Today’s business challenges require leaders to think more strategically about IT—not just whether or not your systems and network are up and running. An increasing number of business leaders are realizing how dramatically technology decisions impact their business. To stay competitive, you have to view IT as a strategic asset—not just an operational expense.

If you’re not including technology leaders in your strategic meetings, it’s time to change your approach—read these five steps to aligning IT with your business goals:

 

  1. Gauge Department Expectations

Base your priorities on the needs of your internal departments. Everyone in your organization can achieve their goals with the right technology on their side.

 

  1. Develop a Plan

Build a timeline that includes deliverables, accountability checkpoints and milestones to make sure your IT stays on track.

 

  1. Establish Benchmarks

How will you measure success? Work backward from your business goals to determine benchmarks like expanded reach, better quality and maximized agility. Check in regularly to see if your strategy is moving the needle toward those benchmarks and make adjustments to meet your timeline expectations.

 

  1. Test Your Strategy

Before you roll out solutions, test them on a single variable by setting a benchmark and measuring it against the result.

 

  1. Focus on the Future

Set realistic benchmarks and KPIs so you can get a picture of where your business should be in one, five and ten years. Maintain communication with organizational leaders and make adjustments to make sure your business meets or exceeds your established goals.

 

If you’re a small business that finds it challenging to keep everything running with a small IT team, you should consider working with a managed service provider to help you work through these steps. Ask your managed service provider about their vCIO services. They can provide the leadership and expertise you need to actualize your organizational goals—for a fraction of the cost of hiring executive level IT personnel.