It’s Thursday afternoon, and your sales team calls. The laptop they were taking to the tradeshow on Friday just died. What should they do? If you’re a small to mid-sized business, you might:

  • Check out the storage cabinet for an old laptop.
  • Purchase a replacement either online or in-store.

But, the old laptop is so outdated it can’t run the video at speed, and the replacement won’t be available until Friday afternoon. That doesn’t leave time for the software to be installed, configured, and the video tested before the start of the tradeshow.

The last choice would be to request another employee’s laptop for the sales team, but that requires reconfiguring the laptop, relocating information, and removing programs. What if that laptop isn’t fast enough to play the video?

Suddenly, what appeared to be a fantastic chance to obtain quality sales leads has changed into a stressful two-day check-up on the machinery. Instead of arriving at the exhibit refreshed, the employees arrive late and unfocused.

This scenario is only one of the many reasons a company needs an IT roadmap.

What is an IT Roadmap?

Technology or IT roadmaps are graphic representations of a company’s technology objectives. The roadmap begins by outlining a company’s current situation before describing the competences required to achieve those technological objectives.

The result of strategic planning by numerous stakeholders are IT roadmaps. They are made to explain how a business’s technological investments will support its overarching business strategy.

Technology and business objectives may be short-term or long-term. They can have immediate timelines or future deadlines that are years out. The roadmaps ought to explain how technologies will be used and offer guidance on wise technological investments. They should respond to inquiries like:

  • What is the current state of the company’s technology?
  • Can these technologies support an organization’s core competencies?
  • Is the infrastructure capable of pivoting during a business disruption?
  • Are there different technologies doing the same functions?

IT roadmaps outline a company’s path to digital transformation by addressing technology concerns such as the following:

  • Software Migration
  • Legacy Systems
  • Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
  • Infrastructure Changes
  • System Upgrades

Although technology is the focus of the roadmaps, IT departments should not be responsible for creating them. Successful road mapping involves individuals from across the enterprise.

Who is Responsible for Creating an IT Roadmap?

It’s easy to place the road mapping responsibility with IT, but an effective roadmap is a collaborative effort. During the process, representatives from all functional groups, including business executives, should be present.

For instance, accounting would like to replace or upgrade the current setup. They are looking to integrate accounting with sales orders and inventory management. If they are not consulted, the roadmap is incomplete.

Taking the time to discuss what different departments are contemplating when it comes to technology ensures that the roadmap results in an enterprise-wide infrastructure that moves a company forward. If not, IT may be forced to integrate solutions that weaken the infrastructure and expose the company to security risks. Consulting on IT roadmaps can help you sort these interests out.

As part of the process, corporations should consider third-party stakeholders. A company might be a component of a seamless supply chain, and an IT roadmap is necessary to guarantee its adaptability. Will the roadmap support a change if a third party decides to switch to the cloud?

Business is no longer straightforward, no matter its size. Retailers have online storefronts on their websites. To guard against unforeseen disruptions like cyberattacks or power outages, organizations need backup solutions.

Regulatory requirements for online payments and consumer privacy have to be met. Without a roadmap, firms can waste enormous resources and still fail to address the difficulties of digital transformation.

Why is an IT Roadmap Important?

Although the deployment of technical resources to accomplish business goals is the main focus of an IT roadmap, it also serves as a tool for stakeholders to make strategic operational decisions.

Let’s revisit the scenario from Thursday afternoon to explore how the outcome might have been altered by a technology strategy.

The Problem

Equipment breaks down frequently and at the worst possible times. For small and mid-sized firms, maintaining equipment that is not mission-critical often slides to the bottom of the priority list. If it isn’t broken, why fix it, right? There are so many other priorities that need to be addressed.

Unfortunately, as the corporation in the story learned, an unimportant laptop could end up becoming a mission-critical tool.

The Solution

There are several approaches to dealing with equipment failure. The organization will determine where to find the best one. Few businesses can afford to keep extra equipment on hand for emergencies.

Additionally, technology is evolving so quickly that underutilized equipment may become obsolete even before it is needed. So, what are some potential substitutes, and how can a roadmap be useful?

Establishing a company’s current technological landscape, including the age of each piece of equipment, is the first step in the road mapping process. Organizations can then discuss the strategic value of maintaining operational equipment and the most effective ways to do so.

Two alternatives are as follows:

  • Establish a replacement schedule. On average, laptops should be replaced every three to five years, depending on usage. Desktops may need replacing between five and eight years.
  • Create a monitoring program. Automated tools exist for monitoring the performance of devices on a network. These tools can be used to look at how long it takes for programs to load or to evaluate latency issues when running resource-intensive programs.

Other options include having a backup device that staff members can easily configure while their device is being fixed or replaced. The strategic choice is significant in more ways than just reducing unplanned equipment failure.

The Value

The example from Thursday afternoon may seem overly simple, but it highlights the need of a technology strategy.

Everyone is in agreement. Budget disagreements are reduced to a minimum when a clear maintenance plan is in place. Whatever the choice, all parties involved are aware of how equipment reliability fits into the overall strategy of the business.

Concern is given to competencies. Is staff available to act on the results of monitoring, if it is to be used? Do employees need to be trained if automated tools are going to be used? If there is a staffing issue, should an IT consulting firm be used?

There are identified fallbacks. Unexpected equipment failure is a possibility that cannot be ruled out. That’s why alternatives should be in place, such as cloud backup for faster configuring of a new or replacement device.

The risk is evaluated. Whatever the decision, the associated risk should be addressed so that all stakeholders are aware of any potential negative outcomes.

For example, a corporation could continue to consider equipment reliability as a low priority and is ready to take the risk that a Thursday afternoon occurrence might happen.

With an IT roadmap, the company in the opening example could have avoided the negative impact on its sales strategy. To reduce unplanned equipment failure, the equipment could have been watched over and replaced.

Backup plans may have insured a favorable outcome if the unexpected happened. Instead of an unfocused and stressed sales team, the business could have presented a refreshed and polished image that could lead to additional sales.

What are the Benefits of a Technology Roadmap?

One of its main advantages is the road mapping process. It demands firms to take a concentrated look at their operations to ensure that their technology and business goals are aligned. Technology today not only helps businesses achieve their goals, but it also spurs expansion.

Aligns Business and Technology Goals

The traditional view of business and technology created very high silos that separated IT from other business units. Non-IT staff referred to IT departments as being too technical for them to understand, while IT staff were shocked by how little the rest of the organization knew about technology.

Unfortunately, these myths prevented organizations from bridging the gap that allowed for digital transformation.

The environment is altering. An IT roadmap is useful for this reason. By connecting business and technology objectives with IT roadmap consultancy, firms may become more productive and competitive.

Encourages Collaboration

According to a recent poll, 64% of businesses are not seeing the financial gains from their digital transformation plans that they had hoped for. Most of the time, a lack of cooperation is what keeps things from moving forward.

For years, companies operated in silos, with each department going its own way to meet corporate objectives. That strategy is no longer effective. Not only does it inhibit corporate growth, but it also increases operating costs as a result of duplicate spending.

It promotes the cooperation required to gain a competitive advantage to assemble an enterprise-wide team to map out the company’s strategy for the upcoming three to five years.

Sometimes, IT roadmap consulting services can help facilitate collaboration by functioning as a bridge between diverse functional groups.

Improves Operations

Creating a technology roadmap can make businesses run more effectively and efficiently. It is possible to implement technical solutions that facilitate the movement of information within the company.

Employees can access vital information to provide better customer experiences and provide high-quality data for analytics that influence business decisions with better data management.

Businesses can enable employees to work on higher-value tasks by implementing technology, such as automation tools, which enhances the experience for both customers and employees.

As redundancies are found and removed, these improvements may result in increased productivity and decreased operating expenses.

Identifies Risk

Business operations involve some risk. Even carefully thought-out projects may run into difficulties. A technology roadmap has the advantage of allowing risk analyses to be done prior to implementation.

Companies are able to assess the risks involved in even the most fundamental technical decisions, as in the opening example. Who would have thought that a lack of proper equipment maintenance would result in lost opportunities for sales?

Organizations can lower the likelihood of unplanned events that could have an impact on operations by assessing risk potential and developing strategies to mitigate that risk.

Creating business continuity and disaster recovery plans guarantees that, in the event of an unforeseen event, technology will be available to support business objectives.

Facilitates Digital Transformation

A far-reaching benefit of a technology roadmap is its ability to direct digital transformation. Technology is implemented in accordance with business goals to improve the experience for both customers and employees.

The creation process encourages collaboration that can extend beyond road mapping to foster innovation. And, it builds in a method of checks and balances to ensure that milestones are met and projects complete on schedule. Digital transformation cannot occur without a plan.

Technology Roadmap FAQs

Although there are many components to creating an IT roadmap, here are a few critical facts to consider.

What is an IT Roadmap?

An IT roadmap is a visual representation of a company’s strategic business and technology objectives. It identifies where a company is and where it wants to be with its technology.

Why is a Roadmap Important?

Roadmaps enable organizations to direct their resources towards achieving strategic objectives through directives that facilitate daily operational decisions.

How do you Prepare a Technology Roadmap?

Building a technology roadmap is a team effort that requires company-wide participation. Critical parts of a plan include:

  • Business and Technology Objectives
  • System Capabilities
  • Release Plans
  • Resource Overview
  • Employee Training
  • Risk Factors
  • Update Processes

For small to mid-sized businesses, IT roadmap consulting services can help bring a roadmap to completion.

What is the Purpose of a Technology Roadmap?

Roadmaps aid in the alignment of business and technology strategies to speed up the digital transformation of an organization. It acts as a tool for communication that enables functional groups to decide on resources wisely, and it creates a plan with deadlines that guarantees prompt execution.

What Makes a Good Technology Roadmap?

Effective roadmaps result from teamwork and describe how a corporation intends to coordinate its technological and business goals to guarantee long-term growth.

For small to mid-sized firms that are already suffering with rising workloads, creating a solid IT plan can be a challenging endeavor. A reputable IT consulting company can be of assistance.

With the added resources, a company can create a roadmap that directs its resources, resulting in more productive and cost-effective operations. For organizations anywhere in the United States, ITX Tech Group can guide you through the process.