This is the second of a two-part series on Technology Roadmaps. Previously we explained “The Concepts behind a Technology Roadmap,” and here we explain how to develop one.
Technology roadmaps begin with a “handshake” between IT and the business. Knowing future business plans allows IT to determine the focus area(s). As businesses evolve and new technologies emerge, IT is challenged with constant change. Developing roadmaps helps IT to be prepared for the change and manage the associated risks.
How Do You Create a Technology Roadmap?
- Collect Data. Take the time to gather preliminary information about products, people and processes. Understand current implementations and directions.
- Hold Interviews. Identify key stakeholders and gain different perspectives. Meet individually or in groups, and be sure to cover topics like resources, costs, risk, compliance, growth, skills, support and management.
- Create technology baselines. Document the essentials and highlight the constraints. Stay sufficiently high-level, but acknowledge the details around recent changes.
- Analyze focus areas. Use a structured method for the analysis. One of the most widely used framework in business analysis is the SWOT (Strength-Weakness-Opportunities-Threats) model. Since opportunities and threats relate to the industry at large, it is important to have subject matter experts (SMEs) provide input at this stage.
- Construct technology roadmaps. This is a collaborative exercise incorporating the inclusion of emerging technologies over several years. This does not always have to be a chart or a graph. It can be as simple as an enumeration of important technology adoptions in stages. For best results, use a backward sweep starting from end objectives, and then a forward sweep showing how adopting a technology at each stage can lead to the end objective. Continue this same pattern until you get it just right.
- Present recommendations. Knowing the roadmaps enables you to enumerate the IT projects that need attention in the coming months. There should also be clarity on the investment needed in terms of budget, time and resources.
- Host a workshop. Facilitate a workshop where key stakeholders meet again to review the results. This is a necessary touch point to discuss the project-based initiatives and make any final adjustments to the course.
How effective are Technology Roadmaps?
It all depends on the people and the effort put into the exercise. As indicated in the first part of this two-part series, technology roadmaps bring consensus and improved planning, budgeting & coordination. It is critical that organizations treat this as a project in itself, and provide the necessary funds and resources.
While an internal committee may be established to execute such a project, the benefits of technology roadmaps multiply exponentially when an external partner, like IDS, is involved. IDS guarantees a proven process with expert methodology, and key insight on the final deliverable. A partner like IDS can pre-empt much of the struggle by bringing SMEs to the table and a fresh external perspective.
And remember: As businesses and technologies evolve, so will the roadmaps. So, review them often.
Learn more by reading the first part of this two-part series, “The Concepts Behind a Technology Roadmap.”