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Optimizing Your Business Process and Technology Plan

28 Apr, 2016 By: Eric Stavola, MSCIS,MCSE,MCSA,N+,CDIA+

Digital leaders today are facing some key challenges around business process and technology. Meaning that changes or innovation with Technology can and will change the way people and organizations will work and function.

IT services are now a critical component of business processes that build revenue and create competitive advantages. Many organizations are identifying with IT inefficiencies, digital disruptions, security or compliance concerns, and unhappy end users. Successful companies are getting ahead of such issues by managing technology by a “plan vs a reactive approach.”

I meet with business executives every day and am amazed at the lack understanding or inaction around technology planning. Thus I’m providing some key steps or concepts to help aid the technology planning process.

What should be in a good Technology Plan?

1)First start with a  business conversation on:

•         Strategy

•         Structure

•         Skills

•         Systems

2)Have a White Board session to identify needs and risks

The goal of the White Board strategy sessions is to highlight any specific risks found in current key areas of your organization as it relates to people, process, or technology, and begin to associate costs with both the risks and the solutions.  Identify key areas in:

•         Communication

•         Network Infrastructure

•         Budget Planning

•         Security

•         Data Management

•         Web/Social Presence

•         Professional Development

3)Align your plan with your business goals

Have a discussion with key leadership to establish company benchmarks and objectives, and align hardware and services to business strategy.  These discussions should be focused on both business and technology needs such as:


Where are you investing in your company?

Where do you want the company to be in 1, 3 or 5 years?

What area of the company is growing the most?


How is your business model changing?

How is your industry or market changing?

What is your biggest challenge as you transition?


How much downtime can you afford?

What does it cost to be down for 1 hour or day?

What are your biggest risks?


Where does you company spend too much time?

What part of your workflow costs you the most?

What is your biggest challenge in being efficient?

How long should you plan out for?

With the rate at which data and technology is changing, the day and age of the 3 to 5-year technology plan are quickly going by the wayside.  Today I see a number of successful companies with a 1-year action plan, yet even that may seem a bit long depending on type of company or the areas that need to be addressed.  Thus it usually helps to look at your plan in “phases vs. years.”

Develop a Lifecycle Refresh

The platform lifecycle contributes to budgetary and refresh planning of IT infrastructure.  There are three phases in the typical lifecycle of a platform: New, Supported, Retiring. Items to consider are:

•         Firewall

•         Antivirus

•         Switches

•         Wireless

•         Server Hardware

•         Server Software

•         MFP/Document Management

•         Email

•         Backup


Eric Stavola is U.S. Director of Pre-Sales Engineers for mindSHIFT, a Ricoh company. Contacts: (c) (619) 455-2732 / (e) Eric.Stavola@mindshift.com

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