Are you one of those businesses reluctant to spend money on IT beyond keeping it ticking over?
You have an accounts department, a sales department, operations and the like, all with relevant strategies and budgets to help them achieve their targets. However when it comes to IT, it is often seen as something that you just pay for when it breaks.
And that can be a big problem.
Too often IT is viewed purely as a cost and it shouldn’t be. Technology is integral to the success of any organisation and a key driver for growth. Therefore should it not be viewed as a key department of your business?
When there is a major technical ‘glitch’ or failure, only then do so many companies finally realise they have been patching things up for too long, and lack a genuine strategic approach to technology, both in terms of their day-to-day IT support, but also an approach that harnesses their technology to drive performance.
Of course, the danger is waiting until the damage is done with the result that more time, and money, to put things right, and time and money are assets that no business wants to unnecessarily waste.
Consider this, when you spend time and money in reaction to an issue that’s live, you are far less likely to get the best value or quality results, compared to considering your options and best approach in advance.
So, how do you put your business on a proactive footing when it comes to making best use of technology, rather than always making do with day-to-day firefighting?
At Timewade we are finding that businesses in the last 1-2 years are starting to recognise the true value of a strategic approach to technology. More are realising that their IT function and how technology is used across their organisation, are in fact essential components of their business with a big impact on productivity and efficiency.
Without doubt, the most successful businesses today recognise IT as a fundamental part of their organisation, worthy of investment and a strategic approach.
Here are six reasons why adopting a strategic approach to your organisation’s technology will reap its own rewards.
- Everyday management
Technology surrounds us and many do not realise just how much we depend on it in daily business. It is used for ordering, delivery, procurement, accounts, HR and both internal and external communications, and this technology is getting more sophisticated and ultimately more complicated.
Industry-specific software, hardware, infrastructure and tools like CRMs and applications often require expert knowledge to set up, operate and, most importantly, maintain. A strategic approach means you effectively research, engage and procure the very best mix of technology for your organisation’s current and future needs, avoiding a knee-jerk and last minute approach to what you invest in.
- Keep ahead of the curve
You might not have a strategic approach to technology but you can bet some of your competitors will!
If you’re still struggling with a patchwork approach to IT in your business, how do you think you will perform against those with a technology strategy, robust systems suited to that business, strong cyber security measures, technology that makes it easier for employees to do their work, access to real-time management data and a clear understanding of how technology will be used to drive current and future performance and sales?
It’s obvious but worth stating: Those that don’t invest fall behind.
- Guarding your reputation
Technology must be resilient. We live in an instant society and customers and clients expect results and responses quickly. When your IT is not nurtured it can have knock on effects for the whole business.
Regular maintenance and updating will ensure your tech is resilient and your reputation remains intact. Consider who is affected if a key element of your IT ground to a halt – employees, customers, partner organisations, suppliers, along with key activities like payroll, invoicing, ordering, marketing. Businesses have collapsed off the back of cyber attacks. Don’t be one of them.
- Knowledge is power
Many technology failures can easily be avoided. For example, at Timewade, we set up real-time monitoring for clients ensuring instant data so we can spot risks before they become business problems. Plus, we combine that with our own ongoing learning – tracking industry news, research and insight, so we have at our fingertips the latest knowledge on an array of IT and technology issues from software and systems to hardware and cloud.
- Effective data management
Organisations are storing more and more sensitive data which needs to be kept securely – safely backed up and protected from external threats and company leakage. Losing crucial files or risking a security breach can put your organisation’s safety, performance and finances in jeopardy. Fines for breaching the General Data Protection Regulations are considerable, let alone the reputational damage to your organisation. An IT department has the technical expertise to ensure your security is robust and prioritised. Combined with a forward-looking technology strategy, means your business is well placed to avoid risks and maximise performance and profitability.
- Technology to drive growth
Smart businesses recognise technology as driver of performance, building it into their ongoing business plan and considering the opportunities for technology be that to boost productivity and efficiency or offer something new to customers or make life easier for employees or suppliers.
By switching from viewing IT as problems that need to be solved, to opportunities that need to be grasped, a senior management team armed with the right knowledge and data from within their organisation and beyond, can then make truly strategic decisions that puts technology where it should be – a key driver of the success of your business.
So, that’s my starter for six, but I’m always eager to learn and hear what others think. Is there one of the six that you think businesses should prioritise, or are there others that I have missed or should be added to the list? Does your organisation have a technology strategy? Is it proving effective?
At Timewade, we give our clients both strategy and support, because we passionately believe this is the best way to minimise problems and maximise opportunities. But how do you do it?
About the author: Jordan Westcott – Operations Director, Timewade