As busy people, it can be hard to prioritize tasks that aren't immediate. Everyone has those things they have been meaning to do for months, but more emergent items keep taking precedence. All too often, we see that your IT strategic planning & maintenance is one of those items that live at the bottom of to‐ do lists.
Unfortunately, putting off your IT strategic planning or maintenance can set off a chain reaction that leaves you stuck in a log jam of emergent issues and tasks with no easy way to get your business flowing again. You need regular strategic IT planning sessions to review your system's health, the effectiveness of your processes, upcoming necessary maintenance, and to anticipate future IT needs. Without this regular check‐in, it is difficult to anticipate your IT needs and easy to overlook items that need to be addressed, allowing them to grow into difficult emergent issues.
We complete extensive onboarding with all our clients to assess your system's needs, schedule out any maintenance on the horizon, and set strategic goals. Our vCIO then meets with our clients every quarter to review and add to this information. We find that establishing this rhythm of looking up from our everyday tasks to consider your future needs and evaluate the big picture helps our clients avoid that log jam of emergent tasks and projects and keeps everything on track.
Establishing a Rhythm Of Looking Ahead
It can be difficult but putting down your to‐do list to look ahead and take note of items on the horizon can help you avoid amassing a to‐do list that is insurmountable. Committing to setting aside time every quarter to take stock of your IT can help you avoid the chaotic scramble that comes when you are forced to react to issues, rather than following a set plan to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place. Here are three steps you can take to help you get into a rhythm of looking ahead:
1. Get Everything On The Calendar
Create an IT planning calendar that includes all the hardware maintenance you have upcoming, any significant system updates you are aware of, and add at least quarterly planning meetings. This will help you see what big IT projects you have on the horizon so you can properly allocate budget and resources to complete them.
2. Create A Standard Meeting Agenda
When you establish your strategic IT planning meetings with your IT resource (employee and/or provider), make sure to set a basic meeting agenda and detail any specific KPIs you will want to review. We recommend beginning by reviewing if the items from the last strategic meeting have been addressed, what is upcoming on your calendar that you need to plan for, review KPIs that speak to the current health and efficiency of your systems, and spend time discussing new technologies that are being leveraged in your field, or solutions that could help improve your business operations.
3. Keep A Pulse On New And Emerging Technology In Your Field
For looking ahead to be effective, you have to know what to be looking for. In between strategic IT planning meetings, note any new technology developments in your field that might be worth discussing or looking into. Encourage your staff to keep a pulse on what your competitors are doing and how they are leveraging technology. If your competitors are upgrading their technology and can provide better customer and employee experiences, you need to stay competitive.
Leverage Your IT Partner To Stay On Track
If you are currently stuck in an IT project and task log jam, we can be that stick of dynamite that comes in and clears the way to get your business flowing smoothly again. Leveraging an IT resource to help with your strategic planning can help keep you accountable while also providing assistance and expertise in managing your future projects and recommend solutions that will help you reach your goals. Here at Attentus, we take charge and assume the responsibility of looking ahead and avoiding any potential log jams. At the beginning of our relationship, we complete a comprehensive onboarding to create your strategic IT calendar, set KPIs, and schedule your quarterly strategy session with your vCIO. Your vCIO will notify you of projects on the horizon during those meetings and provide advice and feedback on technology solutions that can improve your business even more. We have gone through this process with hundreds of clients and know exactly how to leverage technology to achieve success. If you need help getting out from under your to‐do list and are ready to look to the future, give us a call.