Category Archives: Policies

23 Key topics to work on a solid IT strategy

I have been challenged to express my vision for a good IT strategy.

I decided I should think a bit about IT (You can do this kind of plays with IT😊), and this article is what I came with. These are my 23 key points for a solid IT. These cover both high to a low-level perspective and will help you set your own goals and put your company on track. This is a work in progress so expect some improvements over the next days.

What to do in first place? Which are the fundamentals?

  • Know the business, people and how things play together
  • Meet the partners, their contracts, and scopes
  • Look for the company assets and tools, their level of maturity, integration and their relationship with partners and users
  • Identify issues that are affecting business progress/sustainability
  • Set goals for exceptional operational performance (BCP, policies, security, productivity, collaboration, ticketing system, etc.)
  • Align those 5 previous steps and you are ready to go!

Now, let us do concrete actions and start with…

  1. Get familiar with the infrastructure, business areas and processes
    • Talk with partners to know the partnerships conditions, get in contact with your colleagues to see how they work, deploy tools that enable you to get a clear view of what you need to manage.
    • Forget about creating manual/obsolete documents. Get tools that work for you and give you accurate insights in real time.
    • Know your dependencies will help you understand the risks, get them covered and know what you should improve.
    • Understand the business operations and you will be able to setup some goals.

  2. Have a bulletproof BCP (business continuity plan) in-place
    • You need to be prepared for the worst. Do not believe that it will not happen to you. You do not know when you will be hit. If you have a good continuity plan, you and your business will be just fine.
    • If you did a good job on the previous point (1) it will be a lot easier for you to think about evaluating risks and define the upcoming actions.
    • Get backed up. I mean servers and infrastructure are super important to protect but eventually you will not be there, prepare your colleagues and partners so they should know what to do!
    • Do simulations, continually evaluate, and update your plan!
    • Read about the latest IT incidents (yes, it does happen daily!) and it should give you some good ideas of what you should do and what you should be avoiding.

  3. Empower the users
    • Plan training for users, so they can automate their areas, improve their processes and be more productive.
    • Give security training so they will reduce vector of attacks and users will respond according with IT policies. There are plenty of great tools not only to provide focused training but also allow IT to monitor users progress.
    • Provide directions and knowledge for them to know how to use company tools.

  4. Get connected with people. IT is nothing without people
    • Yes, IT plays a major role for companies to grow and be succeed but do not forget that computers and businesses are nothing without people.
    • IT does not live in an island itself. So, include everyone, they will give you the insights and will help you take the most of IT systems and push it further. Believe me when I say it will pay off!
    • Part of a succeed IT strategy is to achieve flawless collaboration between people and company departments.

  5. Do changes with minimal business impact. Avoid leap of faith.
    • Identify your goals and metrics.
    • Try, get as much references as you can and deeply evaluate before you commit with a change, ask all the necessary questions.
    • Use software development strategy to deliver those needed baby steps so you will not affect as much the company operations, you will be delivering and allow people to stick together.

  6. Do you want to be one step ahead and prevent data loss? Audit!
    • Audit whenever possible.
    • Auditing plays an incredible role, so you can supervise if there is a suspicious of something wrong or in case you need to prove something. Use collected data to improve processes.
    • There are great tools that not only audit user’s actions but also can notify you when some conditions are met, this kind of tools are focused on Data Loss Prevention, and they play a huge role in securing the data of your company and customers.

  7. Onboarding and offboarding came to stay (Unfortunately!)
    • I am a people person and yes, I hate seeing people come and go, but due a vast of reasons companies are facing one of the biggest rates of onboarding/offboarding processes ever. This is a reality and will be here to stay, so get it on your agenda and better prepare for those processes.
    • Look for the entire process, align your business needs and get human resources, logistics and IT departments playing smooth as possible.

  8. Find (and remove!) stones on user’s shoes
    • Uncover user’s pains. Assess that, start to prioritize the business impact for those, categorize for topics or simple areas and start working from there to have a shoe with perfect fit.
    • Provide autonomy, or people need to always play/share software licenses because you did not buy enough licenses can be a huge deal on daily operations! Figure out what needs to change and find a commitment to solve those issues.

  9. Keep a backlog and use it along the way for building a good roadmap
    • IT can be a very long journey, full of twists without finish on sight, so keep focused for the next corners. You know it is a matter of time to get where you previously planned.
    • Creating a backlog allows IT to…
      • Keep on track without getting distracted (that is so easy in IT!);
      • Get a great sense of achievement;
      • Get a clear picture of what is missing and what you should be working next and set your upcoming goals.

  10. Digitalization and innovation are required, not optional
    • Businesses are tech companies (for a huge time now!), so let us transform those old fashion processes into a more fluid, technological and hassle-free process that will help reach the bar.
    • Digitalization of processes bring the business to a new level: reduce costs, improve security, and achieve higher levels of productivity
      • Great and simple example of digitalization processes:
        • Having digital signature for contracts (these can be internal HR contracts as contracts with your customers)
        • Bring all that physical paper from production sites to a PDF readable, for quick index and searchable system

  11. Integrate and simplify as possible
    • Try to find ways of integrating tools as much as you can, with the less complexity as possible. With that in mind you will avoid more complex issues of appearing without understanding why they happened.
    • Integration will provide better flow and consistency of information between systems so this is a key part of IT strategy that you should look in to.
    • Integration can represent some significant cost at the beginning, but chances are you will quickly recover the investments.


  12. Keep the costs under the radar
    • Know what you have, how you spent, what have been the progress. Align budget with business needs and set a plan for the incoming months.
    • Do not give a chance to lose control due complexity and find clear contract terms with your partners. Be careful with those volatile costs to avoid surprises.
    • Think about recent situations like pandemic, war and understand how it can affect company investments in the future, so your IT strategy should be highly flexible and able to quickly adapt.
    • Keep evaluating ROI.

  13. Big data, analytics, and AI prediction
    • Get reports, be able to drill down, let systems do their magicproviding metrics, take greater and more accurate decisions.
    • Be able to quickly adapt and respond, extendthat to other areas of the business.

  14. Security vs productivity, a titan’s fight
    • This is one of the hardest balances to achieve in modern days. You do not want to neglect productivity to achieve security. But you do not want to forget security to achieve productivity, because that could potentially bring other major issues to the entire company.
    • Work closely with partners so they can deliver solutions with the quality you need.
    • Take the time you need to ensure the best compromise.

  15. Put money on security and performance
    • You need to invest in security, that means you will need to put time and money on it.
    • Buy devices and applications with greater performance. You will get productivity and avoid frustration in the long run. You will also have a quicker return of investment because you need to change less often.

  16. Automate everything. Bots are here to stay!
    • There are a lot of things you can automate, not only the IT infrastructure part like server management, checks, notifications, or metrics but also it is possible to help automate a lot of user daily tasks!
    • Help colleagues find ways of doing it better, faster, and more reliable. Find gaps or difficulties and enable colleagues to know what to do.
    • Deploy bots, improve them, and let them work for you.

  17. Do not stop reading, keep raising the bar and work with the best
    • If you think your IT is good enough is because you are unable to see further. Do not accept it. Work with external entities to get certifications and auditing according with business needs so you will understand what is missing.
    • Look for newer certifications and courses so you will be able to get fresh ideas and bring critical mindset for IT.

  18. Offer a top-notch IT service
    • Enable self-service and allow users to be more independent, it will free up IT department from repetitive tasks and allow to focus on things that are more relevant and brings added value.
    • Create good documentation so it will facilitate your colleagues asking the same questions and be able to know what to do next without calling you.
    • Provide a good channel of communication but do not allow it to affect the need of good prioritization.
    • Have a smooth and clear service desk so you keep your users happy!

  19. Standardize and centralize
    • Avoid having a lot of different setups and hardware – it will be a lot harder to setup, costly to support and negotiate and does not allow to provide a transversal experience. If you find a unique partner to provide hardware you know what door you need to knock for quotes, warranty, and support.
    • You will know what to expect and when you should be replacing hardware and avoid surprises.
    • Setup profiles of users to a few (like regular user, power user, administrator) will help you get a simpler, easier to manage and a common infrastructure.

  20. Build strong relationships, achieve trust, and choose strategic partners
    • Keep long lasting and strong relationships is really that important, for that you need to carefully choose the greatest partners that will help you serve the company needs.
    • Strategic partners will try to sell you valuable solutions, work with them hard and the business will prosper.
    • Reward people that follow your IT strategy, they will allow IT to achieve other level.

  21. Go remote and allow hybrid experiences (obviously!)
    • You know the drill. There is no turning back, pandemics accelerated remote, so let us embrace it and work on a strategy!
    • For remote policies there are great companies with a high level of remote maturity, strategies, and policies. Do not worry if you company is not there yet. Just keep an open mind and look for colleagues’ feedback and you will be able to shape your own culture and experience.
    • Setup (strict enough) policies and ways to get in control but do not forget to allow users to rock’n’roll!
    • Allow users to connect and have a great experience both for full remote or in a hybrid environment.

  22. Go cloud first but keep an open eye on it!
    • Keep monitoring your cloud services as you did with your on-premises infrastructure.
    • The days you thought of having the server physically next to you do not necessarily mean that your data was safe. In fact, if you to want to compete a on-premises setup against cloud security, you probably will spend (A LOT!) more and not achieving the same level of security and dynamics of the current cloud solutions.
    • Having the data on cloud does not necessary means that you are unable to get auditing, monitoring, and security. There are great tools that allow to get a clear view of what is happening with cloud services!
    • There are still some situations hybrid scenarios can come handy but evaluate carefully to avoid wrong investments.

  23. Be critical enough to learn from past experiences
    • If you had a database server that was disconnected and stopped the application from working, probably you should be monitoring that database server continually.
    • If you had someone losing a laptop, you probably should have encryption enabled and be able to block computer remotely.
    • If you find onboarding/offboarding to be a painful experience, you should improve your processes.
    • Pickup those fails to be better prepared in the future.

Setting an IT strategy should be highly dynamic, fast-paced and needs to continuingly being evaluated with the stakeholders. It’s not going to be easy to achieve all the mentioned key topics within a short time, but since they are strongly related, chances are that you will achieve most of them right away if you understand the current status quo and figure out what´s missing.

Thinking of what a good IT strategy can be will help you to define your tangible goals and what you will be working on the upcoming months.

%d bloggers like this: