As your organization grows, your need for stable, secure technology grows along with it. Similarly, as your business changes, your IT needs change. The result is that many growing businesses and nonprofits are hit with a barrage of un-budgeted costs. A high-priority upgrade here, a must-fix situation there. As these expected expenses add up, the perception of IT as a whole is that it is less of an investment and more of a burden.
Not only that, but these unscheduled capital outlays can restrict your ability to invest in other areas of your business, create inefficiencies, and limit your growth.
This leaves many leaders stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, you know your business cannot function without technology; on the other hand, you are unsure of the ROI you are getting from your IT investment. It is a frustrating situation… and far too common.
What most business leaders (including some experienced technical leaders) don’t realize is that these unexpected expenses are actually a symptom of a larger problem. With the correct approach, you can create more predictability in your IT expenses while dramatically reducing these “surprise” expenses.
The following is a simple 3-step process to prevent these issues.
STEP 1. Understand Your Current State
IT teams often get sucked into a cycle of break-fix. Something breaks — they fix it — repeat. Over time, the full scope of your IT ecosystem can become incredibly convoluted.
So you need to step back and conduct a full assessment of two key things:
- Your Systems – Your “systems” are the hardware and software used to run your business. They are what most people think of when they say “IT.”
- Your Standards (and how well they align to those systems) – Your “standards” are any rules or regulations you need to abide by to ensure security and compliance. HIPAA and PCI are common examples, although there may be many more.
A full understanding of your systems and how well they are aligning to your standards is the first step in fully leveraging your IT for greater ROI.
STEP 2. Determine Core Business Needs
The next step can seem counterintuitive. Instead of focusing on technology, you need to focus on the business outcomes you wish to achieve. Create a precise list of what your specific business objectives are. Then determine the IT solutions that need to be created to align to those objectives.
This is your high-level Technology Strategy.
STEP 3. Develop an Improvements Roadmap
The third step in breaking free of the “break-fix-repeat” cycle is to create an itemized list of improvements. These tactical improvements should be based on the known current shortfalls and requirements identified in Step 1 and informed by the high-level strategy created in Step 2.
When done correctly, you and your team will find opportunities for improvement that may never have occurred to you before. They can even seem to be unrelated to the more immediate pain points you are experiencing. That’s the beauty of a more holistic approach to IT improvement, because those are often the very changes that will provide the long-term stability you are looking for.
At Prosper IT, we think you deserve to be confident that your business is fully leveraging IT. By developing an improvement roadmap that focuses on your important strategic objectives, you can be confident that fewer un-budgeted expenses will pop up.
And by aligning your systems, standards, and strategy to your specific business requirements, you will receive greater ROI from your IT investment for years to come.