CSP, Inc. is proud to have recently hosted our first webinar of the year on January 26th with our very own VP of Sales and Marketing Stephen Riddick presenting on the benefits of Strategic Technology Planning.

The webinar began with an overview of why an IT plan is so important, the primary reason being that IT is integrated; it’s involved in every part of your business, which is why it needs a robust, detailed plan. Without one, you will quickly run into two major issues:

  • Accidental Architecture: Running from fire to fire doesn’t work long-term. Without a plan, you’ll end up just reacting to issues but never fixing them for good, which lowers user productivity, raises support costs and causes security risks.
  • IT as a Cost Center: If you only look at IT in an operational capacity, that it “costs X and does X”, you’ll never realize its strategic value. With the right strategy, you can leverage IT to be more than just a cost of doing business.

Before moving on, Stephen commented on why many business managers and owners are hesitant to do any real strategic planning: the cost. Up front, it may seem daunting to consider the costs of strategically aligned IT decisions over the next 5 or 10 years, but the fact is that it really pays off, and will likely cost less than having no plan at all.

Next, the webinar looked at what an IT plan entails, using Stephen’s 3-tiered approach:

  • Maintenance Planning at the IT Level, which is essentially management of technology refresh cycles.
  • Risk Planning at the Business Level, looking at the risks the business faces, and how IT can mitigate those risks.
  • Strategic Planning at the Board Level, considering how IT can help the business achieve its corporate goals.

Lastly, the webinar showed how to create an IT plan, using Stephen’s “Way-Too-Simplified” steps to Strategic Planning:

  • Where are you now?
    To best understand your current situation, it’s important to audit your IT infrastructure, perform a risk assessment, and analyze your high-level 5-year plan.
  • Where are you going?
    To figure out where you want to be, it will be helpful to consider where you are in your technology refresh cycles, learn about new technology trends and how they could be applied to your business, set expectations for your entire IT team to strategically mitigate risks, as well as invest in consultation as to how IT can drive your business.
  • How do you get there?
    Lastly, you combine all three levels into a single robust plan. This includes identifying strategic objectives as well as business goals, building scorecards to track progress, and beginning to execute your strategy.

To learn more about Strategic Business Planning and your IT, and to sign up for our next webinar, be sure to get in touch with CSP, Inc. right away: (919) 424-2000 or info@cspinc.com.

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