Tips for leaders of small/medium organizations on technology roadmap definition & execution.
Businesses have been forced to change their operations dramatically in the last four years. For many organizations, the pandemic has catalyzed digital business initiatives as we adapt to the demands of employees, customers, and other stakeholders, who were forced into new digital options that they have now favored. B2B purchasers are happy to buy digitally, without a sales representative; B2C consumers are buying off social media platforms; employees are physically distributed and communicating asynchronously — and IT infrastructures must secure the organization despite this “anytime, anyway, anywhere” way in which we’re operating.
All these changes have affected every technology stack in small and midsize organizations and, in some cases, exposed weaknesses, while others revealed opportunities. The leaders of these organizations have many questions, including how to focus on the most relevant initiatives and how to sequence them for the maximum benefit to the organization. The other related questions include:
What areas of the technology stack need to be reviewed, engineered, and re-engineered?
Which focus areas will be most impactful?
What are the deployment risks associated with each initiative?
To answer the first question, let’s look at the top technology areas of relevance for small/midsize organizations. According to a survey by Garner of small and midsize organizations, IT leaders have identified the following areas of technology focus for their organization from 2022-2024.
Compute Infrastructure and Platform Services
Storage and Database
Most small and midsize organizations are remarkably similar in their technology usage. Still, some technology areas differ slightly for each organization regarding the enterprise value it provides and deployment risks associated with that technology stack. Enterprise value for each organization might vary based on their value drivers, including increasing cost efficiency, improving speed and agility, enabling resilience, and enhancing employee productivity. Similarly, each organization's technology deployment risk factors might vary based on cybersecurity, implementation cost, talent availability, vendor supply chain disruption, and geopolitical risks.
This raises the second question of which focus areas are the most relevant for your organization. The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including organization size and line of business, market the organization operates, direct and indirect competition, and most importantly, a business strategy built keeping the current and emerging
technologies in mind, understanding the organization’s existing technology maturity state, and aligning business initiatives with proven technologies to carve out a path for achieving short and long business goals. Each organization should be able to create a unique technology execution path for their organization based on industry-standard technology road mapping frameworks, e.g., TOGAF, SAFe, etc.
This brings the third question of which technology areas to focus on for delivery first. The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including technology and process maturity level within the organization and, most importantly, the people within the organization, including IT and non-IT staff.
In summary, incorporate in your business strategy priorities that deliver enterprise value by leading digital initiatives that carefully consider customer wants, business needs, and operational readiness with the organization’s leadership. Create an execution plan and identify critical staffing needs to ensure proper technology staffing resources by considering all possibilities for attracting, retaining, and developing talent. Enhance cost optimization efforts by organizing around a framework for orderly cost control that goes to value creation.