Given its ubiquity in an increasingly digitally-driven business landscape, Information Technology (IT) occupies a central function for nearly every enterprise today.
Because of the premium now placed on IT, procurement and management of IT services in turn demand more scrutiny and caution from enterprise firms. In particular, the security of company data now must drive considerations of enterprise decision-makers when formulating strategy or initiatives in IT.
For those enterprises grappling with the challenge of organizing and securing the processes for how they address IT services needs, use the following three steps as a guide for determining how to proceed when formulating IT objectives and strategy:
- Identify IT priorities
- Consider resource options for IT services
- Assess the challenges
Identify IT Priorities
Among the multitude of IT services and functions involved with the operation of an enterprise firm, identifying those which most impact your business is a challenging process.
Despite the challenge, enterprises must invest the requisite time and resources to determine which IT areas they most prioritize, as these priorities directly inform IT objectives and strategy. Without a documented set of priorities, the process of formulating a cohesive strategy can be easily steered off-course.
While IT priorities necessarily vary on an individual basis among enterprise firms, a few services consistently top the list in recent field research as services that enterprises recognize as increasingly important today.
According to TechTarget, behind general IT management, security, networking, and application development define the primary IT concerns among IT professionals. However, the same survey also indicates that enterprises plan to gear their focus toward data centralization and IT automation for future investments. Enterprises should use research like this to understand industry standards for IT, which they can use when defining their own objectives.
Another area of research enterprises should observe when determining priorities among IT services involves the strategies of firms of similar size, customer base, or business practices as their own. Understanding the priorities of your industry contemporaries serve to reinforce your understanding of industry benchmarks for IT strategy, just as well as it may serve as a point of distinction that can work to separate your firm from close competitors.
Regardless of how you employ your research, any progress toward ensuring that your firm has its individual priorities in check helps to navigate the process of formulating and implementing IT strategy.
Consider Resources for IT Services
While identifying priorities guides IT strategy, another factor for enterprises to consider when formulating that strategy is the logistics associated with its execution.
Nearly every enterprise has an internal IT department. However, it is infeasible, and potentially dangerous, to rely on in-house talent to handle all IT services needs. Unless your IT department is stacked with experts and a sizable pool of IT talent, they can become easily overburdened, which often leads to more careless mistakes and oversights.
When addressing IT services needs and how to distribute IT responsibilities, enterprises should look external partners as a resource.
Among the options for outsourcing IT services in today’s market are a wide range of service firms and resources, from high-end domestic specialty firms to low-cost offshore operations.
Among these options is a multitude of IT services providers who specialize in supporting enterprise-level IT service needs. These providers represent a very viable resource for IT services.
Like all other work sourced to service partners, though, your company’s decision-makers need to have organized and thoughtful procurement standards and processes in place for determining the best fit for your company’s needs.
Each form of external resource comes with its benefits and challenges, so thorough analysis into each type, and the risks and rewards they carry, should be included in the procurement process.
Recent research from Clutch indicates that enterprises are trending toward domestic providers of IT services over offshore firms. However, other factors, such as cost, quality of service, security play major roles to consider when partnering with a firm for IT services.
Enterprises should maintain their IT priorities as the primary guiding factor during for process of procuring an IT service provider. For example, if one of your company’s primary IT objectives involves securing your company’s mobile networks, and you currently use a US-based and highly complex network system, your best option is likely a domestic, high-specialty firm.
On the other hand, if one of your primary needs involves leg work in building out IT infrastructure or another auxiliary task with high labor costs but low security risk, an offshore firm may be the most effective approach.
Assess Your Challenges
Prior to moving forward with the implementation of any sort of concerted or strategic plan for your company’s IT, it is imperative that you identify and understand the exact challenges and obstacles you face in the IT space. Namely, the challenges enterprises face usually regard at least one of two factors: budget and security for IT maintenance and investments.
Oftentimes, these two factors go hand-in-hand when approaching IT strategy.
Especially when it comes to efforts or initiatives like cybersecurity, the cost associated with securing your entire company with cybersecurity solutions can be unworldly, to the point where some may consider it not even worth it to employ top-of-the line security software.
However, the cost of solutions like these does not pale in comparison to the cost of not investing necessary resources in IT. Operating your business using out-of-date technology is at best bad for business, and at worst can spell doom for its security and operation.
Because of the weight and impact making decisions regarding these factors have on your overall business operations, formulating the proper budget and resources to devote to IT requires constant iteration and deliberation.
However, if you have identified your priorities and options for achieving your IT objectives, the process of assessing and addressing IT challenges takes a smoother path. If you have already determined these factors, you know which IT services are most important to secure and the resources available to do so.
A Clearer Path
Using the above considerations--identify priorities, consider options, and assess challenges--enterprises should be able to forge a clearer path for formulating IT strategy, particularly in regards to their IT services.
With established objectives and an organized strategy, your company is better suited to operate in our digital landscape, and better prepared to adapt with ever-changing information technologies.
Grayson Kemper, Content Developer, Clutch
Image Credit: Everything Possible / Shutterstock