This article is adapted from a workshop presented at ATSA, October 2013.
An effective IT strategy is your road map to IT success. Ideally, your IT strategy will provide a holistic view of the current IT environment, the future direction, and initiatives required to achieve the desired future environment. So, simplistically, where are you now and where to you want to go.
This will then enable nimble, reliable and efficient response to your firm’s objectives. Don’t begin with the technology, start with the business objectives, then tie the IT strategy back to those.
The reasons for developing an IT strategy
- It will ensure the wise investment of business dollars in IT, thereby helping achieve business goals and objectives
- It will drive lower costs, increased output and competitive advantage
- It will provide a systematic approach to proactively improving the customer experience and creating business results
- It will align it initiatives and services to support business needs and align with firm priorities
- It will ensure support to those projects and deliverables that will provide the most value to the firm in an efficient manner
- It will assist with harmonious IT accounting staff relations.
There are 5 steps involved in creating an IT strategy for a firm.
1. Understand the Business Strategy
This includes the broader organisation and the factors driving change, plus the current approach of your IT provider.
2. Assess the Current State of IT
What do you have in your IT environment, software, hardware, cloud applications, licenses, insurance, back ups, responsible staff, etc?
3. Define the Targets and & Gaps
What is it you need in order to ensure you create the IT system you require/desire?
4. Create the Road Map
Prioritise the initiatives determined in the previous step. Then create a road map to implement the changes. Determine the success metrics for each initiative.
5. Create the IT Strategy
Validate the draft IT strategy with key stakeholders. Communicate the IT strategy to the team. Refresh the IT strategy after feedback and on an on-going basis, depending on current developments.
“But I don’t have the time”
That is fine, hire an outsider to do the whole job, that is dump it on them, not necessarily effective. Or try to do it yourself, defer and defer.
Or, for the best result, use an outside consultant who knows the industry, bring their knowledge to work with you and your firm committee, so as to produce a strategy that best suits the needs of your firm, for the future.
Written by Iain Enticott – Director, Technology for Accountants Pty Ltd
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