Optimising an organisation’s IT spend requires a focus on investment in technology that supports the business strategy over a one-to-five-year period. However, many organisations unwittingly spend money on IT infrastructure without taking the time to understand what they need. The result is unnecessary spend or over-expenditure on equipment and software that does not deliver the right capabilities; this creates additional pain in the environment and prevents staff from collaborating and achieving their objectives.

The benefits of gap analysis

We encourage our partners to take their customers on a journey that begins with defining where they are, where they want to be, and what types of technologies they need to implement to achieve their business goals. This gap analysis assesses the differences in performance between a business’s information systems or software applications to determine whether business requirements are being met and, if not, what steps should be taken to ensure they are met successfully.

Understanding the customer environment enables our partners to provide an in-depth assessment of what the business needs and why. It allows for the replacement of outdated technologies that may be an obstacle to business growth, and for the implementation of bundled solutions that will enable them to meet objectives well into the future.

Without a solid strategic plan in place, organisations may suddenly find themselves forced to respond to a crisis and solve an IT problem under duress. While we all know that tactical or responsive IT spend is understandable, that should proportionately be a very small part of a business’s budget. That is, provided that business has taken into account a number of possible scenarios that need to be catered for, because unexpected change happens.

Questions to ask

Here are suggested questions to ask when seeking to align an IT strategy with the business strategy:

  • What result are we seeking from this IT investment?
  • Do we want to create efficiencies within the business?
  • Are we trying to innovate in the business?
  • Are we trying to become more customer-centric?
  • Are we trying to enhance automation across the business?
  • Is our mindset open to change?
  • Are we trying to find a problem or resolve a problem?

The answer to these questions will define which areas to focus on in terms of the IT budget. Also consider, when aligning business and IT strategy, you should consider the roles at play. Is it IT’s responsibility to just execute on the strategy through selecting and implementing the technology to achieve the result or are they involved in the conceptual problem solving and advising on how we improve the business?

Pennywise is pound foolish

Importantly, smarter IT spend is not about spending less. A business could end up spending more because a cost-effective, but the non-aligned solution has not improved its efficiencies. It’s smarter to invest in increased productivity than to invest in solutions that look good on the bottom line but do not contribute to the business strategy.

Spending smartly will achieve certain outcomes. It will equip staff across all business areas with the correct technology to perform their duties, automate manual tasks, provide quality customer service, ensure compliance, protect data and intellectual property, and safeguard the business from cyber-attacks. Ultimately, it will result in optimisation of the environment. Engaging experts to help will transform IT from a necessary evil to an essential part of the business.

[Photo by George Morina from Pexels]