It is extremely difficult to think strategically about technology without the resources to do so. You are so busy with your daily technology tasks that there is no time to think about long term strategic projects.  The lack of strategic projects can increase your daily operational tasks so you can simply keep the lights on.  It is a vicious cycle.  How can you break out of this never-ending loop?  What can the technology team do differently so that they become a strategic asset and not a cost center?  The answer, of course, is to take some time to develop a strategy.

This strategy should be devoted to transforming the team into a business partner that solves business problems.   The technology team needs to be on the same page as your business managers to help them formulate requirements and business solutions, rather than scrambling to complete whatever project is thrown over the fence.  Here are five ways to help the tech team become a strategic asset to your organization.

1. Create a detailed technology roadmap: Create a strategic vision of where your technology should be.  Partner with key vendors that will allow you to reach that vision.  Leverage cloud technologies that will reduce expensive capital investments and allow for rapid changes in business needs.

2. Leverage vendor expertise to reduce risk and expenses: Major cloud vendors have invested billions in improved infrastructure and security that small and mid-size businesses could never afford.  Take advantage of those cloud vendors high-priced investments while paying the much smaller subscription prices.

3. Identify critical business processes that are inefficient and costly and streamline them: Manufacturers use this mentality to streamline their production lines.  This same thought process is critical to making the business more efficient and reduce your technology support costs.

4. Invest in business analytics to help your organization make data based decisions: Many businesses are drowning in data but have no way of understanding it effectively.  Invest in technology and processes that present business data in ways that people can make decisions.

5. Talk to internal business leaders in terms they understand: Getting key strategic projects approved is all in the presentation.  Don’t talk technology, that isn’t what your bosses care about, they see technology as means to an end. Show them the end.  Frame conversations in terms of reducing risk, increasing revenue, investing in strategic platforms and decreasing expenses.  Talking is not enough.  You need to have numbers to back those statements.

A strategic transformation takes time and commitment, but it is worth the effort.  Pick a project that is low risk but high value and get that “big win” first, then build on that success. Applied Tech has many ways to help you become more strategic. Leadership is always important in planning, but technology leadership isn’t always the most accessible or cheap solution. Applied Tech’s Flex CIO can help bridge the gap between your business executives and your tech gurus. That bridge can help your business create a more strategic, and cohesive business model at a fraction of the cost of a regular tech executive. To learn more about this service click here or call (608)729-1300.

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