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Benefits of a Technology Strategic Plan



Technology leaders put a lot of effort and energy into time management. And while managing your time well is always a worthwhile pursuit, our time will always be limited. We cannot say yes to every project, so everything we say yes to has an opportunity cost.


A strategic technology plan helps you make those hard choices and say no to some things in order to say yes to more important priorities.


Identifying the important projects

So how do you know which projects are essential and which can be put on the back burner? Instead of going with a gut feeling, we work with clients to develop a methodology.


During the IT Strategic Planning process, we:

  • Evaluate the firm’s current systems and infrastructure

  • Assess the technology team’s processes and skills

  • Make a list of “blue sky projects” and compare them to business priorities

  • Eliminate projects that don’t clearly contribute to the firm’s strategic plan

  • Prioritize the remaining projects

  • Evaluate necessary resources

  • Articulate the firm’s vision

The Project Hopper

After making a list of “blue sky projects” (i.e., every project the firm would like to take on if time and money were unlimited), we use The Project Hopper to help firm leaders visualize which projects should take precedence based on data rather than gut feelings or emotions.


The Project Hopper is a spreadsheet in which we rank each project on a scale of one to five based on the degree to which the project meets the following requirements:

  • Supports the firm’s vision and strategy

  • Improves the employee experience

  • Improves the client experience

  • Financial impact

  • Urgency

  • Impact of change

  • IT impact (resources)

After we rate each project in those seven areas, the spreadsheet gives each project a numerical score. The projects with the highest scores are those that the firm should prioritize.

Creating your strategic roadmap

After we do the Project Hopper exercise, we add specific action items for identified projects to an IT Roadmap and decide whether each task should take place in the current year, next year, or beyond.


That timeline is based on the project’s score. But it also takes into account the amount of effort involved. Because if the projects with the highest scores based on the Project Hopper also take a significant amount of time and effort, it’s not reasonable to expect the IT team to tackle all of them simultaneously.


In the roadmap, we also assign accountable people to each task and track progress toward completion. This becomes a living document the firm can use to know where they are at any time and what to focus on going forward.


A strategic technology plan is essential for any firm looking to prioritize technology projects based on data rather than emotion. By making a list of your projects and ranking them based on importance, feasibility, and time and effort involved, you can identify the projects that will provide the most value to your organization.

 

Could your firm benefit from getting firm management and IT leaders in alignment?


The Boomer Technology Circles are a peer group of firm and technology leaders in the accounting profession who benefit from aligning IT and firm strategy and building valuable long-term relationships with solution providers and peers. Apply now to start building confidence in your firm’s technology decisions.

 

Marc Staut, Shareholder and Chief Innovation & Information Officer at Boomer Consulting, Inc., helps meet the growing needs of CPA firms by leveraging his experience to provide strategic technology assessments, planning, visioning and coaching. He feels that “technology should be an enabler – something that’s approachable, aligned with and integral to the success of each firm.” Marc is a regular speaker, author and panelist on technology in the accounting profession, cloud computing, mobile technology, leadership and vision. 

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