9 Steps to Create a Successful Business Technology Roadmap
In this article, we'll discuss what a technology roadmap is, what are its benefits, and the steps for creating a successful technology roadmap.
Table of Contents
A technology roadmap is a plan for the growth of technology over the next few years. It’s a document that outlines what technology initiatives and projects will be undertaken, which ones have been completed, and how they contribute to your company’s goals. A technology roadmap can help you identify potential risks before they become problems, and it can also help you make smarter decisions about where to invest time and resources to maximize performance.
In this article, we’ll discuss what a technology roadmap is, when does a business needs one (hint: always), why should you create one (hint: because it helps!), how do you develop one (hint: read on!). So let’s begin!
A technology roadmap should include:
- Your company’s vision for the future of technology. (i.e., why are we doing this?)
- Objectives so you know when it’s done – The key milestones or steps needed to achieve those objectives. You need these because otherwise, people won’t know if/when tasks are complete! This helps with accountability as well.
- Technology vision for the future (i.e., what technology do we want to be using in five years?)
- A timeline that lists all of your technology initiatives and projects, with a link to each one.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of creating a technology roadmap framework.
What are the benefits of creating a technology roadmap?
- The creation of a roadmap allows the planning of all areas and factors involved in developing a product line.
- Roadmaps include characteristics such as time, which allows the leader to make sure that at the right time, they will have the technology and capacity necessary to fulfill their plans.
- Roadmaps are the link between development strategy, and shareholder market data, and management decisions.
- Using roadmaps helps to identify shortcomings in the strategic planning of the company, which allows for proactive control as a result, preventing the occurrence of possible problems in the future.
- Roadmaps help to set more realistic goals. At each stage of creating a roadmap, they identify the most significant aspects, such as the real needs of buyers, technology trends and dynamics of their change, innovative breakthroughs, etc. This makes it possible to increase the efficiency of using available technologies, resources, and time.
- When used professionally, roadmaps become a kind of “guide” for the manager, allowing to evaluate intermediate results timely and adequately adjust the direction of activity.
- Sharing multiple roadmaps that represent the core business of a company enables more efficient use of technology and resources at its disposal.
- Roadmaps are becoming an effective way of communicating the strategy and development priorities of the company to staff investors, and shareholders. The creation of technology roadmaps implies an active exchange of information between them.
- The process of developing a roadmap allows you to develop a clearer and more accurate vision of the management situation and more effectively carry out strategic supervision for developing the management object.
How to develop a technology roadmap?
The following 9 steps will help your company to develop a robust technology roadmap:
Step One: Brainstorm technology initiatives and projects
- List the technology trends you want to keep an eye on (i.e. AI, IoT.)
- Create a list of technology initiatives or projects that will help your company reach its goals in five years
Step Two: Prioritize based on ROI and risk factor
- Assign a priority level from one to six for each technology initiative or project. Priority one is a “must-do” because it’s critical to achieving objectives. This should be about 25% of the total priorities. Priority two are things we need but can’t do without some work, so another 20%. The third set of activities are low-risks with high rewards, which make up 15%, and the final 20% are medium risks and rewards.
- Document technology initiatives or projects that you “must do” first, then those in priority two, etc.
Step Three: Create a timeline of technology roadmap milestones
- Start by outlining your company’s vision for technology over the next few years. (i.e., what technology will we want to be using five years from now?).
- List goals/objectives with links to each one.
- Outline key milestones needed to achieve objectives (these are not dates).
Step Four: Specify which technologies you’ll use along the way
- You should start this process early so it can evolve as time goes on. Technology changes rapidly these days, so an agile approach is best.
Step Five: Add technology roadmap to a shared document
- Put your technology roadmap in a shared document that everyone can access and update as necessary.
- You should include the following elements: company vision, objectives, key milestones, timeline (with links), benefits of having one (i.e., why we’re doing this!), and when it’s due by.
Step Six: Review technology roadmap at least once per year
- Ensure you are on track for achieving your goals within an established timeframe – If appropriate, make revisions if changes need to be made or new priorities arise over time. This is important because technology has become such an integral part of how companies operate these days, without reviewing it every so often, organizations are at a disadvantage and technology can become outdated or irrelevant.
Step Seven: Share technology roadmap with stakeholders
- This is important because it’s not only the company that benefits from this document; customers, partners, vendors also have an interest in technology roadmaps. This helps keep everyone on track!
- When you share information about what technology will be available within your organization, it encourages them to create products for these technologies so they’ll work seamlessly together.
- It also guides as to which ones are best suited for certain projects or processes (so people don’t waste time working on things that won’t yield desired results).
- If possible, try to get feedback on the technology roadmap before releasing it into the public domain…this way, no one can complain that the technology roadmap is inaccurate or incomplete.
Step Eight: Develop a technology investment plan
- A technology investment plan provides a way for the company to identify, prioritize, and fund technology infrastructure/programs.
- This process will also help you make decisions about how much funding should be allocated towards each technology initiative in a given timeframe. It’s also an excellent tool when working with partners on shared initiatives.
Step Nine: Evaluate ROI based on target milestones (or goals) being met
- Technology investments can always have some risk of not achieving desired results; this step helps mitigate any potential losses because it outlines what happens if something doesn’t work out according to expectations. And what we need to do next! It also includes resources so someone who has a technology strategy can continue to grow and innovate.
The technology roadmap is a living, breathing document that will need to be updated frequently.
It’s also worth noting that the technology roadmap should not serve as your only source of information when it comes to technology decisions, you’ll want to get feedback from various stakeholders and experts on things like product design or implementation.
But along with all this advice I’ve given so far, remember: have fun! Technology changes so quickly nowadays because people are always innovating. So don’t feel bad if sometimes you can barely keep up (in fact, many of us just try our best)! That means there’s always something new coming around the corner and chances for success increase when we’re excited about what we do 😉
If you need any help in developing a technology roadmap for your business, contact us. Our software consultants and technologists have hands-on experience in developing technology roadmaps for startups and enterprises, all alike.