An IT roadmap is a actionable plan that matches short-term and long-term business objectives with specific technology solutions and resources to help meet those objectives.
The roadmap has three significant functions:
It achieves a consensus about a set of needs and the technologies required to fulfill those needs;
It creates a method to help forecast future technology requirements; and
It provides a framework to plan and coordinate ongoing technology solutions and decisions.
Building an IT Roadmap: The IT and Business Relationship
IT strategy is closely intertwined with business priorities, so that the process to build and communicate an IT roadmap is often triggered by:
New digital business opportunities or different strategic goals set by management;
Continuous requirements to support business priorities and transformation efforts; and
The need to keep IT and business roadmaps consistent with each other.
To align with business goals, IT departments must establish objectives, plans, and indicators to evaluate IT options against expected business performance, and communicate their IT roadmaps to all stakeholders.
The Roadmap process
The first step in developing the roadmap is to review and fully comprehend the organization’s business strategy and get a perspective on how IT is presently supporting (or not fully supporting) the business. Once the organization establishes that current state (the starting point) for both the business and IT (and how they interrelate), the second step involves assembling a vision (future state) for IT. Finally, the third step involves deciding how the organization can get from the current state to the vision state via very specific activities (the roadmap). A key ingredient will be the expectations and requirements from business management on how they anticipate IT to contribute to the overall business functions.
Understanding the current state involves collecting and reviewing:
An inventory of the services IT presently delivers to the business;
A list of the technology assets utilized to provide/operate/support those services;
The human resources used to provide/operate/support those services;
A reconciliation of the costs associated with all the assets and services needed to deliver these IT services to the business;
A current view of the IT project portfolio (new/upgraded services already planned and services to be retired);
The current business strategy and objectives;
An identification of the emerging technologies/services that both the business and IT believe will benefit the current business strategy;
A list of the opportunities to improve/consolidate/retire services;
The high impact business processes or cycles; and
An organization model (current operating model).
Defining the desired vision (future state) involves:
Fully understanding the future business strategy;
Identifying the systems and services required by IT needs to effectively support this future business strategy;
An evaluation of the current and emerging technology assets that will be necessary to deliver those services;
The skills and competencies required of the IT team required to deliver those services.
Developing an IT Roadmap from current state to future (or desired) state involves:
Ensuring proper alignement to the business strategy;
Establishing a high-level IT project portfolio to accomplish the transition of IT systems and services (people, process, technology); and
Providing financial assets required for the transition.
Many organizations develop a three to five year roadmap. The roadmap should be developed with input from all areas of the business because of the diverse nature of the needs necessary to meet their organization’s objective.
Developing a roadmap assists organizations with identifying the projects that enable the business to achieve their strategic goals, and provides a mechanism for IT to forecast the technology needs that map to the business goals and objectives. To find out how Litcom can help your organization develop an IT Roadmap for future success, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org