Aug 31, 2023

Your Strategic Plan and Technology Roadmap: Catalyst for Future Success

By Eric Sluss, Chief Information Officer, Net at Work —

While "doing more with less" has been the mantra for manufacturers for decades, scarce resources are making this mantra repeated more frequently. Continued workforce challenges, post-pandemic supply chain impacts on material sourcing, rising interest rates and more have industrial manufacturers turning toward technology and automation to help ease the burden of these scarcities.

There's often an overlooked process in doing so. Companies that select and implement systems on an ad-hoc basis – perhaps serving a department-specific need without surveying potential wider usage across the organization – can wind up stockpiling shelfware, redundant or single-purpose applications that can perpetuate siloed data that is limited in accessibility and visibility. It also becomes far easier for subscription costs to soar. Then there's the potential cybersecurity risk. "It's difficult to secure what you don't know," says Brian Kingsley, Managed Services Practice Director at AEM member company Net at Work. "The less visible and accessible data is across the organization, the greater the likelihood of noncompliance with both security and regulatory requirements."

Conversely, the process of building and managing a technology roadmap helps to resolve those inherent issues. A technology roadmap is a high-level plan that communicates a company's overall IT strategy and corresponding timelines. It is designed to closely align with an organization's strategic plan and show how the implementation and use of specific technologies – new and existing – will support these objectives over time. The results can be dramatic; for instance, the World Economic Forum reported an approximate 45% labor avoidance impact through automation. One manufacturer of curb extrusion equipment shaved 25 minutes off its order entry process.

Manufacturers can initiate the technology roadmap process by considering the following questions with members of their leadership team:

Learn more about the importance of intersecting your strategic planning and technology roadmap processes in support of all aspects of a business by signing up for the complimentary webinar, "Aligning Your Technology Roadmap for Strategic Success," on Wednesday, June 21 at 2 p.m. ET.

Eric Sluss is a PMP-certified Chief Information Officer with AEM member company Net at Work, specializing in leading ERP and technology transformation programs. Sluss brings a rich background in technology strategy, digital transformation and leadership to small-to-mid-sized manufacturers. Additionally, Sluss advises organizations and boards on planning, implementing, and reporting Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives.

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