Charting a New Course: Your Technology Roadmap Needs to Go Beyond IT

Roadmap with beginning and end

The most effective technology roadmap is one in which the needs of all departments are represented.

Across all industries, IT is at the heart of driving innovation in business. Because of this, most IT leaders understand why it's important to create a technology roadmap for their organization, but they don't always factor in the needs and priorities of other departments when doing so.

In today's rapidly evolving business world, organizations need to take a more holistic approach to technology planning in order to remain competitive. Cooperating with other departments — especially HR — when making plans and decisions about your technology roadmap can benefit the entire business, including the people working to make it all happen.

Understanding the 'Why'

To create successful technology roadmaps, IT leaders need to understand where other departments are trying to go. Department leaders need to clearly communicate their intentions so IT can have the context they need to design technology plans.

I personally believe this "why principle" creates transparency. It also provides IT with an understanding of the end goals, which will allow leaders to deliver the kind of experience each department needs. Once IT understands the "why," they can use their technical expertise to figure out the "how" and deliver what the organization wants.

Working as a Team

This interdepartmental collaboration helps IT serve each department's specific objectives and key results. By working to understand the intent and context of each department's technology needs, IT leaders can then use their expertise to design a technology roadmap that encompasses the organization's universal needs while also serving the unique needs of each department. For example, a system for the HR team would require vastly different features than those required by a sales team or a software development team.

To achieve this level of collaboration, it is crucial for HR business partners to be accepted as members of the IT team, even though they don't report to an IT leader. If IT continues to operate in a silo, their technology roadmap cannot possibly address these different departmental needs in a satisfactory way, to say nothing of helping to move the business forward.

Collaborating Without Hierarchy

When pursuing the best technology solutions for innovating and growing a business, IT leaders must be careful not to dismiss suggestions just because they come from someone who is not primarily a technologist. While HR leaders and the heads of other departments have had to learn more about technology than their predecessors, they need not be technology experts to put forward an idea that could lead to an effective new solution. Likewise, IT professionals might have great ideas for HR.

The key is to view other department leaders as partners in your team's success and have a primary goal of identifying solutions that benefit the organization as a whole.

The Ideal Technology Roadmap

The most effective technology roadmap is one in which the needs of all departments are represented. IT leaders must work to build relationships with other department leaders so they can understand the department objectives, and they must strive for transparency and clear communication within these relationships.

Here at ADP, we've found that holding regular meetings between department heads and fostering ongoing communication about technology initiatives results in improved associate experiences across departments as well as a strong culture of collaboration and teamwork. Our cross-departmental collaboration has enabled us to create some of the most innovative technology solutions in the industry today, and we're continually working to build relationships that will lead us into the future.

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