It’s no surprise that more businesses and organizations are turning to technology than ever before; this crucial element can mean the difference between successful customer satisfaction and devastating failure.
That being said, technology is developing so quickly, making it difficult to stay on top of things. But in the business world, adaption is the name of the game. Successful companies are ones that take the time to update old technologies and apply new ones so that they can better grow and adapt to ever-shifting consumer demands.
By looking at the future of their technology, companies can better understand the changes they face and the best way to handle them. And while planning is seldom easy, there are many tools available to businesses that make the process manageable. One such tool is the technology roadmap.
What is a technology roadmap?
Technology roadmaps are diagrams, documents, or other displays created through collaborative efforts with the intent to help organizations understand, plan, and implement current and future technology that will help the business achieve its strategic goals.
These roadmaps are used for both short- and long-term goals and evaluations and are intended to help organizations transform their current technology in order to gain infrastructure and technology that is more useful, beneficial and adaptable. While every technology roadmap is different, many will include common elements such as:
- Current technology and IT systems and infrastructure
- Potential technology for future implementation
- Changes that will be associated with people, processes and technology
- A timeline of scheduled improvements
- An outline of the organization’s strategic goals and objectives
In short, a technology roadmap is the ultimate strategical tool for making technology work for your business. Done correctly, your organization’s technology roadmap will provide both the IT staff and business leaders with a clear, customized, and achievable list of technology-centered projects and initiatives that will help you achieve your strategic goals. It can also help get buy-in from all business leaders as they know where they fit in the technology roadmap.
The benefits of a technology roadmap
The function of a technology roadmap is to create a singular, achievable course of action that will help a variety of departments in maintaining current technology infrastructure or in onboarding and adapting to new technologies and systems.
A well-thought-out and complete roadmap offers many benefits, including:
- A clear and thorough outline of current technologies, their benefits, and lifespans
- The ability to predict and avoid expensive mistakes
- An opportunity to see the lifespan of certain technologies and the subsequent ability to plan for their end-of-life or for when they become obsolete
- An analysis of the organization’s current strategic needs and goals
- The ability to recognize and fix any current IT issues, gaps, weaknesses, or flaws
- An opportunity to review current technology costs and cut back on any technology that is not needed
- An understanding of the benefits and costs associated with maintaining current technologies or adopting new ones
- A measurable and achievable timeline of projects and initiatives that is easy to understand, and therefore, to complete
- The ability to predict future technological needs and to adapt to changes when they occur
A technology roadmap should be a collaborative effort between all departments and leadership in an organization, and therefore, acts as a connection between everyone from top business executives to IT staff to hourly employees. Creating a unified approach to technology improvement offers your organization the greatest chance at success.
Creating a technology roadmap in 6 steps
1. Know your goals and objectives
The first and foremost goal of a technology roadmap is to help an organization make good technological decisions that align with their business needs and goals. As such, a technology roadmap should include both long-term and short-term goals and objectives. You can identify these by asking questions such as:
- What are my organization’s specific priorities?
- What do we want to achieve financially?
- What do we want to achieve operationally?
- How can technology help us achieve our goals?
- What technology do we need to adapt, discontinue, or continue to use?
2. Review your current technology, software, and systems
It is imperative that you understand your existing technology before attempting to change anything. In order to understand your organization’s current relationship with technology, collect input from all relevant parties, from IT professionals to entry-level employees.
During this step, it is important to discover how employees interact with technology, where the current technology is failing or succeeding, what technologies are being used, and the benefits that come with using it.
3. Define your needs and priorities
Once you have gathered information on your current technologies, you must isolate areas for improvement. Look for areas where technology can be improved or augmented and prioritize these areas. By the end of this step, you should be able to create a checklist of actions your organization needs to take to ensure a more successful technological future.
4. Measure the costs
After deciding what technologies your organization needs to adapt, maintain, or supplement, it is important to research the associated costs. Investing in technology is seldom inexpensive, but choosing the correct investments through thorough research can help ensure that no investment is wasted.
5. Establish realistic timelines
It is important to prioritize your roadmap to ensure that your organization does not take on too many projects at once. Clear and manageable timelines will allow you the best chance at success.
Your task list should be prioritized according to:
- The duration of the project
- The resources available for the project
- Any constraints that may hinder the project
- The employees available to work on the project
- The immediate and future benefits of the project
6. Appoint a Committee
Once your timeline is complete, it can be helpful to create a committee or establish a program with a leader to oversee it. This committee/program should be comprised of relevant individuals who will guide the rest of the team to meet established goals, monitor progress, and performance, and analyze any associated metrics to ensure everything is running smoothly.
Technology roadmaps – a path to success
There is little doubt about the effectiveness of technology, which makes it crucial that organizations and businesses know how best to utilize the technologies available to them. A technology roadmap is a valuable tool to help your organization adapt and prepare for the future and enjoy the many benefits that technology has to offer.
If you need help to build or update your technology roadmap, our team of consultants can support you in your transformation journey. A technology roadmap should be adaptable and will change over time as new technologies are released and, business goals are shifting. Contact Softlanding now for more information.