The Growing Importance of IT Strategy for Small Businesses
Strategizing for your business’s growth
is always a core element for any organization. With constant evolution in IT, the components that can help you grow are exponential. Understanding how and what to do is necessary to plan an effective growth strategy. This is even more important for small businesses looking to make significant strides in the industry. Small businesses, on the other hand, need to be even more careful about how they use technology and think like big businesses in their field.
As per a report on SoutbaySBDC, small businesses that leverage new technologies display higher job growth and higher revenue growth than ‘Low-tech’ SMBs.
What Is an IT Strategy?
An IT strategy is a comprehensive plan outlining how the organization will successfully use technology to meet IT and business requirements. This is also considered as an element that can support and shape an organization's overall business growth.
For small businesses, it is even more crucial to emphasize building an effective IT strategy that would completely align with the organization’s core goals. With small businesses
, executives have the option of experimenting with their IT strategy to effectively understand which would work best for them. Hence, not having too many layers of management works as a benefit in disguise for smaller organizations, giving them the opportunity to make a greater impact using their IT strategy.
How Can Small Businesses Benefit from an Effective IT Strategy?
The growing importance of IT business strategies highlights the drastic rise in technology as an essential element
aiding in business success. IT would be the first step in setting up new business models, enhancing productivity, and supporting interactions inside and outside the organization. It is also essential that the strategy consider all the requirements of the organization and its key shareholders.
Some models that would help you build a robust IT strategy are:
Develop a timeline and spending forecast for your IT strategy
A thorough understanding of your current structure and your goals
In-depth analysis of your IT's core strengths and weaknesses
Keep a close check on your resources that will help shape your IT strategy
“The advancement of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don't really even notice it, so it's part of everyday life.”
Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft
What Are the Best Practices for Planning IT Strategy?
The best practices to follow for effectively planning your IT strategies are:
Evaluate the Company's Existing Business Strategy
The strategic plan for IT should align with the organization's business strategy effectively. It should also have a clear roadmap that would help improve compensation and assist in effective interaction with customers and stakeholders. Small businesses can fine tune their strategy using minor tweaks that wouldn’t largely impact the current functioning of the organization.
Prevent Any Delays in Developing the Strategic Plan
Despite being an essential component, strategic IT planning shouldn't be time-consuming. It is essential that there be no delay in developing the strategic plan so that you can eliminate any possible loss of focus, relevance, and diminished currency. Small businesses have an upper hand here as getting through approvals and development isn’t a lengthy task for them; however it all depends on their existing workload.
Ensure That Specific Metrics of Success Are Set
It is advised to keep different performance indicators to track the strategic planning process successfully. Therefore, measuring and reporting these KPIs is something that is recommended.
Some studies found that about 75, 76, and 80% of organizations engage in strategic IT planning, but these strategic IT plans are not implemented extensively. An Australian survey also found that the proportion claiming to undertake strategic IT planning ranged from 58% in large organizations to 29% in medium-sized organizations and 19% in small organizations.
Detailed Analysis of IT Strategy Planning
The process of aligning IT with the organization is ideally called strategic IT planning. A technology strategy plan describes the general technology-based business management procedures that an organization uses to run its business.
To build an effective IT strategy for a business, you must evaluate the company's overall strategic planning. This will help the organization understand where IT business strategies can improve company operations.
This strategic planning will help evaluate the company's technological resources
and add a competitive edge to the company's functioning. This formulation would include determining the company's goals and objectives, vision, mission, and strategies.
Some might feel that curating a business strategy for small businesses is difficult and takes a tremendous amount of effort. To help with this, there is an easy six-step process that smaller organizations can follow to ease the process of developing an IT strategy for their business.
The main steps to follow are:
Overview of the planning process
Align with the company's long-term vision
Identify any possible gaps for strategic IT process
Curate an ideal schedule and tech budget
Implement the strategic planning process
Evaluate the results of the process
Using business strategy technology effectively would directly affect the organization's performance in the long run. IT strategies either make or break an organization if not done accurately. As a result, small businesses
are in greater need of an ideal IT strategy that would assist them in making an impact in the market where they function. Citing this aspect, the company also stands in a position of competitive advantage within its industry also in turn alarming the business leaders to focus more on how they handle the impact.
Q1: Why Is Strategic IT Planning Important for Small Businesses?
Information technology is a crucial component for any business, and businesses also heavily rely on IT to survive and thrive in their respective industries. Therefore, an IT strategy for business effectively outlines business goals and also outlays guidelines for businesses to achieve them.
Q2: What Are the Major Concerns of IT Strategy?
Some of the significant challenges that organizations face with IT business strategies are:
• Weak and improper existing strategy
• Ineffective training
• Limited or lack of resources
Q3: What Are the Benefits of an IT Strategy?
A well-curated and executed IT strategy would have the following:
• Would enable delegation of decision making
• Provides proactive response to change
• Establishes parameters for creative thinking