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The CFO's Guide to Technology Roadmapping: 6 Steps for Creating a Technology Roadmap

The CFO's Guide to Technology Roadmapping: 6 Steps for Creating a Technology Roadmap
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13 min read

As a result of ongoing research and development, the scope and utility of existing technologies continue to grow and evolve rapidly. Technology industry leaders need a resource that allows them to gain insight into the advances in their field and consider potential future paths for innovation. And that’s where the technology roadmap comes in.

A technology roadmap is a comprehensive plan. It helps solve challenges and create cutting-edge technologies for future generations, making it easier for industry researchers and developers to conduct a unified examination of past, present, and future technologies due to the business goals.

What Is a Technology Roadmap?

Roadmaps for new technologies have appeared recently. In the 1990s, the semiconductor industry developed its first technology roadmap template.

In order to define and build the future of semiconductor technology, scientists and engineers from universities, industry and government have come together for the technology roadmap. Stakeholders in the semiconductor industry used the roadmap to look into the future and figure out what they needed to help the industry grow.

Technology roadmapping is designed to get all sides of the business talking about the pros and cons of developing and implementing new technology so that everyone can work together to find the best solution.

Companies can use technology roadmaps as a guide to help them improve their own technical processes in light of industry developments. Industry experts and in-house programmers can now work together to make new products.

Product roadmaps are documents that look to the future and provide direction to businesses investing in a particular technology or industry. Roadmaps can be useful for products, applications, and even entire industries. A technology roadmap can have different formats depending on the field of study.

Roadmaps for new technologies are constantly evolving. We recommend updating your high level roadmaps annually, with more significant changes made every two years. As companies develop and implement new technologies, technology roadmaps will continue to serve a useful purpose.

Types of Technology Roadmaps

Multiple roadmaps can be drawn up to reflect a variety of plans, schedules, and in-depth work. One roadmap might show off the current details of your infrastructure and operations, while another might show how your apps and services will get better in the future.

IT Roadmap

This type of technology roadmaps is similar to the roadmap for an organization’s internal information technology systems. The company’s strategy for developing and maintaining its own IT solutions is detailed in both the IT roadmap and the internal IT systems development plan. However, in an IT roadmap, you can expect more attention to how IT projects will contribute to the company’s overall goals. Less attention is paid to the question, “Who is responsible for which IT project?” More attention is paid to “What is the ROI of this IT project?”

This roadmap helps IT leaders not only gain company-wide support for their plans but also allows them to anticipate and prepare for future technology developments. Before making a roadmap, it is a good idea to do ERP data analytics. This method makes planning and prioritizing IT projects easier, so IT crises don’t have to be dealt with quickly.

Given that it is developed as a company-wide document, your IT roadmap is likely to be scrutinized by many people. The more people, the more questions. “Are there any updates?” is a common query. This question is easily answered by looking at our IT roadmap as a floating bar that divides major IT projects into four states: backlog, in development, in progress, and completed. This way, you and other departments will always have the same starting point to assess the current status of different projects.

App Roadmap

An application roadmap is one of the technology roadmap examples that helps companies see multiple applications in one place to make more informed choices and set more effective priorities for their application portfolio.

If you have an application development plan in place, your internal teams never again have to guess which applications should be deployed, which group uses which tools, or which parts of your organization are affected by which changes. An application roadmap can help you get the most out of each application in your workflow by providing clarity in an otherwise confusing application architecture. It also helps teams decide which applications to prioritize and when to build them.

To a certain extent, the application roadmap is within your purview as a technical administrator. You, as an operations manager or IT team member, know your application portfolio better than anyone else, making you the ideal person to oversee the application roadmap. As with any technology roadmap (or roadmap in general), an application stack can’t be properly organized without the help of all the teams that have a stake in it.

To create a technology roadmap is especially useful if you need to dive into the “when” and “why” of juggling multiple applications. This application roadmap perspective is a simple way to let stakeholders know that your application portfolio will need new tools and updates as they become necessary.

Dev Roadmap

What is a technology roadmap speaking in terms of development? This kind of roadmap focuses on the efforts of your development staff, so this development roadmap is probably the most detailed form of a technology roadmap. The development roadmap shows the main goals of the development team and highlights the technical work and features that are already planned in the engineering pipeline.

While a development roadmap is more in-depth than the other examples of technology roadmaps below, it is still a high-level strategic plan. This means that it is not a place to day to day track bugs or projects; rather, it is for development teams to explain exactly what they are working on.

It is intended for engineering managers—those who are responsible for the development team(s) and communicate the development pipeline to the rest of the company. This roadmap should be given to these people because they are the best ones to talk about upcoming changes to the workflow and any trade-offs that come with them.

Since the focus of the roadmap is the development process and agile is the norm in the IT industry, the roadmap can be broken down into sprints by project managers. The rest of your team will have a better idea of what to expect when you organize your features and projects according to the sprint in which they will be created.

How to Design and Plan Your Technology Roadmap

When creating a technology roadmap, it is very important to keep certain fundamental things in mind. Take these five steps to ensure a quality end product:

What Are the Parts of a Technology Roadmap

Decide your goals

How to create a technology roadmap? What information can we get from a technology roadmap? The roadmap should emphasize these elements. This is what you should keep in mind as you demonstrate how the plan will help the organization achieve its goals.

Determine your target audience

Once you have decided on the goal, you will need to identify your audience. You can tailor the amount of information in the roadmap to your audience’s demographics.

For presentation to senior management and other key stakeholders, the roadmap should focus on the big picture, highlighting the benefits to the team and the organization. Before the plan is shared with the public, it can be changed to fit the needs of each group.

Put down the plan

The next step after outlining goals is to turn them into strategic initiatives and set a timeline for implementation. These large-scale undertakings can be broken down into even smaller episodes.

Having a schedule and strategy in front of you is a great way to stay on track and achieve your goals.

Aware stakeholders of the route plan

Once they are fully acquainted, you can create a compelling presentation that highlights the benefits of the plan. It is important that you are prepared to answer any concerns that the relevant parties may have. You may as well use a guide to developing technology roadmaps.

Allocate your roadmap to the team members

Meet with the teams responsible for implementing the roadmap after you have responded to stakeholder comments and polished the document. Make sure that everyone has the same understanding of the project objectives, the sequence of their implementation, and the amount of time they should expect.

Update the roadmap when necessary

Developing an action plan for technology solutions is just the beginning of your responsibilities. You will likely need to revise this document periodically to reflect the changing nature of your company’s requirements. Depending on how company priorities, the market, and/or end-user requirements have changed, a previously planned program may no longer make sense. Therefore, it is very important to update the roadmap every few months to consider unforeseen changes.

Who Is Involved In Building Technology Roadmaps?

So, how to build a technology roadmap? Each roadmap development team should include members who are knowledgeable in many different areas, including management, product creation, research, and actual product execution. People such as the roadmap manager, product managers, project managers, program directors, and other experts in the field play a crucial role. The participation of senior management is also possible.

Managers

It is important to select a technology innovation roadmap leader who will oversee the development process. This leader should be a skilled product manager who can help the team set goals that are both achievable and creative in terms of technology. The manager’s priority should be to develop a plan that not only meets the current needs of the industry but also leaves room for innovation and expansion.

Experts

Experts from many disciplines often collaborate on the plan. Product managers, project managers, and program directors are examples of these corporate roles. More broadly, creating a successful roadmap may require collaboration between scientists, engineers, researchers, development teams, and even universities or government agencies.

Marketing

It is important to involve marketing and product experts in the roadmap process. Such experts ensure that organizations can use technology roadmaps to develop products that will help them succeed.

C-level

Senior management can also be a part of making roadmaps, even if it’s just to give feedback. The business prospects and implications of the plan are often the main issues of interest to them. In addition, senior management, unlike the average team member, can support the roadmap creation process by setting rules and incentives for employees. With the help of senior management, the development process can be sped up and made easier so that each roadmap meets industry standards and coexists with your CRM system.

5 Challenges of a Technology Roadmap

Translating the Technical Language

There will be a lot of technical details in your roadmap if you are creating it for technology. But the stakeholder group may not only consist of IT professionals. You should expect questions from non-specialists about every obscure concept in the map.

You need to pay attention to the wording you use when presenting the technology roadmap. Try to reduce technical jargon. If you fail to engage the target audience, you can forget about getting consensus support from key stakeholders. Here lies the big difference between the technology roadmap vs product roadmap.

Forgetting the ‘Background’ Tasks

The technology roadmap can include both the most obvious and the most hidden technology projects in the business, just like long term goals and short-term ones. Less obvious but no less important efforts are given less weight in favor of “shiny” technological developments. Instead of focusing on the still-necessary measures being worked on in the background, your stakeholders will focus on the more visible and personally important issues on your technology roadmap.

Spend some effort to explain these “background” activities. You should highlight the parts of the roadmap that you want to draw attention to rather than hoping that your stakeholders and product managers will notice and raise the issue on their own.

Guesstimating Based on Unknowns

When it comes to technology, there is a mountain of unanswered questions. How well will this new technology work with our existing infrastructure? How much does it match what the vendor promised us? How long can we expect it to be operational? How much time and money will it take to develop and launch this cutting-edge innovation? …and so on.

Creating a technology roadmap can sometimes seem like shooting in the dark due to the large number of unanswered questions that can only be answered by actually using the technology. Because of this, a technology roadmap is filled with reasonable projections as to when certain milestones will be reached. This is due to a large number of failures and successes.

This means that your technology roadmap presentations will be subject to scrutiny, especially if you have a history of missing planned delivery dates. And no one wins when stakeholders have doubts about your schedule and strategy.

How to make a technology roadmap properly? Your technology plan is a statement of purpose. We believe that all roadmaps should be considered and presented as statements of purpose.

It is important to remember that any technology roadmap is only a guide and is subject to change. Your project stakeholders will see the roadmap for what it is: a plan, not a final destination. Stakeholders will be unable to hold you to all aspects of your technology roadmap presentation if you emphasize this point and ensure everyone understands this definition before you make your presentation.

Technology initiatives Are Unpredictable

Implementing and integrating systems roadmap is uncertain, so many people end up making wild assumptions about how long things on their technology roadmap will take. Compared to desktop applications, moving the entire infrastructure without taking down servers is a lengthy process. In addition, the technology becomes more complex as the organization grows larger.

This makes it difficult to estimate how long it will take to complete certain initiatives in your technology roadmap, and they may end up taking much longer than expected. Many people will wonder why it’s taking so long.

If it is difficult to estimate how long development and implementation will take, try to break it down into smaller parts. Tasks should be broken down into separate phases and shown as such on the roadmap. This will allow you to confidently implement large projects in manageable chunks when presenting the technology roadmap.

People Don’t Like Change

Users often get upset when their favorite technology or application undergoes a radical change. Similar behavior can be expected during the presentation of technology roadmaps.

If a stakeholder does not agree with the proposed changes, they may say something like, “Nothing is broken!” Resistance to change may be understandable, but it will only make it harder to approve your technology strategy.

Share your major IT projects, but be sure to explain both the benefits of the new plan and the reasons for implementing it. To back up your presentation, you may use any roadmap template. Justify your desire to divide the project into manageable parts by explaining that this will allow you to track progress more easily and respond more quickly to any problems that may arise. This method serves as a middle ground for stakeholders who resist change and shows them that you are aware of the risks involved.

Benefits of a Technology Roadmap

There are seven main benefits that your development teams can gain from implementing a technology roadmap:

  1. By the end of the process, you will have a clear picture of your IT infrastructure capabilities and how they relate to your overall business goals.
  2. You will eliminate all existing technical issues.
  3. Cost savings can be achieved by eliminating unused and inefficient programs and gadgets.
  4. If you invest in the right technology that meets your requirements, you can increase productivity.
  5. The security of your network will be enhanced.
  6. By identifying where your IT is vulnerable, you can prevent catastrophic failures.
  7. Any disagreements about priorities will be resolved by you.

In addition, building a technology roadmap can help your IT leader be more strategic when making investment decisions or managing technology projects and better prepare for meetings with other executives when they are looking for new projects or initiatives.

Takeaway

There is no denying the importance of technology in today’s business world; without it, companies cannot succeed. But to keep the competitive edge that technology can give, it needs to be used in the right way and with an eye to the future.

It may be time to invest in a technology roadmap if there are communication barriers between your business and technology leadership teams or if your current IT infrastructure prevents you from achieving your business goals and objectives. DashDevs will help you get the most out of your technology investments. Contact us now to get started on your customized technology plan!

FAQ

What Should a Technology Roadmap Include?

In your technology or IT roadmap, you should include both short-term and long-term goals for implementing technology, as well as new system capabilities, release plans, milestones, resources, training, risk considerations, and status reports.

Why Do You Need a Technology Roadmap?

Technology roadmaps are made to help company managers avoid mistakes that cost a lot of money and get ready for the fact that some technologies will eventually become obsolete.

How Is a Technology Roadmap Different From a Software Development Life Cycle?

Engineering staff is the main force behind the development of technology roadmaps. The product roadmap serves as the foundation for these plans, which then go on to detail the languages, platforms, and dependencies that will be used to implement the features. They should keep all engineering staff on the same page at all times.

For the development itself, the development backlog and Agile methodology should still be used. The product manager is responsible for updating both the product and technical roadmaps when new features and bug fixes are released. After that, weekly or monthly meetings can be held to discuss any issues or changes to previously made business decisions.

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