Imagine a dream world where business expenses are magically taken care of. Every requisition is approved without stress. All the employees sit in massage chairs, lunches are always catered, and all the Technology is brand new.
Sure, it’s a nice dream, but far from reality. Small to medium businesses often run on tight budgets which means that informed decisions have to be made. Proper planning will ease the stress of the decision making process.
Preparing for IT Expenditures
The first thing to do when talking about an overall IT budget is to make a comprehensive lists of the company’s needs. Every company has different needs when it comes to technology. Where a print company may need the latest versions of the Adobe Suite, new Macs, and the best printers, a small product vendor may need a few PCs, strong accounting software, and a functional printer. Know the company, anticipate the needs.
Keeping an Ear to the Ground
A company’s technology can become so outdated that they lose efficiency, often to the glee of their competitors. Whether it’s severely outdated software or slow and unreliable network servers, there is a real danger in growing complacent. It’s important to listen to both employees and customers in regards to their experiences. Make a point to keep a conversation going, and check in with your employees and customers on a regular basis.
Keep in mind that some technology needs to be updated. For instance, if your systems are running an outdated and unsupported OS, you are leaving your network vulnerable to outside attacks and errors.
All the Shiny Things
Of course, it’s not feasible or expected to purchase every new upgrade or system when someone has issues with the current technology. A business could go bankrupt fairly quickly if it approved every request for new technology. Look for better ways to solve technology problems rather than being reactive and replacing something immediately. Many frustrations with technology can sometimes be solved through some additional training or keeping the current systems updated.
It is also important to keep in mind that newer does not always mean better. Much of the new software that comes out is still working out bugs and hasn’t received the necessary updates. Productivity could be lost while employees are essentially beta testing new software. Also, huge changes can interrupt workflow. Putting every system on a new OS on day one is guaranteed to slow down productivity while everyone learns the new system.
Before swiping the company card for a new piece of hardware/software, be sure to ask a few key questions. Will this new technology improve the bottom line? Will this technology possibly deliver the competitive edge? Will this upgrade be a lasting one or obsolete within a small time frame? Is this technology compatible with your existing structure?
While the nature of business is competitive and it is often tempting to constantly upgrade your IT to keep up with a dynamic environment, this can lead to a lot of waste. At the same time, allowing your IT to become outdated can be just as dangerous to your company. Ask the right questions, and always be aware of your needs.
If you need assistance planning your IT upgrades, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 260.423.2414.