Effective prioritization shapes your destiny – separating the winners from the losers.
Grasping the ropes of IT and cybersecurity is no small task, given the constant influx of developments, trends, and updates that keep you on your toes. It’s not just about keeping up with these; it’s about tending to your business’s unique requirements and workforce, while contending with a range of persistent security concerns. Moreover, investing in and upkeeping IT infrastructure demands substantial financial resources that might tip the balance with other ongoing projects. It’s this dance between functionality, cost-effectiveness, and resource optimization that has brought even the most robust businesses to their knees.
As you’re reassessing your security controls for the coming year and determining the technology initiatives that warrant the most focus, don’t forget these key considerations.
Assess Business Goals and Objectives
Architecting your company’s technology projects needs to follow a blueprint-like process, where each project serves as a crucial milestone in your pathway toward success. In terms of goals, ask yourself: What are your overarching aspirations for your IT department? And how do they integrate with the broader business strategy?
Then, dig deeper and think about your specific IT objectives: Do you want to protect customer data? Keep attackers out of specific systems? Educate your team about cybersecurity hygiene? Do you want to make sure your business continuity is safe, even if an attack compromises some systems? It’s tempting to try and tackle everything at once, but the most impactful goals are those you can define, measure, and accomplish within a set timeframe. Often, you can divide them into smaller, manageable tasks honing in on performance. Pinpoint your most crucial IT concerns and zero in on tasks that relate to those priorities.
Rank Projects Based on Impact and ROI
Ranking technology projects based on ROI goes beyond the technical aspects, as you need to address your company’s high-level financial health, customer satisfaction levels, and operational efficiency, all while maintaining a keen eye on potential risks and their impacts on your workforce’s performance and productivity.
This includes identifying likely cyber threat scenarios your organization might face as well as assessing their implications for your operations and financial stability. Once these scenarios, costs, and budgets are outlined, the focus shifts to prioritizing projects that offer the most protection relative to the resources invested. You shouldn’t set up IT controls only because you “have to” – for compliance reasons or because you’ve been sold on a new tool. It’s about thoroughly investigating the long-term financial outcomes of every endeavor and identifying the value it brings to your mission-critical systems and networks.
Run A Cyber Risk Assessment
While determining your organization’s primary business objectives and the necessary IT resources required to achieve them, integrating a cyber assessment yields valuable insights.
By conducting such an assessment, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of your existing cybersecurity landscape, while identifying the most pressing vulnerabilities, threats, and risks within your systems and networks. Most importantly, you can ensure that any future tech projects align with your cybersecurity objectives, which can further enhance the precision and efficacy of resource allocation, budgeting, and strategic planning for the year ahead.
A cyber risk assessment serves as a navigational tool, offering the clarity needed to make well-informed decisions, safeguarding your organization’s digital infrastructure, and charting a secure path for upcoming technological initiatives.
Following a thorough examination of project feasibility, potential risks, and a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis, the next step is to gather all key stakeholders and leverage a criteria-based system to strategically prioritize your tech projects.
These criteria should be catered to your organization, reflecting your specific priorities and requirements, and representing factors that can be easily and objectively measured. Here are some common examples of criteria used, in addition to ROI impacts:
- Strategic Value
- Resource Availability
- Stakeholder & Customer Impact
- Alignment with Industry Trends
No matter which system you go with, make sure to stay consistent with the criteria. This ensures that the organization’s priorities take precedence, rather than being influenced by individual departmental preferences or unsupported opinions on how projects should be approached.
Establish a Clear Timeline and Agile Approach
After you’ve determined which technology projects will take the spotlight in 2024 and ranked them using a consistent set of criteria, you’ve accomplished the bulk of the work.
The next step is to create a roadmap for each project. This roadmap should detail the schedule, dependencies, and milestones, offering a clear visualization of the implementation plans and potential conflicts between projects. Simultaneously, being flexible in establishing timelines will better prepare you for unexpected changes, technological advancements, or alterations in project requirements.
Taking responsibility is key at this stage: individual roles and expertise should be at the forefront, with everyone taking ownership of their tasks. This leads to greater efficiency and fewer chances of misunderstandings or delays. In this area where specialized skills and interdependencies are common, accountability is pivotal in streamlining workflow and maintaining project momentum.
Even after kickstarting those selected IT projects, it’s important to keep a watchful eye and consistently reassess them. Business requirements can shift, and new insights might surface, prompting the need to update project lists and priorities. This might involve going through the process once more if required, ensuring you stay responsive to evolving needs and opportunities.
Get A Free Consultation with Yardstick
At Yardstick Technologies, we’re here to collaborate with you on all your technology projects. With over 15 years of experience successfully delivering technology projects while meeting budget and requirements, we’re well-equipped to support you in prioritizing and crafting an actionable plan. Our goal is to seamlessly integrate digital transformation into your operations and embed technology strategically into your value chain in 2024.
Contact us today to get started with a free consultation – where we can discuss the technology needs of your organization and how to reach your future goals.