Do you have an IT strategic plan?
A growing number of construction contractors are looking at IT more seriously as a way to do more with current staff, win more work, and achieve other business goals. In 2017-released survey of nearly 1,300 construction professionals, 47% said they currently have a formal IT plan in place, up from 42% the year before.
If you don’t have an IT strategic plan, you may wonder where to start. Here are 10 tips to put together a comprehensive plan that will transform your technology investments from a cost center to a revenue center.
- List business objectives first. Defining your most important short- and long-term business goals will help you determine what technology initiatives are most aligned with your business strategy.
- Assess weaknesses in your current IT infrastructure. Are some applications outdated or inefficient? Do you lack integration between important systems? Can your team access information and capabilities when using mobile devices at job sites?
- Get feedback from your employees. What technology do they need to do their jobs more effectively? If you’re getting requests from employees, consider adding these new technologies to your strategic plan.
- Define the expected benefits. What positive impact do you expect each new technology to achieve? Benefits may include increased productivity, reduced costs, better communication, or more satisfied customers.
- Calculate a clear ROI and include a payback timetable. Determine both hard savings such as eliminating an in-house server and soft benefits such as greater efficiency or easier collaboration.
- Define the cost of doing nothing. In addition to the ROI associated with carrying out your IT strategic plan, include a description of the business risks and potential costs of not investing in new technology.
- Consider a phased approach. You don’t have to accomplish everything at once. Sometimes it can be more cost effective to adopt technology in stages. It can also be easier for employees to adjust to incremental changes.
- Find the budget for IT investments. Demonstrate how your proposed IT initiative will fit into the corporate budget. A phased approach may provide progress now without breaking the bank.
- Be mindful of longer-term goals. Although you may be planning initiatives for this year, look two, three, or even five years down the road. Investments made today should help to build the IT infrastructure you’ll need later.
- Encourage employees using new technology. Does your company culture encourage change? Do you need to provide additional training? What processes can you put in place to help employees adopt new technology?
Building an IT infrastructure requires a blueprint just like any construction project. Without a strategy and plan, you just have a collection of software, hardware, and network components that won’t support your business long-term. Make sure your technology investments make the most sense strategically for your company.