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A technology roadmap is essential for providing detail behind an IT plan. There are five key elements.
But before we get into the five key elements, we need to ask what is a technology roadmap? A technology roadmap is a document, which lays out a clear route towards achieving certain goals. It is essential, because without such a map, projects can become de-railed, with too much focus on short-term needs, losing sight of the bigger picture.
So, what are the 5 key elements for a successful technology roadmap?
First of all, we may need to do the opposite of what Lewis Carol’s, King of Kings recommended, and instead of starting at the beginning, we might need consider the end. What are the key goals? Are they for example to help the company become closer to the customer, raise productivity, or promote greater communication within a company, or maybe it is to save costs. Linked to this, consider the IT strategic plan. In fact, the technology road map usually fleshes out the detail implicit in an IT strategic plan. So, it is vital that we have such as plan.
Secondly, you need an audit of current technology. Consider what technology the company already uses, and indeed what technology employees bring with them to work. If you have to re-train staff to use technology they are not familiar with, so be it, but it is best to start with what they know, and what they are already doing. Once you have carried out the audit, identify critical system requirements, specifying major technology areas, technology drivers and technology alternatives.
Thirdly, consider the preliminary phase. This focuses on leadership, the people who will make the plan happen, its sponsors, and also the scope and boundaries of the plan. Select the key people who will help make the plan happen, and possibly elicit support from sponsors, the key people who act as advocates of the plan.
Fourthly, consider what the company is going to do while the plan is being implemented. It may be best to start off by focusing on technology that can be assimilated within the company quickly, especially if this technology can form the bedrock of the final, finished product. And then consider the time frame, when will the plan be fully implanted, what are milestones?
And finally, set-up parameters and means for measuring the effectiveness of the plan. This is vital, don’t make the rules-up as you go along, but select in advance how you will determine if the plan has been adhered to, and whether it achieves its objectives. Consider how you will compare the cost of realising the plan with the monetary benefits to the company.