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Aligning IT with Your Business Goals

 

It isn’t really an exaggeration to say that IT is at the heart of your business.

Small and medium sized businesses rely on IT, and this reliance is growing more profound all the time. Anything that impacts upon IT will impact upon every other part of your business, owing to all of the complex interconnections, and this in turn can put your business at risk.

Your enterprise may be growing, with new opportunities and avenues for expansion opening up, but at the same time you still need to control expenses, reduce costs, and limit risks, all while delivering a valuable product or service.

How this all comes together is by properly aligning your IT services with your company goals. Failing to do so could mean that your IT team focuses on the wrong tasks, with your highest-priority concerns being delayed and in the long run, harming your profits.

Take Time to Evaluate Your Current Alignment

Take some time to assess your current situation. If your IT goals are out of alignment with your business plan, then you need to know what the precise issue is before you can take the necessary steps to remedy the situation.

Ask yourself the following:

  • What investments has your business made in IT?
  • Which investments have performed well? Which have failed?
  • Do you see the value of IT in your everyday business?
  • What difficulties are you facing?
  • Are there issues that your current IT alignment is not addressing?

Where Are You at Risk?

An increasingly important part of IT is risk management. Business owners are becoming aware of the lack of alignment in their current IT structure and their overall business goals when threats arise. With each passing day, IT grows increasingly vulnerable.

Verizon recently conducted an interview in a Data Breach Investigation, which found that 61% of small businesses were negatively impacted in some way by cyber security threats. In another survey conducted by UPS Capital, small businesses reported significant costs as a result of IT-related attacks, ranging from $84,000 to $148,000.

Cyber-attacks are not the only risk to IT however, and any attempts at risk management needs to consider internal breakdowns and failures as well in order to create a flexible, reliable solution that is customized to a particular business’s needs. Minimizing the risk of failure is, perhaps, the single-most important goal of IT alignment for your business.

For a small- or medium-sized business, aligning IT to your business goals is mostly concerned with improving its effectiveness, so that it delivers the most beneficial results possible. Here are some thoughts on how that can be accomplished:

Focus on the Right Projects. Make sure that whatever project your IT team is focused on is the one that most directly benefits your business goals. What are they tackling at the moment? Is it something that is impacting your business right now? The first tasks to be tackled must be those that are the most important to your business, always.

Allocation of Resources. This is a common error among small and medium-sized businesses, where they spend much more than they should in short-term resources. These resources are expensive. A far better solution is to plan for scale and needs, which will not only reduce costs, but improve efficiency overall.

Improved Visibility. If you are unsure of what is happening behind the scenes or dealing with any sort of backlog or missed deadlines, you need to improve the visibility within your IT sector. You need to know not only what is happening, but when, and where.

Your IT structure must be in line with your company goals, or else it quite simply has no value. Any investment made into IT by your company should directly benefit your business goals and the guidelines above will help you bring your IT into proper alignment.

For all your IT alignment needs, contact Safe Harbour today!