How to Create a Technology Road Mapby Ian LintonUpdated September 26, 2017
A technology road map helps businesses identify the technologies that will help them meet business objectives or gain a competitive advantage, according to Entrepreneur. Road maps take account of current and emerging technologies and help to guide the timing of investments.
Align Technology With Business Objectives
Technology can help you overcome business challenges and take advantage of market opportunities. Entrepreneur notes that small businesses typically develop technology road maps that enable them to improve operational efficiency, enhance customer responsiveness, control the costs of doing business and keep data secure. List the goals that are most important to your business and identify the technologies that will help you achieve them.
Obtain Buy-in and Build Consensus
Nexight Group, a technology consultancy, stresses the importance of prioritizing business and technology goals to use scarce investment funds effectively. The group recommends obtaining senior executive buy-in so that the technology road map aligns with your company’s strategic direction. You should also discuss the road map with departmental managers and IT professionals to identify their specific business and technology requirements. By building a full picture of the company’s needs and balancing departmental requirements against strategic goals, you can prioritize technology plans.
Identify Current and Emerging Technologies
Before researching potential investments, review your existing technologies to see how they meet current and future needs and strategic goals. If you have an existing communications network, for example, you may decide to upgrade or expand it to meet your changing needs. By discussing your plans with suppliers, you may find that emerging network technologies provide a better fit with your goals or give you new capabilities. Management consultancy Accenture recommends creating scenarios to assess how new technology investments could impact your current and future business needs.
Create Budgets and Investment Forecasts
When you have identified target technologies, prepare budgets and calculate the potential return on investment for each of the technologies. You should also consider the potential benefits of building cloud technologies into your road map. With cloud solutions, you rent computing capacity from service providers when you need it, rather than investing capital in fixed resources. Cloud solutions also give you the flexibility to increase or reduce your capacity in line with demand, reducing the risk of a wasted investment if business conditions change. If a call center is on your road map, for example, you could rent a cloud package and add capacity as your business grows or you require additional resources for a telesales campaign.
Create and Update the Roadmap
Software is available to help you create a road map. The software provides a graphic representation of the stages and timing of your technology investments. This can help you decide how long to maintain existing equipment, when to retire redundant technologies and when to rent or purchase new systems to reach your end goal. It’s also essential to update the road map if business requirements change or new technologies become available.
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