In any business large enough to have an IT department, there are likely conflicting opinions over what projects, processes and components should be prioritized — and which things can wait. Not surprisingly, most departments consider their own needs to be most important, followed by "everything else" the business needs to do. Refine your priorities and make sure your IT infrastructure and integrity remains at the top using some strategic planning, as detailed below. When the security and efficiency of your network is put first, everything else falls into line as well. If this critical element is neglected, the entire business suffers.
Get Key Players Involved in Strategy
You’ll have a far easier time prioritizing your IT tasks and correctly placing them within the scope and scheme of your business plans if you fully understand what is needed. Each department or unit will likely think its own needs are the top priority — to determine what truly is most important, you should consider the big picture and evaluate the needs of each group. When you know what everyone on the leadership team needs, you are far better equipped to plan things out in a strategic way and you’ll be able to get buy-in from all parties right from the start.
What Components or Project Drivers Matter Most?
Who gets priority? Is it the teams and processes that generate business (and therefore income)? Is it the groups that serve customers and fulfill orders — or those that mitigate your risks and ensure your operations are not interrupted? Are you more motivated by gaining competitive advantages over the competition, by saving money or by combatting risk? The answers to these questions will help you target your priorities correctly.
Consider Overall Risk
Consider what happens if one component fails or is impacted by an adverse event. If orders are slowed, you may not get packages out in time. But if you are locked out of your systems by a ransomware attack, your entire business is in peril. Critical functions, the integrity of your network and other security considerations should be among your top priorities.
Prioritize Based on Leadership Preferences
Once you have an idea of the different criteria that could impact your IT priorities, assign each component a value based on the information above. Is an item truly critical? It should be among the first things to get attention. Something that is needed, but not urgent? Assign a middle priority. Those items in the “would be nice” category can be added as lower priority items and then completed when you have time or when you are working on other, similar items.
Review your findings with the leadership and department heads who helped you identify needs in the first place. Letting these individuals and departments know “why” maintaining a secure network is your top priority allows everyone to be on the same page and ensures they know their needs are not being ignored. Review and revisit your priorities as needed to ensure these items don’t change over time or as your business grows.