Would a general go into battle without a defined plan? Never. Neither would he consider each operation individually. Rather, he would pursue tactics that link all of the battles together to meet a strategically defined goal of winning the war. It would be a plan against which he could measure success and clearly define return on manpower and capital investments.
Similarly, a CEO would not make an isolated decision to resolve a technology problem without looking at the organization as a whole. Much like an enemy attack, however, IT problems can strike without overt warning, crippling operations or revealing an exposed flank and forcing a quick response. What should we do when security systems are breached?
Or outdated CRM systems no longer keep up? Or the “battle” shifts to new ground like social media? Tactically, fixing broken or failing systems might seem the logical first response. But strategically, implementing a quick fix can box executives into a series of decisions that can be difficult to unwind and correct if any single decision turns out to be wrong.
Strategic technology plans don’t start with technology at all. While a technology issue can drive timing and create urgency, strategic technology planning begins by identifying your business goals: increasing revenue/sales, increasing efficiency/productivity, reducing costs, increasing lead flow, improving data recovery, etc.
Once an organization is armed with clearly defined goals, it can then deploy its arsenal of resources to achieve its objectives, much as the general consults with his officers, identifying strengths and competencies, and creating a plan of attack. But it always starts with clear, uncomplicated goals.
- Need to save lives? Learn how a faster and more accurate system for collecting and reporting environmental data keeps our soldiers safer in the field.
- Need to fuel your growth strategy? Learn how an innovative M&A analytics engine provided revenue growth from $200 million to $3 billion in just 7 years.
- Want to create repeat business? Learn how a sophisticated small business compliance engine delivered a 200% ROI in its first year.
Don’t get caught unprepared. And don’t let a technology issue force you into a battle you may never win. The fourth quarter is the perfect time to review your technology plans for next year to ensure they align with your overall business plan.