When it comes to growing your computer network, there are two paths: you can purchase items as you need them, adding them to your network and dealing with any compatibility issues or other problems, or you can carefully plan out your additions. The first way is reactive—you’re buying what you need when you need it. This can be fine if you’re a very small company that doesn’t necessarily need to worry about major IT issues. If you’re a larger company, though, or plan on growing in the future, this ad hoc approach isn’t the best.
Creating a strategic IT plan for growing your network and expanding your technology does take time, but it’s well worth it in the long run. There are a number of benefits to such a plan, including financial ones. Unfortunately, some business owners simply don’t know where to start with strategic IT planning. It’s more than just a list of what hardware and software you need right now.
If you’re ready to craft your strategic IT plan but aren’t sure where to start, the experts here at Wooden Spoon can help. As one of the top MSPs in California, we have worked with a wide range of companies. We’re here to help you plan and implement the right strategic plan for your current and future needs.
Why should we care about a strategic plan? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why creating a strategic IT plan is so important.
You Know Where You’re Going
The first major benefit to having an IT plan is that you know where you’re going and your IT is aligned with your overall business plan. For example, if you plan on expanding your business to a second location in five years, your IT team and partners will be able to anticipate those needs and begin preparing for it well in advance. This means you’re able to begin looking at what equipment you’ll need, what changes may need to happen with how you store and secure data, and what software licenses you’ll need to purchase. You can have everything lined up and ready to go, greatly minimizing the impact of the expansion on your business’s day-to-day work.
There are financial benefits to an IT plan, too. You’re able to anticipate when you will need to purchase new hardware and software. Part of this comes from the preventative maintenance schedule that you’ll create as part of your strategy. This schedule will let you know when older hardware is reaching the end of its life and needs to be replaced. This allows you to avoid major disruptions due to sudden hardware failure. That, in turn, means you’re not losing customer orders or productivity. Every minute you have a piece of hardware down is a minute you are losing money or, at the very least, productivity.
Having a strategic plan for your technology also simply gives you peace of mind. You have a plan: for many people, that’s a huge weight lifted. While a plan doesn’t mean there won’t be surprises—technology is a fickle mistress, after all—it does mean you’ve got a roadmap for your major IT changes that you’ll need to make as your business grows.
You’re Ready to Pivot if Needed
One thing you need to recognize about your IT strategic plan: it’s not set in stone. Unless you have an IT guy who can see the future, it’s very, very likely that some parts of your strategy will be revised over the years. This is normal. Your business may grow in an unexpected way, or the world may experience something like a global pandemic that transforms how we live and work for a few years. You never know, which is why you should always be ready to rework your plan when necessary.
Fortunately, having a plan actually makes it easier to pivot and redirect your IT solutions as needed. This is because you likely won’t have to throw your entire plan out. There will likely be some parts of your strategy that are unaffected, while other sections may need minor revisions. Of course, some parts of the plan will need to be tossed out the window, but that’s going to be true of every single type of plan you have for your business.
You Save Money
We’ve already touched on this, but having a strategic plan crafted with a team that has years of experience will help your bottom line. You will be able to budget for your IT upgrades, plus having a preventative maintenance plan helps reduce the risk of unexpected outages and the costs associated with them. You’ll also be able to avoid purchasing hardware or licensing software that is redundant or that long-term isn’t going to be useful for your needs.
By having a long-term IT plan, you also avoid spending money on hardware and software you don’t need. For example, if you’re planning on migrating to the cloud in a few years, there’s no reason to spend a lot of money on a physical server for the office. If you need some of that functionality now, instead of spending money on something you won’t use for long, it may be time to revise the plan and move to the cloud sooner.
Another cost-saving benefit from your IT plan is that you can plan for expansions and upgrades. If you know you’re going to be hiring more people when you hit a certain benchmark, you can begin purchasing hardware and making changes well before then. This reduces or even eliminates that period between growing and meeting the new needs brought about by that growth.
You Keep Your Competitive Edge
Having an IT strategic plan will help you keep your edge against your competitors. You’ll have a plan, know what you need to implement that plan, and be ready to pivot quickly if needed. Your competitors may not be able to respond as fast, and they may not know what their long-term technology needs are. If that’s the case, they may be the ones spending money on hardware they don’t need or creating a hodge-podge network of technology that doesn’t work well together or is redundant. You’ll be ahead of the game if you have a well-thought-out strategic plan that you regularly review and update as needed.
You Can Make Use of Emerging Technology
When you have a plan and can anticipate your upcoming technology needs, you can start exploring emerging technology. You can have your IT team look into some of the newest trends to see if they will work for you in the future. For example, businesses that want to be on the cutting edge of technology are implementing AI solutions now because they’ve been researching and exploring what AI can do for a few years. Companies that are just now looking into AI are already behind their competitors.
When your IT team has a plan and isn’t always reacting to emergencies, they have time to do research into these emerging solutions. Having this extra time will also give your internal team the bandwidth to take care of tickets in a timely manner, reducing your downtime or drops in productivity. Even if you don’t have an internal IT team, partnering with a MSP can give you access to this type of information. Here at Wooden Spoon, we’re always learning about new technology and how these solutions can be applied to our customers’ needs.
What an IT Managed Solutions Partner Brings to the Table
Having an MSP on board to handle many of the day-to-day tasks of running your network and securing your data can also help free up your team to work on special projects. This is just one of the benefits of working with these experts. When you partner with Wooden Spoon, we will sit down with you and do a full review of the technology you already have in place and any strategic plans you’ve written. We bring years of experience in IT to the table, and we will use that expertise to help you rework your plan as needed. Once we’re done, you’ll be ready to start taking advantage of everything a good strategic IT plan brings.
Of course, we won’t leave things there. We will continually monitor your IT for performance and productivity. If it appears that your technology solutions are no longer aligned with your overall business goals, we’ll reconvene and evaluate your IT plans and benchmarks. We’ll be with you every step of the way, assisting you with implementation, monitoring, disaster recovery, and more.
Contact Wooden Spoon Today to Learn More
Already have an established IT department with strategic IT plans? Wooden Spoon can bring our expertise and outside point-of-view to the table and provide a different perspective that may highlight areas in need of improvement. Don’t have an IT team or any plans? That’s no problem, either. We’ll work with you to develop a strategy and processes to build out your IT infrastructure. Either way, we’re here to help you and your team use technology effectively and without stress. You should be focused on running your business, not on dealing with computers. Leave that to us. Contact Wooden Spoon today to learn more.