How to Develop an IT Strategic Plan and Stick to It

Blog
March 18, 2019

Preparation
Is your business prepared to successfully respond to an IT-related disaster? Different companies require varying levels of technology and technology protection. When forming your IT strategy, the first critical step is to make sure your IT plan supports your specific company’s needs. This means developing a plan that will protect employees and important data regardless of location, support multiple employees at multiple sites, assist company growth, and address any privacy concerns.

Strategic Planner
The discussion about your IT plan should include an IT specialist that can provide insights about the direction that is most beneficial for your company. Your company has to decide whether working with an in-house team or outsourced team of IT specialists is more beneficial. The benefit of having an in-house IT team is that they can be contacted immediately when an issue arises, since they are already a part of the company. Nowadays, most large companies with the financial means to support it have in-house IT departments, which keeps them from having to wait for a contracted IT specialist to arrive to fix the problem.

It is also important to evaluate potential threats to your strategy that could cause problems. For example, the ability to work remotely can be beneficial to both employees and employers. However, potential issues could be internet connection and privacy concerns. Are the employees connecting to a secure Wi-Fi, or are they on a free network that multiple people share? Some free networks could be easily hacked allowing sensitive information to be breached. For every part of the plan, it is imperative to think of what may go wrong. This way, your company can plan ahead to help prevent issues from happening, instead of trying to correct a problem that could have been avoided.

Another point to consider is providing an IT training program for employees. You would need to create an online training program to teach your employees about security issues, privacy concerns, the dos and don’ts of sharing data, data protection, and more. This program should be mandatory for all employees prior to them gaining access to company databases. Additionally, your strategic plan could require employees to repeat or take a refresher training on an annual basis. Since technology is constantly changing, employees should be updated on these changes in a timely manner.

Sticking to the Strategy
Make sure you are making frequent updates to the IT strategic plan and evaluate if the plan is working. If not, what changes should be made to update the strategy? If it has worked, what changes can be made to help the company keep moving in the right direction?

Technology does not stay the same, which means internal technology should continually be evaluated and updated when necessary. As changes are made, be sure major changes are not done without approval. However, small changes can be made without notification if they coincide with a specific employee’s tasks and responsibilities. All IT changes affecting employees’ daily work should be shared with employees either immediately or at specific, stated intervals. This would depend upon the IT update and how valuable the information is in supporting the company, data, etc.

Your overall IT strategy depends on what your company needs and what would be most beneficial. Take time to come up with a plan and have an actual IT specialist help with the preparation. As the technology world continues to transform, it is important to be as up-to-date as possible and have a well-thought out process to implement, evaluate, and update your IT strategic plan.