IT has moved to become a top business priority for most organisations over recent years, affecting areas such as productivity, collaboration and overall business operations. It's now essential that considerations are given to future-proofing the IT strategy of a company, and ensuring every facet is fully explored and understood.
An outline of the current state of IT, what needs to be accomplished over the next few years and the key areas of focus will be detailed below. A comprehensive IT strategy should become the next major priority for organisations.
The current state of IT
IT future-proofing can often appear difficult for businesses, especially given the constantly changing nature of the underlying technologies. As such, it's often not hard for a culture of indifference to bred within organisations, and IT subsequently pushed to the background of developments.
It's going to be important to create forward-thinking strategies as IT becomes increasingly important for productivity, collaboration and cutting down expenditure.
Businesses should assess the strategies of government agencies, such as the NSW State Records Initiative. This department is future-proofing IT by creating digital record keeping systems and promoting the digitisation of state records.
An outline of what needs to be done
Strategies can seem difficult to put in place, but by breaking down the key areas of focus businesses can ensure every area has been taken into account. Attention needs to be placed on information, security and mobile technologies. Of course, companies may need to adapt as new technologies or trends begin to have an impact on organisations.
Here are three key areas of IT that businesses need to pay attention to in the near future.
An information approach
Moving to a new information management system can often be one of the more extensive changes a business makes to operations, but it's a vital part of ensuring security and efficiency over the long-term. An information approach entails managing discrete pieces of content rather than documents themselves.
This approach is especially useful for cutting back on printing and unnecessary data duplication. Basically, data is created in one location, and subsequently used wherever needed. Instead of being required to print documents multiple times, a digital alternative is accessible from computer systems throughout the organisation.
Focusing on security
Perhaps one of the most overlooked areas of an IT strategy, security needs to become a primary area of focus, especially due to the ever-expanding number of threats.
Outside attackers are only becoming more proficient at breaching secure business networks, and inaction on the part of the company can result in costly data breaches. These can often lead to financial damage and a stained reputation among customers.
IT security training is the best option here, as it ensures staff at all levels of the organisation understand the necessity of security.
Mobile devices represent perhaps the biggest technological leap forward for businesses, given the accessibility for both SMEs and large enterprises.
Defining the role of mobile is key, as a clear goal is able to ensure the organisation understands why the devices are used, and what benefits they offer.
The Cisco Visual Networking Index, released earlier this year, found global mobile data traffic to have grown 81 per cent in 2013, with the number of connections continuing to grow throughout the year. As such, it's crucial that appropriate considerations are given to mobile devices, and their roles within the business.
Training is one of the best ways for organisations to prepare for change, and should be at the forefront of business planning. With a focus on training in areas such as IT project management and IT security, staff can understand why certain technologies are useful for the enterprise, and the best methods of implementation.
As training can be utilised at all levels of the organisation, even business executives can be taught the necessity of various technologies, and the value of a future-proof IT strategy.