While most business owners create a business plan when they form their company, many assume that’s the only plan they need. This master business plan includes everything. While that is certainly helpful, this overall plan often doesn’t go into detail in areas such as marketing, product design, or technology. Each area of your business needs to have its own plan and strategy. With a technology strategy in place, you’ll have a firm plan for building and growing your technology infrastructure. Here are some of the benefits of developing a technology plan for your business.
When Should You Create Your Technology Strategy?
Ideally, you’ll start technology planning as early as possible. When you start working on your business plan, you should include a high-level overview of your technology plan. You’ll then want to follow this up by taking that high-level overview and expanding it into a full strategic technology plan. Even if you don’t think through your entire technology plan that early, you will still want to begin drafting it as soon as you can.
Another excellent opportunity to create or revise your technology strategy is when you’re growing your business or pivoting it to a new direction. In fact, you may have to rebuild your technology plan when you do this because your old plan may no longer be accurate.
The first benefit of having a technology plan is knowing what your business will need technology-wise. If you’re a retailer, this may be pretty simple: you may need a point-of-sale system, a form of inventory management, and other essential applications related to employment and record-keeping. On the other hand, if you’re a technology company or will need things such as an online customer portal, your plan may need to be much more detailed.
By creating a plan that outlines where your company will be in a year, five years, and ten years, you can see how your technology needs are going to grow and change. You may see that you can handle everything in-house for now, but in five years, you may need to consider working with one of the various managed IT service providers in the area. By mapping out a strategy, you’ll be able to see when you need to start to consider expanding your network and bringing in other resources.
Be Ready to Scale Up Your Infrastructure
Your plan will give you an idea of when you need to start looking at server upgrades or moving to a cloud server. While you may need to put some wiggle room into your plans—it’s never possible to fully predict when you’ll need to expand—you will have a good idea of when your needs will increase. By looking at your business plan, you can mirror any planned growth or expansion in your technology strategy
This means if you plan on expanding your product offerings in your third year of business, you will need to make sure your infrastructure is ready for that. Your IT project manager should start looking at scalability in year two, so they can begin implementing any new technology or hardware necessary. By planning this out, your technology needs for this growth can be in place early, making it much easier to expand. You’ll be able to have your platform, and other software needs developed and tested, have your hardware expanded as needed, and be ready to support whatever new needs your company has.
Your company’s IT can be done in one of two ways. You may adjust your technology to whatever changes your business goes through early on. This reactive approach means you’re always dealing with situations after they have occurred. You’re always behind, which means your network may be vulnerable to disruption right after an event occurs. This could be a cyber-attack, of course, but it could also be changes in your hardware or an attempt to scale up your capabilities. Regardless of what event occurred, you’re reacting to it. This means you’re analyzing the situation, thinking through plans, and implementing those plans after the event.
A proactive approach, on the other hand, means preparing for events beforehand. You have more time to think through various scenarios because these potential events haven’t happened yet. Your security, customer information, and proprietary data aren’t at risk, and you’re not reacting to any type of emergency. This means you can take more time to think through the scenarios and prepare well-thought-out responses to them.
For IT operations, this means you can be ready for changes in your company and client base. You can be ready for scaling up your infrastructure, operations, security, and other needs so that there is no moment where some areas have been modified, and some have not. You’ll be ready to coordinate software and hardware, so there are no vulnerabilities.
In terms of emergencies, you’ll also be ready with multiple responses. If you’re hacked, you’ll know exactly what to do. You may even have drafted out press releases or customer notifications so you can immediately notify anyone who may have had their data stolen. There’s still a sense of emergency, of course, but there won’t be as much of a panic because you won’t need to decide how to respond.
You Know What Resources You Need
If your IT operating model is constantly changing, you may fall into the habit of collecting all the data you can and buying anything that seems to be necessary at that time. You may end up with software and hardware that you don’t need in the long term. These expenses could be prevented if you had a long-term technology strategy in place. You also end up with hardware you may not need that takes up space.
As far as data goes, this is an area where your IT plan and your overall marketing or business plan will need to coordinate. If you don’t have an overall business plan, you may simply try to collect, store, and analyze all the data you can or, alternatively, you may collect almost no data. If you collect everything, you may find that you need additional storage space, and you could end up purchasing more servers than you need and filling them with useless data. On the other hand, you may discover that your analytics and AI software has very little data to use, leaving it unable to provide the insight or information you need.
Many Sonoma County business owners plan on bringing in their own IT team, but they may find that doing so isn’t actually cost-effective. Small businesses may not need to have a full-time staff of IT experts, but they still need some of what these professionals offer. That’s what Wooden Spoon Managed IT Services in Santa Rosa is for. Our team is made up of the best and the brightest in the world of technology services. Instead of hiring experts and assuming the cost of their salaries, benefits, and overhead, you can bring in our team for one flat cost. This helps with budgeting while also providing you with the team you need.
While we do handle the day-to-day maintenance and operations for your technology, we can also assist you in planning and strategizing. We have worked with businesses of many sizes and in multiple industries, so we will have a good idea of what your IT needs are and could be in the future. We can help you craft a technology strategy that meets your current needs while also planning for future ones. Contact Wooden Spoon IT today to learn more about what we can do to help you!.