Why should you invest in your IT systems?
9 April 2018
As much as you may dread hearing “infrastructure refresh” or “update”, it is necessary to continually invest in your IT environment.
As your business grows, your needs and priorities will change. An increased number of employees, technical advancements or market pressures could put pressure on systems which may have been perfect when starting out, but are now starting to restrict the business and hamper operations, agility and growth.
If you aren’t running a rolling IT upgrade program within the business then you will be building up technical debt that will often cost you more in the long run. You may believe that sweating an asset or a system for another year or two is okay, sometimes it will be, but often it brings with it a number of issues, such as:-
- Increased risk profile as aged systems are more prone to failure.
- You miss out on technical advances that deliver greater value and returns versus the legacy asset.
- Greater disruption when a delayed change happens versus a steady and rolling investment and upgrade cycle.
If you’re holding back on investing in your IT then you could be missing out on increased efficiency, productivity and often a competitive advantage. In today’s blog, we’ll be looking at a few of the ways IT investment can benefit your business.
1. Competitive Advantage
IT is now the beating heart of most businesses, both in terms driving internal efficiencies and enhancing productivity, right through to improving customer and supplier engagements on the front-end of the business. The pace of change is so significant that gains are always there for the taking. Of course, that doesn’t mean to say you upgrade every year but too many businesses are sat on business systems that are simply dated and holding back business growth. It’s clear to see and proven in most sectors that those at the top are those who invest wisely on IT. Not those who sweat their IT assets, specifically in terms of their business systems, i.e. ERP, CRM, case management systems and the like.
It’s also important to note that technology and systems is a key differentiator and certainly an area which potential customers look at when choosing between companies. It could be as simple as one business has a better web portal than another.
The ability to respond to changing business needs in an ever-complex world is key to success, and technology plays a key role in this. It goes hand in hand with collaboration, which leads to streamlined processes and more efficient projects. From unified communications through to CRM systems, technology must be a key part of your strategy, if you want an agile business. Other areas to consider are IT platforms built around mobility, cloud, big data, artificial intelligence, block-chain and social networking which can play a transformational role in a growing business.
The level of technology within a business certainly affects morale. It’s crude, yet true that staff include the IT environment when evaluating their position within a business. The IT environment is where the majority of office-based workers spend their days. If the equipment and/or systems are dated then when comparing their role to their peers it does play a factor, in terms of morale. It’s as simple as one employee in one business drives a new company car whilst another sits in a 5-year-old, high mileage one. It matters to people.
4. Increased Efficiency and Productivity
New technology in the main, where there is a clear business case along with the right technology, delivers efficiency and productivity. It’s what IT and computing, in general, was created to do – automate and improve manual processes and operations. Businesses should be regularly measuring where they are and what a new system could deliver versus sitting still for another two years. You don’t always have to change – but you should understand if there is an advantage to be gained or not in the first place.
You wouldn’t leave all your windows and doors unlocked, so why would you leave your IT environment open to security violations? It’s important that you identify and continually invest to mitigate risks when undertaking regular risk analysis. The security landscape is changing rapidly now, the threat landscape from one quarter to the next can be dramatically different.
It could be as simple as the need for multi-factor authentication. Passwords alone are really not secure enough, but requiring staff to use a key fob when logging in or accessing certain areas is an easy way to add an extra layer of security. Depending on your business, you may also need to look at secure communications to protect your voice, video, email and text conversations. The rise of GDPR obviously brings in other areas to address, particularly around encryption and control. Failure to invest can cost a business on many fronts.
Actively investing in your IT environment will increase your staff’s productivity, enhance the security of your data and expand your storage capacity. All of these elements will naturally contribute towards higher revenue and profits as your business becomes more efficient and streamlined.
However, remember the key is making the right investments. Technology trends come and go, so do seek out the advice of an experienced technology consultant when considering an investment.