How to prepare your IT team for the future

This is a great time of year to think about the longer term. If you continue to focus only on the details of day-to-day IT, you'll miss the opportunity (like a finger pointing to the moon) to be a part of the big things in the future.

moon
Credit: krheesy via Flickr

"It's like a finger pointing away to the moon. Don't concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory."

― Bruce Lee, Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee's Wisdom for Daily Living

It's a great time to get out of the day-to-day for a little while to think about what you and your team are going to accomplish next year. If your budget year starts Jan. 1, it is not too late to lay out your priorities for next year and to tie them to your budget (or at least to your budget request).

Ask yourself some questions.

Questions about the business itself:  Where is the business going to be a year from now? How about two or three years from now? How much bigger (or smaller) is it going to be? Is the growth going to come from more customers, from more sales at existing customers, from new products, from an acquisition, or how? Are you going to open or close offices? What else is going to change?

Questions about how technology is used in the business:  What are you going to need to be able to do in IT that you cannot do now? Are there capabilities you can provide to the rest of the company to accelerate the business on its path into the future? Are you going to need to be able to do the same things you do, but faster, or are there entirely new capabilities you are going to need to learn. Are there things you do now that you will not need to do any longer? How are you going to know you are doing a good job?

Do you have enough clarity to put a level or effort/price tag to what you need to do?

Questions about cost:  What is it going to cost to do what you have to do? Are you going to be able to lower your costs elsewhere either through efficiencies or by stopping certain tasks? If you don't have enough money to do everything, who can help you determine your priorities or how can you team with someone to get more funds?

This is a great time of year to think about the longer term. If you continue to focus only on the details of day-to-day IT, you'll miss the opportunity to be a part of the big things in the future.

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