Technology alignment is critical for a growing business, especially as a business scales up. A car that is out of alignment behaves the same as a business. At slow speeds (low growth) the lack of alignment is not noticeable, but once you get on the highway hold on or the car will be drifting across the highway headed for a crash!
A business that is out of alignment crosses the lanes of lower productivity, less security, and less profit. So how do we get our business back in alignment? Our experience has shown there are three specific steps to performing technology alignment.
Have a guide or reference
In order to align your technology you must have a guide to compare it against. This is a set of proven technology best practices, industry standards, and business requirements that outline the optimal state of technology for your business. We have developed an Intelligent Technology Roadmap which allows us to quickly understand what areas are out of alignment in the business.
A technology BUDGET is not a guide, that is a random guess as to what you think you should be spending. This approach also has the effect of reducing the amount of technology spend over time, which puts your technology in maintenance mode. Internal IT and vendors are often in this mindset. Put together the roadmap first and use the budgeting process to understand WHAT you can accomplish in the next year.
Prioritize what to focus on
There are a lot of inputs that go into making your car go straight down the road. The same is true of your technology. The goal is to prioritize what will produce the biggest benefit first and then work down towards the others. We have developed our Roadmaps with 3 components and 12 Areas of Focus that allow us to quickly prioritize what will give your business the most ROI.
Our Alignment Score highlights what specific Areas of Focus need to be addressed along with their priority. Using this score we can easily determine what alignments need to occur and can also show the ongoing improvement in the overall score. It is important to be able to QUANTIFY your level of alignment in a proactive way.
Execute and Review
A critical component to technology alignment is to actually do it! Often internal IT and smaller vendors are stuck in a reactive maintenance mode, and "don't have the time" to get to anything proactive. This is were a technology partner with a dedicated Professional Services team will make a huge difference to your business. When alignment projects are performed based on the Roadmap the results are exponential.
Once you perform technology alignment in one area of focus, update the Alignment Score, review, and repeat the process. The cadence of regular technology alignment is one of the best things you can do to increase the productivity, security, and profits of your growing business!