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What’s an IT Roadmap and why should your company have one?

Technology roadmaps are all about achieving alignment between business goals and IT. This helps business leaders make the right choices when it comes to purchasing and implementing new technology solutions. A strong IT roadmap focuses on both short- and long-term goals, and it’s regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changing business needs and conditions. Central planning is more important than ever in today’s increasingly disparate technology landscape.

Here are seven components every technology roadmap should include:

#1. Business goals

Technology roadmaps exist to help business leaders adopt new solutions for supporting their employees and workflows. That’s why every plan starts with a clear overview of what you want to achieve. The goals in a technology roadmap are no different from those in a product plan or any other type of strategic plan. They represent the desired short- and long-term results you’re hoping to achieve and outline the actions necessary to achieve them.

#2. System capabilities

System capabilities are an overview of the functions and features that you’ll need to look for when evaluating new IT solutions. For example, you might want to improve customer service by allowing people to open support tickets online, in which case you’d likely want a solution that integrates with your CRM.

#3. Release plans

A common mistake businesses make is trying to implement new technologies without a clear release plan. Even if the solution itself aligns perfectly with what you want to achieve, a poorly thought-out release schedule can leave everyone in the dark and result in plenty of technical problems and incompatibilities. That’s why your roadmap also needs a clear overview of the necessary steps, in the form of milestones from planning to post-implementation support.

#4. Resources overviews

Implementing new business technology is rarely as simple as installing a program or buying a new device and then just getting on with it. On top of the plan, you might also need additional resources such as hardware upgrades or faster internet bandwidth before you can successfully implement a new solution. Your technology plan should also detail any resources that might be necessary, such as human expertise and updates to legacy systems.

#5. Employee training

Employee training is another very important factor that often ends up being overlooked. If you don’t have a documented training program in place, any new technology is likely to result in poor adoption rates and no shortage of operational issues.

Your roadmap should include a clear strategy for keeping employees informed and providing training after a new system has been implemented. This may involve setting up a training seminar where you’ll demonstrate the capabilities of the new technology, and answering any questions employees may have. Further training may also be required when there are major changes to critical systems.

#6. Risk factors

Risk is a fact of life when it comes to business technology, and there’s always a risk of a new project going badly wrong. Common risks include leaving sensitive data exposed during cloud migrations, unexpected downtime due to compatibility issues, unscheduled service outages, and even hardware failures during physical relocations. It’s important your roadmap includes a thorough overview of the risks, as well as a plan for mitigating them and ensuring continuity.

#7. Status updates

Technology roadmaps are also about keeping all stakeholders informed. Status reports help you keep track of the progress of your technology projects and mitigate further disruption. For example, delayed implementation of a foundational system will affect any business systems that depend on it. Today’s automated business planning systems make it easier to define dates and deadlines and estimated workloads, and can even send automated alerts to keep everyone in the loop.

Frontline provides IT consulting services and solutions to businesses in Los Angeles. If you want to create and implement a technology roadmap for your business, call us today. Our consultants will listen to your business issues and recommend top-notch solutions that fit your needs and budget.