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A Practical Guide to Technology Roadmap and Why You Need It

Great software and technology solutions help a company thrive, but building your company’s technology plan needs more than just a week of programming. Technology is complex; the team is responsible for developing architecture, software, and technology that provides value to customers. So much technology is involved in a business that organising the duties of the technology teams and keeping track of everything might be difficult. 

Because of this, companies need to consider building a technology roadmap for their business. 

A technology roadmap is a planning tool for the technology team that goes hand-in-hand with the business roadmap. It covers a strategy and high-level plans related to the company’s development and how technology can enable that. A good technology roadmap will visually represent the company’s future business plans, where the tech stack is heading, and a plan to guide the team’s work and ensure the company’s goals will be achieved. The technology roadmap gives stakeholders and groups within a company a clear direction for their technology, the projects required to get there and why they are essential. Ultimately it helps leaders within an organisation make more strategic decisions by informing them how technology will support their goals. 

When do you need a technology roadmap?

For any business (small companies to multinational corporations), who is highly supported by technology, there’s no better time to start a technology roadmap than now. Every technology leader should think forward and translate their strategic plans into a technology roadmap before committing to any projects, upgrades or costs. 

Before you begin the “how” — the development and implementation work of any technology — a roadmap outlines the “why,” “what,” and “when” of any significant technology investments. Completing complicated tasks, such as dealing with tech debt, infrastructure, and growth-oriented innovation depends on these roadmaps. Developing the technology roadmap should be done first thing in the planning stage.

Why do you need a technology roadmap for your business?

Creating a plan of action to implement new technology solutions or manage current ones will unite your key stakeholders, including finance, customer service, operational leaders, and especially sales and marketing teams. A company can plan out the best strategy to implement improvement or change in the business, knowing that the technology roadmap will support these initiatives. A good technology roadmap may entail improving the company’s digital network, new software to support a particular process, automation or training.

These are some scenarios that may be fundamental to your technology roadmap:

  • Changes in the workforce over the next five years – requiring the capacity of your systems to grow
  • Growth or expansion to other territories that will have different technology needs
  • Introducing new products or services that will need new systems to support them
  • Tech debt refers to systems that have not received the level of care they should have and are causing pain within the business
  • A need to upgrade IT and cybersecurity at all operational levels because of breaches or potential risks
  • Preparing for a significant digital transformation for the whole company
  • Mitigating system failures by conducting comprehensive scans of the network to identify any weaknesses or risks
  • The company wants to remove unnecessary technology to reduce operational costs

With the IT roadmaps, you can clearly explain the key areas you need to prioritise to achieve corporate objectives. It also creates a timetable for putting strategy-aligned projects and solutions into action. Roadmaps can help IT leaders narrow the focus on what is most crucial to the business to offer faster, higher quality and more cost-effective solutions. 

The Benefit of a Technology Roadmap

The business should drive the technology

Before implementing any technology changes within your company, you must consider how the change will impact the business. Even better, your business strategies and roadmap should drive the technology changes. By doing this, you will clearly be able to see the impact technology has on the business and build trust with key stakeholders.

Big picture view

Having the technology roadmap laid out helps you to have a crystal clear view of the capabilities within the organisation and how they support the business objectives. Being visible allows stakeholders to focus on the business, knowing there will be the technology there to enable them. Aided by the visualisation of the roadmap, you can describe the strategic rationale behind your roadmap and the advantages you believe the change will bring to the business.

Keep your team on track 

With a comprehensive technology roadmap under your sleeve, you have something solid to fall back on when an obstacle comes up. From an unplanned budget cut in the middle of a project to facing a sudden emergency, you can always count on the roadmap to guide you back toward strategic thinking rather than being reactionary.

The IT roadmap allows you to take a step back and reevaluate your project’s big-picture plans and priorities whenever unforeseen issues happen. This evaluation will give you the perspective you need to decide how to react wisely when things don’t go according to plan.

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