How to Prioritize IT Initiatives

Posted by MHO Networks on Sep 27, 2023 10:50:04 AM

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In an era of rapid technological change, IT leaders find themselves at the crossroads of innovation, expectation, and execution. The pressure is immense, and the cost of making the wrong decision can have long-lasting effects on an organization. How should IT leaders prioritize projects? Moreover, in an ever-evolving tech landscape, what future technologies should they consider? Let’s delve into these pivotal questions.

Prioritizing Initiatives: Non-negotiables

How do IT Leaders need to prioritize? Begin with the absolute must-haves that are not negotiable for successful businesses. 

Align IT Initiatives with Business Goals

Before anything else, ensure that the IT initiatives directly support the core business objectives. IT isn’t just a support function but a driver of business. By aligning IT projects with business goals, leaders can direct resources towards endeavors with the highest return on investment. 

  • Build close relationships with company leaders. 
  • Work to build trust.
  • Ask the right questions.
  • Measure alignment with solid metrics.

Assess the Impact on Customers

At the heart of every business are its customers. IT projects that enhance the customer experience, streamline service delivery, or offer new channels for engagement should be at the forefront. It can also tell you that you should change your focus. For example, industry leaders may tout the benefits of a specific customer-facing IT initiative. Still, after implementing it, you find it doesn’t fit your industry or customer base. Eliminate any negative impact on your customers despite promising statistics from other companies. 

Evaluate Financial Feasibility 

While an initiative might sound groundbreaking, it’s essential to consider its financial implications. IT leaders must weigh the expected ROI against the investment required. IT leaders must also sell initiatives to stakeholders and be able to show why they should invest in them. Prevent quick initiative rejections by calculating the ROI for your project beforehand to evaluate its profitability and feasibility. Then, your ROI study can become a pivotal aspect of your initiative’s presentation to help guarantee its acceptance and implementation. With a finite amount of resources available, it pays to evaluate the financial feasibility of any IT initiative beforehand. 

Address Urgent Security Concerns 

In today's digital age, security is paramount. Your company should prioritize Initiatives that address vulnerabilities, upgrade legacy systems, or improve data protection. Here are some sobering statistics:

  • According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the cost of cybercrime will hit $8 trillion in 2023 and grow to $10.5 trillion by 2025. 
  • Synopsys researchers found at least one open-source vulnerability in 84% of code bases.
  • Nearly half of executives expect cyber-attacks targeting accounting and other IT systems. 
  • According to the firm Lookout, the highest rate of mobile phishing in history was in 2022, with half of the mobile phone owners worldwide exposed to a phishing attack every quarter.
  • According to a Deloitte Center for Controllership poll, during the past 12 months, 34.5% of polled executives reported that cyber adversaries targeted their organizations' accounting and financial data. Within that group, 22% experienced at least one such cyber event, and 12.5% experienced more than one. 
  • Nearly half (48.8%) of C-suite and other executives expect the number and size of cyber events targeting their organizations' accounting and financial data to increase in the year ahead. 
  • And yet, just 20.3% of those polled say their organizations' accounting and finance teams work closely and consistently with their peers in cybersecurity.

Stakeholder Buy-in 

A project is more likely to succeed if all stakeholders, from top management to frontline staff, are on board. Ensure that you communicate the benefits clearly and get their support. Here’s how:

  • Provide Information Early
  • Show Stakeholders What’s In It for Them 
  • Be Transparent About Pros and Cons 
  • Maintain Two-Way Communication 

Future Technology Considerations

Incorporating an eye for the future ensures that investments made today don't become obsolete tomorrow. Here are some technological trends IT leaders should keep on their radar:

  1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: AI and ML revolutionize business processes, customer experiences, and decision-making. They can offer predictive insights, automate mundane tasks, and drive innovation.
  2. Quantum Computing: While still nascent, quantum computing promises to revolutionize fields like cryptography, optimization, and drug discovery. Staying informed about its progress could offer a competitive edge.
  3. 5G and Advanced Connectivity: With the rollout of 5G networks, businesses will experience faster data transfer rates, enabling more seamless cloud operations, real-time data analytics, and advanced IoT capabilities.
  4. Blockchain: Beyond cryptocurrency, blockchain offers industries transparency, security, and decentralized control, especially in supply chain management, finance, and contract management.
  5. Extended Reality (XR): This includes Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR). As these technologies mature, they will find applications in training, design, marketing, and customer experiences.

Incorporating Future Tech into Prioritization

Incorporate knowledge of future technologies into your IT team’s wheelhouse. Knowledge is power. How can you do this? 

  • Continuous Learning: Encourage a culture of learning within the IT team. Attend seminars, workshops, and webinars that discuss emerging technologies.
  • Pilot Programs: Before making a full-scale investment, run pilot programs. This allows for real-world testing, risk assessment, and stakeholder feedback.
  • Collaborate with Innovators: Form partnerships with startups, tech incubators, or universities working on cutting-edge technologies. Such collaborations can offer fresh perspectives and early adoption advantages.
  • Scalability in Design: When working on new projects, always consider scalability. It ensures that as new technologies emerge, integration becomes smoother.
  • Constant Feedback: Maintain regular feedback channels with various departments to understand their future needs and challenges. It will give IT leaders a clearer picture of where to direct their focus.

The role of IT leaders is more strategic than ever before. It’s about keeping the lights on and illuminating the path forward. By meticulously prioritizing initiatives and keeping a finger on the pulse of emerging technologies, IT leaders can guide their organizations to new horizons of success and innovation.

Partnering with MHO is the first step toward empowering your business with robust connectivity. Contact us at 877-WANT-MHO or check for service availability in your area here

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Topics: IT Manager, IT Leader, Other

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