements of an I.T Roadmap?
This can vary depending on your business and industry, but most should have the following basic considerations in a roadmap:
- Category – Categories can include basics like hardware requirements, software requirements and security.
- Needs – A need is either current or in the future. For example, hardware needs can include things like “Ensure all PCs are in good working order”, and “Increase server reliability.” Equipment will break, software will need upgrades and security is always at risk so these are fundamental needs to plan for.
- Action Steps – These are specific steps to address the identified needs. In the example above, the Action Steps could include “Evaluate cloud server options” and “Audit all PCs for age, condition, and needed repairs or replacement”.
- Responsibility – This may seem unnecessary, especially if the person responsible is you. However, there is an increase in accountability when a specific name is assigned to a task.
- Timing – It can be tempting to push off action steps, especially if they are not urgent. Too often, we work on urgent but not important things. Technology is both urgent and important.
Who should prepare the I.T. Roadmap?
An I.T. person does not need to be the author but is a critical person on the planning team. The company owner or leader will have the direct line-of-sight to available resources and needs and should partner with an I.T. expert who has the best understanding of options, risks, and level of effort. The tech industry is constantly changing and your I.T. leader or partner is your best resource to ensure you don’t overspend or understate risks.
How to know if an I.T. Roadmap is needed
Chances are, your company will benefit from an I.T. audit and/or planning session, after which you can determine the need for a roadmap. The time and cost invested will be far less than an avoidable issue or expense down the road. Our team at KML is always available for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation to discuss your technology vision, plans, and risks.