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The technology roadmap

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Also known as an IT roadmap, the technology roadmap sketches short-term and long-term goals as seen through the employment of technology solutions.

Typically, critical information is included which will take organisational idiosyncrasies into account to make informed decisions and improved judgements on tech investments.

While many approaches to roadmapping exist, the wizardry normally falls into one of two categories:

  1. The IT systems roadmap explains systems that mobilise core capabilities across the organisational body. At the top level these include CRM systems, ERP systems and Data Analytics systems.

  2. The technology roadmap shows the software available, areas scheduled for improvement and even when its end life might fall. A core CRM system that is set for replacement by another might show its precise date for replacement.

The more firms understand on what is available to them, the more likely that they will be able to employ a technology road map to establish a timeline for future development, and how that growth will take on new systems.

A core thought is to have tech and framework investments that will satisfy the organisation’s short- and long-term goals.

Why firms need a technology roadmap

Many methods used by firms to give employee support. Most technologies employed to this end can be very complex and resource-heavy, calling for a highly intensive planning and implementation programme.

The end goal of a technology roadmap is the use of an action plan that will rely on tech solutions to align key stakeholders, such as IT, marketing, HR and other business silos. The plan will help groups to understand technologies required to achieve a final target, by providing a clear structure towards the end goal.

A technology roadmap will typically consist of the following:

1. End goals

Both short-term and long-term, these end goals will hopefully be achieved through the organisation’s technology solutions and will fall on the shoulders of the firm’s existing tech capabilities. This aspect will also detail what new software will be needed moving forward.

2. New system capabilities

These are what will result from the enhanced technology solutions. By way of example, if a CRM system is bolted with customer asset tracking, further insight capability will be granted to a number of business silos.

3. Release plans

Release plans bolster systems’ capacity to support the businesses newly enhanced capabilities. The releases are usually predictable and detailed for months into the future, and are also broadcast throughout the firm.

4. Milestones

Those crucial sub-goals that are hit during the technology development process are known as milestones, the tracking of which enables stakeholders to use systems to understand progress towards the overall aim.

Milestones are usually attached to specified dates and treated as KPIs, showing whether or not an organisation is on track.

5. Resources

The implementation and maintenance of systems depends on allocation of person-power, an organisation’s most precious resource. IT groups have to align so that roll-out synchronises with optimal functionality and to update legacy systems as required. As such, inter-functional co-dependencies can be created across silos.

6. Training

Another essential component upon which the roadmap’s smooth running depends, training will establish what is needed to help the internal team to ensure the system thrives. Tuition can apply to a new system being brought in for the first time, or to developments in place on a broadly used system.

7. Risks

Risk factors concern barriers on the inside and the outside which might stop an organisation from making those crucial milestones and end goals in the technology plan. Limitations inherent to the technology itself might affect this, while the wider market conditions might also throw up unexpected obstacles.

8. Status briefs

A crucial component to technology plans, status updates / reports keep all parties informed at pre-determined times. If one key system experiences implementation delay, then there will be knock-on inconvenience for business units further down the line.

A firm seeking to bring in a new partner discount plan for their channel may not be able to go ahead with their plans until the systems are developed sufficiently to shoulder the discounting infrastructure.

 

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Tags: IT Transformation, Technology