For the previous exercise in our Ultimate Guide to Technology Roadmaps, we used lists to capture the various technologies that support your business. Your lists should be in whatever format works best for you when brainstorming (i.e. paper, whiteboard, Word document, or spreadsheet).
Once you’ve drafted your lists, it’s time to add two new sections:
- Cost should capture a rough estimate of whatever you typically spend in a quarter (3 months) on that technology item.
- Duration should also estimate how long you’ve used this specific solution plus how long into the future you expect to continue using it. (For your first Roadmap, only project forward about a year.)
Your Roadmap and IT Budget are closely linked.
You should check your actual IT spending against the tally of costs you estimated in the exercise above. If those numbers match, that is a terrific confirmation that your Roadmap includes your core technology investments for your business. If you are already using a formal IT budget to track and project costs, that's even better! For your future IT investments, your IT budget is key to confirming if you are on or off track with your IT spending as it all fits into your overall budget. If you are not tracking your actual IT spend yet, this listing practice will be a good starting point.
Like all budgeting exercises, you can critically review whether you want your IT costs to remain the same in the year ahead, or make increases or cuts for specific solutions based on the returned value of those investments.
At Net Friends, we are biased and would love for all businesses to realize they can fuel their future best through strategic technology investments. But maintaining an organization’s tech infrastructure may not always seem affordable with margin constraints. We understand that some businesses need to pull back on their IT costs due to other competing priorities.
This process will hopefully draw attention to areas of your IT spending that are high cost, but fail to deliver on the promised value. Make sure your Technology Roadmap’s initial considerations center around your overall expense priorities. Hopefully, you can zero in on at least one thing that is underperforming to phase out or replace. There’s usually always something!
Bravo for progress! Jump around the toolkit with quick links:
- Return to the Ultimate Guide to Technology Roadmaps
- Step 1: Define Your Business Goals
- Step 2: Start Brainstorming & Creating Lists
- Step 3: Capture IT Costs & Track Duration (You Are Here)
- Step 4: Schedule Routine Roadmap-Centric Discussions
- Step 5: Get Creative & Expand Your Roadmap