Running a company of any kind means that you are likely to spend a lot of time in planning mode, mapping out the future for various elements of your business. Businesses consider many areas when planning: finances, growth strategy, marketing, sales and more. Unfortunately, many businesses don't pay enough attention to one key area: technology planning.
Technology is sometimes viewed as nothing more than a set of tools (and a cost center) required to get work done. Taking on a different view and planning strategically could turn IT into a revenue generator. The “if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality is pervasive in companies of all sizes, so there is a natural tendency to only think about technology when something needs to be replaced. This is especially true in organizations with little or no dedicated IT staff. Free time is an incredibly finite resource, so slowing down to map out technology planning can feel like a luxury that many cannot afford. However, dedicating some time upfront can pay significant dividends in the long run.
It often requires a professional with experience to be able to plan out what technology a company needs. Businesses' technology requirements can vary based on their size, function, industry, and more! Our experts can help identify and address inefficiencies after taking stock of your current or nonexistent technology resources and how they're being used. Whether your business is in need of hardware, software, copiers, printers, or managed IT, proper planning can make a world of a difference for your workplace.
Another area where the costs of improper planning may not be immediately apparent is how your technology helps—or hinders—your employees' ability to get work done. We have become so dependent on technology that a poor user interface or a lack of the right tools can be a substantial drag on productivity. Most companies cannot afford to lose time if their technology is down or too slow.
How documents and data move through your organization has a massive impact on the speed and effectiveness of your business. How do your employees find and access important files remotely? Are they able to print documents from their smartphones or easily transfer a scanned contract to their device? Without proper technology planning, businesses often end up with a mishmash of devices and technologies that do not work well together. The effects of poor technology planning on employees extend beyond productivity. We've all felt like throwing our computer out of a window after losing hours of work due to a software crash. When poor performance and ineffective technology are constant frustrations, it can have a material impact on employee satisfaction, retention and even recruiting.
Security is another aspect of business technology that requires proper planning. Organizations that take a reactive approach to technology face an increased risk of data breaches or regulatory missteps. Protecting your assets requires you to first take the time to evaluate the threats that your organization faces. It's easy to be blindsided by a crisis when you can't see the forest through the trees.
Often the lack of technology planning around security stems from the fact that businesses assume they aren't an attractive target. The reality is that you don't have to be a global bank or a massive retailer to be at risk. Attacks on small businesses happen with alarming regularity and the issue is compounded by the prevalence of insufficient technology planning.
Taking a more strategic approach to technology planning allows you to shift your IT focus towards areas that can drive tangible business value. The resources saved through reducing wasteful spending and avoiding the costs of security breaches can be reallocated into solutions that help your organization. Let us handle the technology, so you can focus on your business.
Sources: Bill Robertson - Ricoh, "Why Slowing Down Can Help Your Business Speed Up"; E. Scott Reckard and Tiffany Hsu, "Small businesses at high risk for data breach." Los Angeles Times, July 4, 2014.