Constructing an effective technology strategy is never an easy task. It requires careful planning and a deep understanding of the business to enable close alignment with the company’s direction and vision.
In this article, we’ll outline some of the critical steps necessary for success.
Form the right team
The ultimate goal of a technology strategy is to outline how technology should support the business’s vision and objectives over the next three to five years.
It’s, therefore, crucial to form an empowered team consisting of individuals from across the business, so that a variety of viewpoints and areas of expertise can be translated into a strategy that truly supports and is supported by the business.
In doing this, you’ll help ensure that your strategy is robust, multi-dimensioned and has advocates across the business.
Know what you want to achieve
Technology provides opportunities for your business to grow faster, be more efficient and embrace innovation. However, to do this effectively your technology needs to be directly associated with the needs of your business so that it acts as a supporting force, rather than a leading distraction. For this, you need clarity on what you’re looking to achieve.
Each member of your strategy team should develop a deep understanding of the business’s overall vision and objectives. It’s these objectives that your technology strategy needs to enable progress towards.
Enable effective communication
While we’ve mentioned it’s crucial to have a variety of viewpoints, more team members will always equate to more lines of communication being needed. Having a team that is too overcrowded can eventually lead to regular miscommunication within a team, analysis paralysis and a significantly slower overall working process.
Typically, five is the optimum number of team members for a strategy team, with eight being the maximum to remain effective.
Including a dedicated facilitator within your team will reduce friction around communication and enable the rest of the team to focus on what’s most important.
Don’t forget your customers
It goes without saying that customers are the core of any business. It’s not only vital to understand what the business and its employees will gain from a technology strategy, listening to your customers is equally important.
Make sure you gain a deep, accurate understanding of your customers before you embark on creating your technology strategy. Ensure you follow this up by creating mechanisms that will allow you to regularly gain a strong understanding of their needs. After all, if you fail to deliver a strategy that accounts for your customers, then you may have spent a great deal of time and money on something that doesn’t support your most important stakeholder.
Too often businesses can fall in love with their own ideas and pursue something disregarding advice they have received. Be aware of this and be ready to listen to other opinions and ideas, as these can benefit your business.
You should be continuously evaluating and learning from the work that has been produced at any given point. Even if things go wrong or take an unexpected turn, there is value to be harnessed. Don’t wait to start assessing your work until the strategy has been completed and implemented or else you may miss opportunities to quickly improve or rectify something.
Additionally, when establishing your technology strategy, prepare for the unexpected. There will be hiccups and surprises along the way that are difficult or impossible to foresee. How do you prepare for something unknown? Make sure to get everyone in the company on board and feeling part of the journey to help rule out any unwelcome surprises.
The long game
Once your strategy is implemented that shouldn’t be the end. An effective strategy lives and breathes, changing as your business and the environment it operates within does.
Utilise your business’s different channels to regularly collect as much feedback as possible from a range of sources. This includes the team working on the strategy, wider staff and, of course, the customers. It’s important to be flexible when taking this feedback on board.
For the business, reflection is important to bring the team together and make the necessary changes to progress. For the wider audience, the strategy should be adapted to ensure that your customers always remain front and centre.
Finding a safe pair of hands
Rather than tackling everything on your own, there may be benefits to outsourcing this process to external professionals. Outsourcing will save your business the hassle of recruiting extra staff to carry out the task. Everyone working on the process will be fully trained and experienced, and good outsourcing providers are knowledgeable about the market. They know what works and, crucially, what doesn’t.
An outsourcing provider will be able to offer their expert advice without any emotional investment or biases, strategising with the company without being tied down by any internal politics, thereby optimising the results.
The bottom line
To establish a strong technology strategy businesses must ensure they have regular and clear communications throughout the company and with their customers. The strategy shouldn’t just provide clear direction but also be flexible and receptive to feedback from both employees and the market.
The best way for companies to guarantee their strategy will provide the strongest possible outcome is to leave it to the experts. Outsourcing professionals who are knowledgeable and experienced in establishing technology strategies will relieve much of the pressure, enabling companies to continue their day-to-day tasks without disruption.