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How to create a technology roadmap for your organization

A step-wise guide

If you want to introduce new technologies to your organization to achieve more efficient operations but fear the complexities and the costs associated with it, you’re not alone! In this post, we will discuss how to create a technology roadmap for your business.

But despite these challenges, business owners who invest in digital technologies have reported:

  • Better productivity
  • Lower costs
  • Better-quality products

As BDC’s recent Industry 4.0 study highlights, companies that invested in technologies can react more rapidly to market changes. As a result, these companies reported a better growth rate.

If your organization’s goal for 2022 is to invest in digital technologies, you need to have a firm plan in the first place. A technology roadmap does that job for you.

In the simplest terms, the technology roadmap is defined as a high-level visual representation of your technology vision and plan for the organization.

Source: 2021-2023 Emerging Technology Roadmap for Large Enterprises – Gartner

How to build a technology roadmap

If your business is small, your technology roadmap is likely to be less complex than one made for a larger business. But the steps to creating your roadmap will be the same.

1. Identify the goals

The first step for building your technology roadmap should be identifying your goals such that they are aligned with the organization’s vision and priorities.

For example, do you wish to reduce the cost of the systems by a certain percentage?

Then you need to focus on increasing the performance capabilities of your machinery or software so that you can achieve more with minimal infrastructure.

Or you might want to make your system more stable by quickly fixing a backlog of technical problems, which can help you reduce the overall IT cost.

Tip – Note down your goals or use an OKR software such as Profit.co to make the goals transparent and visible to all the team members.

2. Brainstorm

Man facing a wall with numerous sticky notes
Photo: Per Lööv on Unsplash

Once you have your goals identified, it is time to collaborate and brainstorm ideas on how you will implement your goals. Involve all the key people in the discussion.

Remember, collaboration is the key here, so seek input from everyone relevant. Encourage the team to be guided by the overall organizational goal instead of prioritizing individual/ departmental issues.

Tip – Collaborate and brainstorm, make it a team activity.

3. Evaluate where you are now – where you want to reach?

While creating your technology roadmap, evaluating your current systems and mapping them to where you want to reach down the line is essential.

Suppose your goal is to double your customer base by the end of the year. Then, you can explore migrating to the Cloud instead of renewing your contract for racked servers in the local facility.

Building a technology roadmap is the perfect opportunity to question your past decisions and evaluate them against your priorities now.

Tip – Evaluate your current status before creating a technology roadmap.

4. Determine the priorities

To create an effective technology roadmap, you need to assess your options and prioritize. Begin with reviewing your business process and note down the inefficiencies.

Do you have any technology gaps that you need to improve? Identify the areas that you need to strengthen to improve your process.

Create a checklist of things you need to address to improve your operational capabilities. Work on the underlying data required to achieve better visibility.

You can start building a Gantt chart at this stage, which will allow you to link items to their dependencies. Once you know your dependencies, you can lay out your timeline.

Tip – Prioritize.

Technology roadmap template roller
Source: TemplateRoller

5. Accept change

Analyze your landscape critically and be open to change. Change can sometimes be difficult to accept because the team is comfortable with the process or the tools they have been using. However, they might not be relevant anymore.

For example, you created a custom app because there wasn’t a product that satisfied your needs. But now there is! And you don’t need your custom app anymore.

It is always a good idea to get your system reviewed and audited by an external auditor.

Tip – Embrace change.

6. Always work with a timeline and a budget

To improve your chances of success, you need to have realistic timelines based on:

  • Your priorities
  • Available resources (staff, money etc.)
  • Duration of each project

While determining the timeline, consider the constraints that can slow the progress — for example, server downtime or a busy season.

Alongside, it is equally important to budget your expenses while determining the roadmap, especially if you’re planning to implement expensive technology initiatives. Make sure to do your research and have a realistic cost estimate for each point on your technology roadmap.

Tip – Establish a timeline and budget.

7. Delegate and track

Create tasks and assign accountability managers who can keep a tab on the progress and success of each project. These managers will work with their teams to drive the project forward and will be the point of contact to share the project status.

Tip – Delegating tasks is the key.

8. Review progress from time to time

As mentioned in McKinsey, “the moment a technology roadmap is created, it is already outdated.” That’s because in any organization, the conditions, technologies and trends are constantly evolving. So, you must have a process in place to review and update your technology roadmap from time to time.

Tip – Review, review, review.

9. Appoint a steering committee

Do not work alone to implement your technology roadmap. Instead, bring in a steering committee.

This will help you to free yourself from the day-to-day activities of monitoring the project’s progress. It will also allow you to get different views on the projects from what you have perceived.

Tip – Have a steering committee.

Two people talking at a desk
Photo: Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Benefits of having a technology roadmap

Although assessment and planning are worthy exercises in themselves, creating a technology map can benefit businesses in other ways. An effective technology roadmap:

  • Will help you keep up with your customers’ growing demands and stay on top of the industry trends.
  • Enhances transparency and fosters clear communication between teams in terms of resources and capabilities guided by the long-term goals and vision of the organization.
  • A technology roadmap can help you persuasively summarize your strategic thinking and overall organizational goal, thereby persuading team members to get on board.

Tools to build a technology roadmap 

There are plenty of tools and software that you can use to build your technology roadmap.

You need to design a visual roadmap that your team members can share, edit and monitor over time.

The tools you choose will largely depend on your business type and expectations. Some of the popular tools used by organizations include:

  • Asana
  • Confluence
  • Monday
  • Roadmunk
  • ProductPlan
  • Miro
  • Trello
  • Wrike 

Whatever tool you choose, make sure your plan is easy to comprehend and accessible to everyone concerned.

In closing

Change your organization’s technology can be a challenging task, as it can cause a ripple effect throughout the organization.

It can also help you grow your business by staying ahead of customer needs.

Creating a technology roadmap can help you make complex IT improvements step-by-step over a period of time. It can also give all the people affected by the changes a visual clue as to the destination, as well as the steps required to get there.

The information contained in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an endorsement or advice from GoDaddy on any subject matter. 

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