Just as physical or digital roadmaps help you find your way across town to a friend’s house or a new restaurant, a business roadmap lays out the direction your company is heading. Specifically, a business roadmap is a document that visually presents strategic plans for addressing current and future challenges and growth opportunities.

Roadmap Example

Virtually any company or area of business can benefit from roadmapping. Companies create a variety of business roadmaps that can generally be differentiated by the business area they focus on and the audience they’re intended to serve.

For example:

  • A business development roadmap or strategy roadmap encompasses the current state of the entire business and lays out strategic objectives and plans to reach them.
  • A product roadmap covers a company’s high-level vision for a product in development and presents a blueprint for how to make the product a reality.
  • A technology or information technology (IT) roadmap shows how a company’s IT infrastructure needs to evolve to support the business.
  • Software roadmapping covers the vision for and execution of a particular software implementation.

What Is a Technology Roadmap?

To stay competitive and continue to grow and be profitable, businesses must constantly adapt to things like new market conditions and changing technology. Your IT systems serve all areas of your business, equipping your employees with tools and technologies that enable them to meet your customers’ needs.

A technology roadmap (or business application roadmap) is a document that shows the technologies you’re currently using, intended improvements and upgrades, and plans to phase out older technologies. You can also think of a business application roadmap in terms of your business solutions—the fundamental systems your company uses.

A business application roadmap might include all of your business systems—like your customer relationship management (CRM) system, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, or your cybersecurity system—but it could also focus on the implementation of one particular system.

Why Do You Need a Technology Roadmap?

Businesses have to adapt to all sorts of changing conditions, and technology roadmapping is an ideal technique to meet the need for constant change. You might need a business application roadmap if:

  • You’re implementing an ERP or CRM for the first time.
  • You have separate, siloed systems in place for financials, customer service, sales, and operations, but you need an integrated ERP that shares data between teams.
  • Your ERP or CRM is hosted on-premises and you want to move to the cloud.
  • You’re upgrading from on-premise Microsoft Dynamics to Dynamics 365.
  • You’re sunsetting an outdated system and implementing newer technology.

How to Build a Technology Roadmap

The essential components of a technology roadmap are a strategic vision, clear communication of that vision, and a path to achieve each aspect of the vision.

At its core, technology roadmapping is a tool for communication with stakeholders. An effective roadmap takes the intended audience (or audiences) into account.

A business application roadmap, which translates your strategic vision into a compelling visual presentation, will help your executive team see the rationale behind the budget for a new software implementation.

If you need your engineering or development teams to gain a better understanding of how their work fits into the overall goal, your technology roadmap can do that, too. In some instances, one roadmap with varying levels of detail can serve multiple audiences.


Develop Goals and Priorities

The first step in the technology roadmap process is to develop and define your goals and prioritize them. This might involve answering these and other questions:

  • What technology are you currently using?
  • What improvements or upgrades do you plan to make?
  • Will other technologies be phased out?
  • How will these changes in the technological tools you’re using advance your company’s overall business goals?
  • What priority level should be assigned to each technology-related goal?

Once you’ve established the strategic vision, you’re ready to move on to the details.


Establish a Plan with a Timeline

The next step is to create a plan to achieve the objectives laid out in the first phase of the business application roadmapping process. The plan should include project milestones and deadlines.

Break larger goals down into smaller tasks. At the task level, make sure there’s good alignment between each aspect of project execution and the strategic vision.

You might need to consider some of the following questions:

  • What needs to be done to configure each system or application within a system?
  • When will each system or system feature go live?
  • When will you stop supporting technologies slated for replacement?

Consider Challenges

Changes to your company always come with risks. Deploying a new ERP or CRM requires a significant investment in terms of money, time, and human resources. Adopting new technology often results in a downturn in productivity as users are trained on a new system. 

How can you minimize the duration of that downturn? Careful consideration of these and other challenges in advance—as you’re creating your technology roadmap—is sure to bear dividends as you move forward.


Constantly Review and Update according to Progress

As you shift from ideation and planning to execution, collect stakeholder feedback and review any relevant performance metrics. Use the data to rearrange, drop, or add roadmap priorities as needed.

Benefits of a Strategy Roadmap

A strategy roadmap—whether it’s an organization roadmap, a business application roadmap, or a new product roadmap—does just what the name implies. Defining goals and priorities can act as a guide as your business navigates the changes encompassed by the plan.

  • Are you bringing new human resources into the project? The roadmap will get them up to speed.
  • Do you need to settle a conflict between engineering and security? Refer to the roadmap.
  • Do you need to make a decision about extending your budget or deadline? Use the roadmap to see where you are in the process—and where you’re heading.

Having a strategic roadmap keeps your teams unified, ensures the project is organized and properly prioritized, and ultimately results in improved outcomes.

Strategic Roadmap Example

The Dynamics 365 roadmap site is a good example of a product roadmap. The Stoneridge blog provides more insight into what’s included in the roadmap for Dynamics 365.

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Tips for Roadmapping

When you’re ready to start technology roadmapping to ensure your company stays competitive and continues to grow, keep the following roadmapping tips in mind.

Seek Input

It’s a fact of human nature that people are more engaged in a project when their ideas, opinions, and observations factor into project planning. In addition, diverse perspectives translate into better-thought-out goals and priorities.

With this in mind, solicit input from a broad range of stakeholders in the initial goal-setting stage of business application roadmapping, not just from leadership. On top of that, get feedback on how things are going as you’re implementing planned project segments.

Set Realistic Objectives

When you’re creating a business roadmap, make sure the objectives you set are realistic. Sure, it’d be great to take a mid-sized local business to all six continents in a year, but if that goal isn’t realistic, it doesn’t help anyone to put it on your roadmap.

Make It Presentable

Above all else, a business roadmap is a communication tool. The content is crucial, but if the document doesn’t clearly convey the content to stakeholders, the roadmap won’t get anyone on board for your strategic vision. Make sure your roadmap is a compelling visual representation of the company’s goals and priorities and the path to achieving them.

Be Flexible

Strategy dictates the roadmap; the roadmap doesn’t determine strategy. Just because you’ve set particular goals, product features, or milestones down in the roadmap doesn’t mean they have to stay in the roadmap.

When business conditions change or a new challenge arises, be flexible with your roadmap. A new market development might mean that the roadmap’s priorities have to change or that a planned feature needs to be dropped. If that’s the case, don’t be bound by the roadmap; change the roadmap so that it sets your company up to thrive in a shifting business landscape.

Bringing in a Strategic Partner for Your CRM and ERP Transformation

When you partner with Stoneridge Software for your CRM and ERP transformation, one of the services we offer is the creation of a business application roadmap.

It’s easy for an insider perspective and subjective opinions to color your strategy when your roadmapping is done in-house. In contrast, Stoneridge’s business solution roadmapping experts can bring in an objective outside perspective, lending clarity to your roadmap and avoiding internecine conflicts.

Not only do we know business application roadmapping, we’re also a Microsoft Business Partner. Our deep knowledge of Microsoft business applications within Dynamics 365 and of supporting infrastructure (Microsoft Azure) and software (Microsoft 365) allow us to craft a CRM or ERP roadmap that pinpoints the best solutions for your business—now and into the future.

Stoneridge Software Can Create Your Business Application Roadmap

Various companies produce roadmapping tools and roadmapping templates, but Stoneridge has the expertise to deliver a CRM or ERP implementation roadmap that shows your executive team how a new CRM or ERP deployment can meet the challenges your business is facing now and prepare your company for future growth. 

The roadmap will also provide cost estimates, spell out quantitative measures of successful implementation, and account for potential consolidation of software licensing to reduce your costs. Our organizational change management consultants will help ensure that your employees are guided through the CRM or ERP implementation with training, coaching, and support.

Contact Stoneridge to learn more about how we can help you with technology roadmapping for your Dynamics 365 ERP or CRM solution.