Aligning Your IT Roadmap Planning

Remove friction and optimize your IT roadmap.

The closer technology gets to the core of the operation, the less the IT roadmap becomes about technology. Instead, IT roadmap planning starts to focus on facilitating the business. In turn and over time, the business responds with more ability to fund innovation. This synergy can be described as roadmap alignment, and you can find it anywhere companies manage to leverage software to their best capabilities without overburdening themselves maintaining it.

An aligned roadmap allows companies to make the best moves forward with technology. And because their changes come from a solid plan, the business gets to dictate exactly what those steps look like – anything from achieving aggressive digital transformation plans to expanding into new physical markets to opening entirely new lines of service. It could also simply mean maintaining the technical flexibility to see what develops over the next three to five years, which is an increasingly common trend in the era of cloud repatriation and mainframe modernization. Used properly, a roadmap can enable all these outcomes and more.

You don’t need to be early in the process to get there. In enterprises, where high-level stakeholders are responsible for and beholden to multiple roadmaps at a time, the notion is less about starting over and more about removing friction points that get in the way of building organizational knowledge.

IT roadmap planning: Watch for Blockers

Every company’s IT roadmap is different. Two organizations serving the same customers with the same services might go about their IT roadmap planning with completely different motivations in mind. Even two businesses using the same vendor’s B2B offerings can see a lot of variation in the precise software solutions they utilize and the ways they go about implementing them.

That might lead you to think every company’s roadmap challenges are different as well, and they are — but only up to a point. The same blockers tend to occur anywhere you see tech planning friction hampering business growth, including the following scenarios:

  • Diminishing support for important technology. The further you get from a given B2B software’s implementation, the more difficult it is to receive adequate support from the OEM. For example, a company might plan to spend five- or six-digit figures years into the future just to get OEM support that checks fewer and fewer boxes as time goes on.
  • EOS dates and repercussions. Knowing a software product’s End of Support (EOS) date is pending might cause the business to think it will lose its ability to use, secure, and maintain the software it has paid for. A company could start considering its technology investments as technical debt before it needs to. But neither of these need to be the case.
  • Forced migrations and upgrades. Both points above routinely lead to companies to think updating or upgrading software is an operational necessity. But much of the time, the software in question can be used far past the date the vendor would say an upgrade is necessary.

Alignment becomes increasingly difficult to achieve when these factors appear in a national or global IT environment. Companies make decisions based on bad data, limited insight, and fear of avoidable worst-case scenarios. As a result, certain software turns from a business facilitator to a long-term burden.

An aligned roadmap allows companies to make the best moves forward with technology.

How do companies grow understanding?

It doesn’t take long for enterprise software to establish complex dependencies. Years of software, people, processes, and other changes building up around the core often result in the business/financial sides of an implementation becoming abstract, highly specialized processes. Making even allegedly simple changes becomes unduly costly in terms of money or unique skillsets required.

Contextual understanding is a crucial skill to master as an organization.

Companies spend a lot of cash and effort to build this kind of internal cross-functional knowledge. A piece says a business attempting to understand the intersection of its IT and operational lives might enhance data analytics, impart management with new skills, or send teams to trust- and camaraderie-building exercises, just to be able to see the landscape clearly.

Many organizations have also cultivated new and existing oversight skills to help overcome this understanding gap. Individually, an IT asset manager, a digital procurement manager, and a business app manager might do different things, but they all exist to help the business understand the intersection of its IT and financial operations.

IT roadmap planning meets invested software support

Third-party software maintenance (TPSM) providers can help organizations bring their roadmaps into alignment with the business’s long-term tech strategy by assisting them to continue to use their software and mainframes past OEM-prescribed EOS dates. Businesses can spend hundreds of thousands to secure a minimal level of support for software they’d like to keep active beyond the standard lifecycle. By comparison, being able to raise a ticket and receive outcome-focused, white-glove service that is primarily concerned with getting your technology working the way you want is a considerable asset to have throughout the IT roadmap planning process.

A TPSM provider can also help companies overcome the data and integration friction that can result as individual departments align their activity to business goals. Instead of assuming certain costs or near-term actions like cloud migration, for instance, are a given, companies can lean on the third-party resource to discover solutions and outcomes the OEM might not recommend or even bring up as an option.

In many cases, defensive actions initiated by the customer can be a source of IT roadmap planning friction. A common example of this is a company paying to overprovision software for fear of an IBM software license audit. Issues like these tend to come with contextual wrinkles that provide few optimal outcomes. Access to a TPSM provider’s collective knowledge can help companies overcome these issues and set them up for future success against audits and other strategic pressures OEMs put in the way of roadmap alignment.

By removing IT friction and allowing the business to make the most of the technology it already invested in, a TPSM provider can help larger enterprises align tech processes with business needs for years to come. Compared to restrictive OEM policies that move businesses forward at the wrong cadence, it’s an option worth exploring.

Get the guide and align your roadmap

Our guide “Beyond Vendor-Lock Ins: Taking Ownership of Your IT Roadmap for Long-Term Success” covers several alignment blockers companies face as they go about aligning their IT roadmap planning and offers ways to overcome restrictive software megavendor policies that keep businesses moving the wrong direction.

When you are ready to bring your own IT roadmap planning into alignment, reach out for a free 30-minute consultation that can put you on the right path.

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