How You Should Be Setting Your IT Strategy Document
The modern IT department faces an ever increasing amount of challenges, not only related to the immediate need to ensure that your business is well protected, that all systems and processes function consistently and that procedures are documented, understood and followed by both the users and IT department but also to adequately plan for both current and projected growth, near and midterm implementations of software applications and updates as well as the possible adoption of new technologies and advancements. It is therefore, vital that your IT strategy document be planned with a holistic view encompassing the needs of both the IT department and the company as a whole.
When planning your IT strategy document, a clear understanding of your current environment is vital in ensuring that your strategy is built on a solid platform. An in-depth critical assessment of what you currently possess in your department as well as a complete risk analysis will assist in identifying any weak areas present in your current environment, and will provide an opportunity to both rectify and improve on them in your new and improved strategy.
Establishing Your Objectives
A holistic and consistent IT strategy document should adhere to a set of established and trusted best practices while focusing specifically on key areas that pertain to your specific industry and business requirements. Establishing your baseline requirements will aid in the decision making process of the systems and applications that will best serve your objectives. There are many important protocols that should form the basis of your IT strategy document, and setting a standard of acceptable guidelines for these protocols should be your starting point.
Vital Strategic Areas
Safeguarding your environment should be a primary focus area for your IT strategy document, and a security strategy that safeguards both the underlying hardware systems and applications from both environmental and malicious threats is key to ensuring that key IT services are delivered to the business and that the business can best serve its customers. Policies and procedures that enable effective communication between the users within the business and the IT department will aid not only in understanding the needs of the business, but will allow the IT department to proactively plan for the implementation of software that will both the users and business progress forward.
Disaster recovery is an often under planned but vastly important component of any IT strategy document. Establishing clearly defined Recovery Time and Recovery Point Objectives (RTO and RPO) are the first steps in establishing your data protection needs. Once the RTO and RPO objectives have been defined, it is important to choose a data protection solution that meets the needs of both daily operational backup and restore procedures as well as ensuring that all business critical applications are protected and can be recovered timeously in the event of a disaster.
A solid IT strategy document must encompass both the tenets that enable adequate delivery of services as well as clear and effective communication with the users within the company. It is vital that all areas within the department are planned for in the IT strategy document, and that adequate resources are devoted to testing new technologies and applications to ensure a holistic and comprehensive strategy.