IT Strategy: Starting Where You Are
An organization’s ability to become future-ready and create a competitive edge depends on developing a robust IT strategy and effectively implementing it. Before crafting a strategy, it’s essential to consider your current stage within the business lifecycle. Each stage has different objectives, which require different approaches. As with all IT strategy conversations, your organization’s overarching goals and its desired direction need to be at the center of your decision-making. As you prepare to review your IT Strategy, take some time to consider the following factors as they relate to your unique positioning.
The Startup Stage
Key Strategy Objectives: Flexibility, Collaboration, Low CapEx
Organizations in a startup mode are full of new ideas, new products, and new relationships. It’s important to make sure the technology strategy you choose provides flexibility to work through the details of getting your business off the ground; experiment with what will work best for you. Startups often require high capital expenditures to launch and carry an increased risk of failure. Cloud solutions are often a great place to start. The cloud gives you an opportunity to scale up and down as needed with lower up-front investment and often with a short-term commitment. This flexibility offers you the opportunity to try out solutions that meet your needs in the moment, but also allows you to adjust if you need to change course. It is critical to invest in technology that aligns with your core goals. In the startup stage, you’ll likely look for technology that supports sharing ideas, marketing, and selling your product or service.
The Growth Stage
Key Strategy Objectives: A strong team, solidifying processes, differentiation
A business in the growth stage enjoys more consistency than a startup, but this stage also brings its own unique challenges. Being in growth mode means a more stable client base and generally more substantial cash flow and profits. During this phase, it’s essential to focus on growing and expanding the capabilities of your team. To maintain growth, you’ll require technology that supports the differentiation of your organization and solid processes to outperform competitors. At this stage, aligning your technology strategy with your business goals becomes even more imperative. Business intelligence tools and analytics can provide insight into your business that are easily missed. Learning Management Systems can help your organization upskill and improve your posture against an increasingly tight labor market. An investment in process automation provides an advantage in that it allows you to reinvest time spent on repetitive tasks in value-added activities that contribute to productivity and growth.
The Maturity Stage
Key Strategy Objectives: Reliability, Security, M&A
A business in the maturity stage is marked by stability and predictability. They have developed strong brand recognition and leverage it for consistent, steady growth. Continuing to operate no longer requires large capital expenditures, and owners in this phase may consider investing or devesting through a merger or acquisition. Integrating technology like Azure Virtual Desktops (AVD) into your IT strategy can help minimize risk and maintain privacy through the M&A process. With AVD you can provide controlled, straightforward access into your environment or allow staff of a newly acquired organization to access a secure and standardized environment through any hardware that may exist in their current environment.
The Renewal or Decline Stage
Key Strategy Objectives: Innovation, Future Readiness
Organizations in the maturity stage are at a decision point. They can enter a renewal stage or chose to decline, which can be either intentional or as a result of inaction. Organizations who choose not to develop their IT strategy and invest in the appropriate system and technology to remain relevant will be knocked out by competitors who embrace technology and leverage it to adapt to market changes.
To enter into renewal, a business must innovate and use technology to create value rather than just maintain uptime and focus on hardware renewal cycles. Renewal, now more than ever, is the time to ensure that your organization is partnered with someone either inside or outside of the organization who understands not just technology but also how it links to your business objectives. If IT functions as a firefighter in your organization or is only utilized to maintain the status quo, it can easily slip into decline. Alternatively, creating an integrated IT partnership results in innovation and a competitive edge to help keep you relevant and thriving.
Although many organizations haven’t made the conscious decision to evaluate their IT position, self-awareness is a necessary part of making strong strategic decisions. Join us for our upcoming webinar series, IT Strategy for the Future, where we’ll dive into some of the processes around developing a robust IT strategy, and how to choose a strategy path that will serve you not only where you are today but helps you get where you’d like to be in the future.