The Need to Align your IT and Business Strategies
Managing change, aligning business priorities and driving business value are the key components of a successful IT strategy. From the tangible benefits including increased revenue, to the intangible like customer and employee satisfaction, when approached from a strategic viewpoint, IT has the potential to deliver incredible value.
When your IT strategy is aligned to your overall business strategy, investments in IT projects or equipment purchases will deliver maximum value to your business. After all, new systems and devices can be expensive, so any investment needs to provide value for money. Additionally, as competitive, legislative and industry forces evolve over time, so too must an organisation’s business strategy.
Take the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) which has caused disability support organisations, in particular, to undergo a few years of dramatic change. These new funding models have required providers to:
- Have better cashflow management
- Set client goals and track progress to show that investment in activities is producing results
- Ensure greater security of personal information to comply with new data breach legislation
- Implement practices for efficient staff management due to NDIS pricing pressures.
The path to business efficiency in the face of change
All these changes have resulted in the need for organisations to invest in better systems to become more efficient and competitive. Organisations now need to consider upgrading existing systems, or implementing additional ones. In the disability, community support and aged care sectors over the last few years there has particularly been a demand for:
- Client Management Systems (CMS) to manage client information and NDIS plans
- Workforce Management (WFM) systems to facilitate scheduling and control staff costs
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to manage fundraising and communications.
Many organisations need all these systems, and maybe others, but don’t know where to start – which is where the systems roadmap comes in.
A game plan for IT and business strategy alignment
A strategic systems roadmap is a high-level view of current key software systems and integrations, mapped through to an overview of the ideal future state. This includes a suggested prioritisation and timeline for renewing or implementing applications to enable the organisation as a whole to achieve business goals. However, in a changing environment the business strategy needs to be flexible to adapt, and consequently so does the IT strategy and roadmap. With advances in new technologies, existing products and solutions may become outdated in a short period of time. So, while a strategic roadmap identifies the key IT priorities for the business, it needs to be constantly reviewed to ensure that it continues to meet business needs using the most suitable technologies available.
Focusing on Client Management Systems, what was working for your business 5 years ago may no longer be providing the functionality or efficiencies required. NDIS is still a work in progress, and as changes are implemented the systems required to manage these changes need to be flexible. Additionally, some support provider organisations have changed the range of services offered, including developing new services, and no longer have the most appropriate solution for current business models. For these reasons, CMS solutions have evolved significantly, and now offer additional capabilities that were not available previously. Areas of recent development include:
- adoption of cloud-based technology to provide SaaS products, making it easier and faster for organisations to implement new functionality and increase capacity
- improved mobile capabilities, including the ability to integrate with route planning and mapping technologies – this is increasingly important as more services move to community-based delivery
- development of client portals to facilitate self-management of NDIS funding
- integration with state-based incident management systems
- integration with other systems to ensure one entry point and a single source of truth for all data
- more advanced scheduling and timesheet capabilities to provide increased visibility and management of staff costs (including overtime)
- greater reporting and business intelligence to provide detailed historical performance data and predictive analytics to enable better decision making.
Aligning organisation to strategic IT goals, today and tomorrow
Not only does the planned investment in future IT systems need to be constantly reviewed, the existing systems also need to be regularly evaluated to ensure they are still meeting requirements. Replacement of an entire system may not be necessary, there may be additional modules or compatible applications that can give your system a new lease of life. But if you find that spreadsheets and documents are increasingly being created to cover system gaps, it’s time for a review.
Getting started is easy
Ready to build the most aligned and ideal technology solutions for your business? We can help. Reach out to our team today to start the conversation.