Chances are, your company has a business or strategic plan. This plan probably includes things like sales & marketing goals, competitive data, projections and budgets. But, too often, there isn’t a technology component to those plans, even though most businesses have a very high reliance on technology. Like a business plan, a technology plan lays out a documented strategy for your company. The technology choices you make will have significant financial and compatibility consequences far into the future.
Your company's technology plan will be unique to the needs of your business. However, it should take into account some of the following.
How do you use technology today, and how will you use it in the future?
Sort of a broad topic, but it is important to think about what parts of your business could benefit from advances in technology. From accounting to inventory to social media to security, your business plan should reference the types of technology solutions you will employ to stay competitive.
Do I have the right technology solutions? If not, why?
Once you have determined how you will use technology, your next step is to choose equipment and software that will meet your needs. Function, compatibility, cost, ease of use, and expansion capability are all important issues that you'll need to consider.
Even with that in mind, the most important thing is to find technological solutions that can be easily integrated with each other, both now and in the future. You need to have a reasonable expectation that the technology you purchase will not be rendered obsolete because it functions in a platform that is incompatible with other mainstream technology. Unless your business requires highly customized technology solutions, it's best to stick with well-known hardware and software brands rather than take a risk on a cheaper, more obscure manufacturer. Just as important, is it a solution with a wide enough base of support professionals in your area who know how to support it?
Am I Allowing for Advances in Technology?
Like a business plan, a technology plan is living document. Your plan can't be so rigid that it doesn't allow for the possibility of modification and enhancement for technological advances.
This may seem obvious, but the consequences of an overly rigid technology plan aren't always apparent. For example, suppose your company needs to purchase of an expensive piece of technology to manufacture your products. Since cash is tight and the cost of the technology is enormous, you create a technology plan that ties you to that piece of technology for ten years because it allows you to spread payment for the equipment over a longer term. However, in five years the technology completely changes. The competition is on board with the new technology while you're stuck with the old technology for another five years, placing your business at competitive disadvantage.
With a little built-in flexibility, you can avoid these kinds of nightmare scenarios and keep your company on track with technology and the marketplace.
Do you want help putting together your business' technology plan? Feel free to leave a message below or contact one of our Cleveland IT professionals by calling 440.449.6800.