What is an IT Strategy?
What is an IT Strategy?
An IT strategy is increasingly important to almost every organisation. When an organisation doesn’t have a good strategy, they tend to get stuck in what we like to call the reactive spiral of death.
Why Do You Need an IT Strategy?
If you don’t have a plan, things are going to go wrong. You have a problem and somebody comes in to solve the problem, but if you don’t do something proactive to prevent that issue from coming back, it will come back. And the more issues you have, the more frustrated you get, and you start to feel like there’s no way out of that.
If you have a strategy, you can plan for these things. You can put proactive measures in place. You can put maintenance in place that will prevent these issues from happening. But it all starts with a strategy.
Without a strategy, one thing that tends to happen is your systems end up getting outdated. And it doesn’t take long. You think your systems are brand new and then a couple of years go by and you realize that you’re running your entire company on a ten-year-old computer.
It’s critical to look at that stuff on a regular basis and make sure that you have the proper technology in place. You don’t want to rely on an old or outdated piece of hardware to run your company.
The same is true of cybersecurity. Cybersecurity changes rapidly. A lot of the things that we’re doing today weren’t even on our radar a year or two ago. There are new threats and new technologies available. The technology keeps getting more cost-effective, but it’s a changing world and it’s important to stay on top of what’s available.
If no one is looking at the technology in your organisation and what’s available in the marketplace today, you’re probably leaving some opportunities on the table.
Given how much technology has changed in the last number of years and the things that are available now that weren’t a few years ago, you’re definitely missing a lot of opportunities if nobody is paying attention to that. Someone needs to find ways to use those tools in your organisation.
Developing Your IT Strategy
No matter your starting point, CopperTree will figure out where you are and develop a strategy to get to where you’re trying to go with your organisation’s IT.
Sometimes we’ll talk to businesses that feel like they’re in a pretty good place. Some feel like they’re quite a ways behind as an organisation. Essentially, though, it doesn’t really matter where you start. Wherever you are, we’ll come in and look at the infrastructure you have. We look at your business needs and put a plan in place that’ll get you from wherever you are to wherever you need to go.
Best Practices Alignment
One of the first things we do when we bring on a new client is what we call our best practices alignment or technology alignment. And really what it’s designed to do is give you a score on the health of your IT infrastructure. We look at elements like:
- The state of your hardware
- The state of your software
- How your system aligns with our best practices
We have best practices for every piece of technology that our clients use. We know the best way to set up a firewall, the best way to deploy printers in your environment, and so on. It’s designed to give you an objective score that you can look at to understand the health of your system.
We’ve given some clients a pretty high score during the onboarding phase. That tends to land in the 70s, but we also have clients that come in at 26%. In that case, we had to give the executive team visibility into their infrastructure.
We sit down and go over that health score, which we update on a regular basis and review every quarter. That number is one of the first things that the executive team is looking at each month. Maybe it’s 99% and things are pretty good. Maybe 85% and there are a few recommendations that we have to move you forward. It’s really designed to give you that visibility into where things are. You can know at a glance if IT is something that needs your attention or whether things are pretty good.
Aligning Business Goals & IT Strategy
One way we work with our clients to develop their IT strategy is by looking at the organisation’s goals.
- What are you trying to achieve as an organisation?
- Where are you trying to go?
- Are you planning to grow?
- Are you planning to try and streamline your operations to improve efficiencies?
- What new things are you doing?
Our IT strategy is really designed to take those questions into consideration. It starts with understanding the business goals and where you’re trying to go. We make sure that the proper IT infrastructure is there to support that, so we look at software, hardware, connectivity, and how it all ties together.
For a lot of small organisations, it’s critical to think about where you’re going in the future in relation to your IT strategy. There are things you can do today that will make your future choices a lot easier.
Growing Your Business with Technology
If you put the proper technology in place from the very beginning, it’s a lot easier for your organisation to grow and scale.
We’ve talked to quite a number of organisations that are in that startup phase. Maybe they don’t have a lot of people or they’re still pretty small. But they’re looking several years down the road and saying, if we double in size or triple in size or grow very rapidly, what are the challenges down that path?
One of our goals in working with them is helping them to see some things that maybe they can’t quite see yet from their perspective. We’re giving them some information on what to look for and what to plan for. And some of the things they can do today to make sure that their lives will be easier as they scale their organisation.
For a large organisation’s IT strategy, major concerns include security, governance, and developing processes that will ensure that their IT systems are up and running all the time.
One of the challenges we see with larger organisations is that they a small internal IT department. It’s very difficult for a small team to develop processes and procedures and stick to them in ways that are really effective.
We talk to a lot of small IT departments. IT managers often spend their days responding to problems from users. Maybe it’s somebody calling with a printer problem, or an ERP problem, or maybe it’s a business unit that needs a new application set up. They’re reacting and constantly dealing with things that are coming to them. And in a lot of cases, they never get to do the maintenance that should be happening in the background.
In other words, when an IT manager has to choose between solving a user’s problem or installing an update on a server, they’ll probably help the user. And while they might think they’re going to get to that proactive maintenance tomorrow, somehow tomorrow never quite gets there.
We can help larger organisations by coming in and working alongside that internal IT department. We take on the proactive maintenance aspect of IT. And we can do the maintenance, for example, because we’re not impacted by the users. They aren’t calling us or asking us to do things for them. We’re removed from that day-to-day noise and it allows us to focus on the IT strategy and the proactive side of IT management.