June 28, 2016
If there is one constant in the technology industry, it is change. No matter what technology appears to be the definitive solution today, its time in the spotlight will only last so long. There is already another solution in development that is faster, simpler, and more powerful than anything the previous generation could muster.
IT directors, CIOs, and CTOs must be able to adapt to this state of constant change in order for their business to stay competitive. The best way to plan for the future, stay current on upcoming technologies, and avoid crises is with a technology roadmap. Yet, there are many different kinds of technology roadmaps and each is targeted to address a specific aspect of the future of the environment.
Three technology roadmaps to prepare your environment for the future:
Businesses need their products and services to function, and in the 21st century, every company leverages technology in some capacity to support their product. The Product Plan places any product releases, updates, or changes on a timeline for the upcoming year. Below it, the roadmap will cite any technologies that must be updated or replaced in order to facilitate the product event. By mapping this roadmap, the IT team can ensure they are prepared for the company-wide event. The IT team can then also coordinate any of their own projects, so they do not interfere with a product event.
Services and Capabilities
The Services and Capabilities technology roadmap is very similar to the Product Plan, but services require a few extra layers. For example, technology may have very little to do with a janitorial team cleaning an office building. However, a client’s ability to schedule a cleaning service online directly impacts the success of the company. This roadmap arranges and connects technologies to capabilities, capabilities to services, and services to any important company events.
Business is about goal setting and vision. The Strategic Planning roadmap is designed to help you set, track, and achieve your strategic IT goals. Where would you like your IT environment to be in a year? Chart your actual situation on one end. On the other, list where you would like that technology area to be. In between, plan steps and events that must occur in order to reach your goal.
Fleshing Out Your Technology Roadmap
Diagramming a roadmap is fairly easy. In order to properly design the future of the IT department, you must also flesh out the details of the plan. While some elements of the roadmap may seem obvious, the exercise of writing them out and justifying each step will organize your thoughts and inspire new strategies for success.
- Strategy Statement: A general statement of the department’s overall strategy should be referenced before each additional step is mapped. If the timeline does not align with the overall strategy, one will have to change to match the other.
- Prioritization: Detailed prioritization can be difficult to convey on a map. Write out which projects, technologies, or products are most crucial and at what times.
- Justification: Everything the department does must happen for a reason. Justify each project. Once complete, compare your justifications to priorities and confirm they are in the proper order.
- Cost and Duration: Excess costs and delays are common, but estimated costs and durations will help you budget for the future.
- Personnel: Each project should have assigned team members long in advance. By being transparent with the plan, the team can budget their own time in preparation for upcoming projects.
The Importance of a Roadmap
President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Things are going to change throughout the year, and it is impossible to predict what twists and turns lie ahead.
However, a technology roadmap does provide a tentative plan that can be adjusted as the year progresses and more realistic timelines are finalized. Furthermore, it forces the IT team to take a bird’s eye view of the IT environment today and where they’d like to be in the future. It is easy to lose sight of objectives when the team’s focus is devoted to immediate problems. The roadmap allows you to take a step back and describe what you see.
Mindsight Can Help
As part of your technology roadmap, consider the possibilities of a managed services agreement with Mindsight. From monitoring to complete administration, the experienced engineers at Mindsight can handle the day-to-day operations in your environment, while you focus on high-level strategy.
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