How to Build a Technology Roadmap | Steps and Examples

Updated Aug 3, 2022.
technology-roadmap

As your business develops, your business processes and requirements will also grow and evolve. Sustainable businesses know how to manage their processes. From workflow to resource management to emerging technologies and others, they are quick to adapt to changes in their industries and the needs of their target audience. 

Failure to make thorough plans and adapt to these changes can turn a thriving business into a struggling one. Businesses that adapt to changes in their industries and customers’ needs are positioned for success. 

Planning for such changes can be a challenge that you can only overcome with the right data, research, and a clear technological roadmap. 

The use and application of available technologies are where the biggest potentials for disruptions exist for businesses. Because of the dynamic and evolving nature of technology, you need to update and accurately project technological advancement to avoid getting cut out by disruption. 

In this article, you will learn how to build a clear and effective technology roadmap. 

Let’s get started.

What is a Technology Roadmap?

A technology roadmap is used extensively by a series of businesses as an efficient tool that details out the goals and plans for a technological project. You can best view the technology roadmap as a visual display of documents and illustrations that point out the technological organization’s plan. 

If properly utilized, a technology roadmap can aid business leaders to implement the best strategies for adopting certain key technologies that help minimize the risks that come with technological advancement. This roadmap can also serve as an efficient analytical tool by providing the much-needed technological framework to help in the development of new and emerging technologies. 

Design your technological roadmap to provide the necessary means to meet both the short-term and long-term technological goals of the organization while also managing internal technological projects. 

Technology roadmaps strategies can either be IT system roadmaps or purely technological roadmaps. They both offer a high level of flexibility in providing technological solutions in meeting your organization’s short-term and long-term technology goals. 

Why Do I Need a Technology Roadmap

A technological roadmap is helpful for the project team in efficiently implementing the technological expectations of an organization by creating a detailed guide on how to implement new technological solutions or upgrade existing ones. 

1. Provides a Clear Picture of Your Organization’s Technological Abilities

A detailed technology roadmap ensures the organization’s IT infrastructures are well utilized in its daily operation. This roadmap spells out its usefulness to the organization’s business goals and expectations by pointing out the organization's capabilities with technologies at its disposal.

2. Provide Solutions to Your Organization’s Technological Problems

Your technology roadmap can be an efficient solution provider that highlights the gray areas in the current technology strategy. The roadmap provides the much-needed solutions through the implementation of new strategies or a complete overhaul of the entire technology setup for a better and more efficient one.

3. Improves Your Organization’s Technology Infrastructure

A properly drawn-up technology roadmap is an efficient tool for improving your organization’s technology infrastructure. You can use the technology roadmap to learn about weaknesses in your IT infrastructure to prevent costly system failures.

4. Increases Productivity

The technology roadmap is a major productivity booster that ensures unnecessary technologies are removed. Doing this helps reduce excess technological costs and frees up major capital for other much-needed technological advancements in preparing for technological transformation. 

Roadmap Time Frames By Industry
Source: Productplan

Key Components of a Technology Roadmap

Your technology roadmap contains several critical factors and requirements. They are the necessary factors that give meaning and structure to your technology roadmap.

1. Goals

Including your organization’s goals, both short and long-term is one of the key giveaways of your technology roadmap. Technology plays a vital role in the everyday operations of a business as can be visibly seen in your technology roadmap. 

Your goals should be technologically driven to ensure the continuity of the business. They are made possible through the efficient implementation of your technology roadmap.

2. Release Plans

Release plans are the major requirements aimed at improving your organization’s system capabilities to accept new technologies. They are usually pre-scheduled and much regular in a bid to ensure it gets to all stakeholders involved in the organization’s technology operations. 

Your technology roadmap is incomplete without a release plan. You need a release plan to point out efficient ways of improving your organization’s IT structure or implementing new structures when the need arises.

3. Milestones

Milestones are key achievements that characterize the technology operation process. You need to adequately track milestones to have an idea of the impact technology operations have had on the organization’s business operations. 

They can also act as an efficient evaluation tool on the positive impact of newly introduced technology in assisting to achieve the organization’s set goals. Including milestones in your technology roadmap is crucial to achieving the organization’s goals and objectives.

4. Resources

Resources are crucial elements of your technology roadmap that serve as the driving force in bringing your strategies detailed in your roadmap to reality. They can be in the form of time, capital, and human effort. 

The resources available to an organization work hand-in-hand to implement important technological strategies, manage existing technology systems, and successfully install new ones. You can only achieve this multitasking function by implementing an efficient technology roadmap function.

5. Training

Ensuring an efficient training strategy to assist in the process of implementing a new IT/ technology roadmap is critical. Most technology roadmaps come with stringent requirements that require the most skilled personnel. 

Conduct regular training of personnel vested with the needed capabilities to adopt new systems efficiently. Quality training time should be accounted for in your technology roadmap to support your newly adopted systems or management of pre-existing ones.

6. Risk Factors

Make adequate provision for the likely risk to be encountered in your technology roadmap. Risk factors are major deterrents to the successful implementation of new technologies and have a significant negative impact on the organization’s goals and objectives. 

Accounting for risk factors in your technology roadmap ensures you are always a step ahead in combating them. Doing this ensures you are adequately prepared with the necessary strategies to minimize its impact on the organization’s business operations.

7. Status Reports

Ensuring all stakeholders involved are regularly updated on the happenings of the new technologies implemented is important to the efficient delivery of the technology goals. 

Status reports should be brief and precise in their approach. System implementation is an important factor in your technology roadmap. Delay to system implementation can cripple your operations dependent on that system. You can prevent this by consistent communication among stakeholders which should be a key element of your technology roadmap.

Tips for Creating a Technology Roadmap

Creating an efficient and well-detailed technology roadmap often comes with a lot of rigorous planning and strategies to ensure the technological needs of your organizations are met. You need to consider various factors when creating a technology roadmap.

1. Clarity

You must find the necessary balance in ensuring your technology roadmap is thorough while at the same time being clear and precise to your organization's technology team. 

Your technology roadmap should include key components such as goals, release plans, milestones, resources, training, risk factors, and status reports. When creating your technology roadmap, ensure it is easy to understand and implement. Only essential contents on a need-to-know basis should be detailed in your technology roadmap. 

You should also consider utilizing color-code for distinguishing between tasks to give your technology a map better clarity and understanding with a simple glance. Doing this ensures the strategies to be implemented are well digested by the technology team and can be implemented efficiently.

2. Realistic

Your technology roadmap will be grossly inadequate if essential details are not included. Avoid making the mistake of thinking it is enough to just include all the necessary components. Ensure the components and their requirements are realistic and achievable. Set deadlines that are realistic in their approach as unrealistic deadlines cause strain to the technology process. 

Key technology project tasks should be adequately included in your technology roadmap. These tasks should be realistic in approach and should be achievable within the set deadline. 

Adequate considerations should be made on the available resources at your disposal to ensure you have the necessary backing needed.

3. Easy to Share

A good technology roadmap should include all the key members of the technology team which may include the IT manager, product manager, operations team, project team, and engineering team. They are crucial to the success of the technology roadmap and are tasked with the process of successful implementation.

The necessary tools should be utilized in ensuring efficient management of all the stakeholders involved. Use the best product roadmap software tools for roadmap planning and execution.

A well-detailed technology roadmap also boosts efficient communication as the organization's goals and objectives are well highlighted. This reduces the risk of issues arising from the implementation of the organization's laid-out goals and objectives.

4. Regularly Evolving

The strategies you utilize in your technology roadmap should be in direct correlation with your organization's goals and objectives. Whatever strategies you use should be forward-thinking to ensure the future goals of your organization are adequately accounted for. 

Although your technology roadmap is regularly subjected to changes and new strategies, these new changes should not come to the detriment of the organization's plans. 

Your technology roadmap should be regularly revisited and reviewed to ensure that it is still efficient in meeting the organization's set goals and objectives due to its constantly changing nature. 

Utilize cloud software platforms such as cloud storage and file-sharing services to ensure you are regularly updated on the changes to the organization's plans and timeline. Regularly update your technology roadmap to accommodate these changes.

5. Measure the Cost

Technology innovation projects are generally expensive and require both human and capital resources. Adequate considerations should be included in your technology roadmap to ensure significant investments being meted out on the technology initiatives can meet the project's technological requirements. 

Investments usually vary depending on your organization's plan and the complexity of the technology project requirements. All the necessary costs of the technology innovation process should be accounted for in your technology roadmap. 

Your costing should be well researched and realistic for each project to be embarked on in your technology roadmap. During implementing your technology roadmap, new costs may arise due to a variety of factors and should be updated on your technology roadmap.

6. Appoint an IT Steering Committee

Better implement your technology roadmap with the introduction of an IT steering committee to oversee all the technology roadmap strategies. Adequately empower the IT steering committee to ensure the strategies are well implemented in providing technological solutions while also tracking the progress of the technology project. 

IT Steering Committee Board Structure
Source: Researchgate

IT Roadmap Examples and Templates

An IT roadmap can act as an efficient tool to plan out strategic technology innovations of the future. Your customers often comprise individuals seeking technological solutions. The IT roadmap affords you as an initiator the opportunity to organize and prioritize your technology ideas into a top-notch strategic plan. 

Another crucial role played by the IT roadmap is to ensure the process of communicating your strategic plans to your customers is relatively easier since all the key details have been adequately spelled out in your IT roadmap.

1. Architecture Technology Roadmap Example

Software architecture major in building a solid foundation that serves as the organization’s biggest backer. You can effectively carry this out with the architecture technology roadmap which comprises key components such as application programming interface (API), user interface, and storage integrations. 

Other key features in your organization’s technology operations are dependent on this crucial technology roadmap which is often a long-term process.

IT Architecture Roadmap Template
Source: Productplan

2. Enterprise IT Technology Roadmap Example

Enterprise IT technology roadmap helps to give you a visual outlook of your key innovations. Your customers seek security system solutions among many others. 

This technology roadmap is notable for detailing how technology can adequately support the organization’s business enterprise. Enterprise IT technology roadmap prioritizes capabilities of the technology system based on their importance strategically to the enterprise’s goals and objectives. 

Enterprise IT Technology Roadmap Example
Source: Roadmunk

Martin Luenendonk

Editor at FounderJar

Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.