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Why it’s important to diversify your IT investment

4 June 2018

Diversifying IT Investment - How a strategic plan can help

Investing in a company’s IT systems is now a regular part of planning. However, it’s easy to focus on only a few areas of the business instead of taking a holistic approach. In order to avoid this scenario, the company must look at all areas of the business to build a robust IT infrastructure.

Connecting the dots

The challenge of migrating legacy systems and platforms can put businesses off IT improvement. It is a time-consuming process, especially if the business has expanded through M&A activity or partnerships. In most cases, data will be stored on different systems and in different formats, so consolidation is quite significant and will inevitably require sizeable investment.

This issue can often go ignored as staff grow used to working with disparate data sets and systems. However, this severely hampers productivity as employees have to navigate multiple programs to find client information or historical data. It is also likely that mistakes can be made when the data does not exist on a single accessible platform. Well-thought migration and consolidation, will streamline processes and allow the business to focus on delivering results.

Bringing on help

To achieve the best possible results, IT investment often needs to go beyond in-house systems and tools. As competition increases, businesses need to improve both their output and processes; this is where investment in outsourcing providers can prove invaluable. However, many often overlook this solution, largely due to historical views of outsourcing.

It is important to remember that outsourcing does not mean replacing the internal team with a third party. That is an option but is by no means the only choice available. More often than not, outsourcing provides enhanced support on projects and services, alleviates the burden of certain processes or simply provides advice on current business practices. If outsourced effectively, the IT team will have more time to develop and improve processes, while the third party deals with the day-to-day tasks.

Planning for the worst

IT investment typically aims to improve current technology or streamline certain processes, but there can be a huge gap when it comes to planning. Businesses are so familiar with using technology they often forget to strategically plan how to mitigate risks and unforeseen issues that can occur when things go wrong – be it a system failure, security incident or transport strike. When the company is hit by an unexpected event, staff can often scramble to continue their working day. Without a clear strategy in place, the business risks financial loss due to the inability for staff to work effectively and efficiently. This doesn’t even take into account areas, such as reputation damage and regulatory penalties.

IT has a vital role to play in providing a comprehensive, structured and strategic business continuity plan that is able to respond to any challenges that can impact company operations. A key barrier to making improvements in this area is due to how the company views its IT priorities. Regulation, data protection and the general running of the hardware can seem like the most important parts of the business. However, if you do not account for the day-to-day, these large-scale IT challenges will not matter – the business will simply suffer from lack of planning.

Conclusion

IT investment is a vital part of how a company operates. However, it cannot focus on a single area of the business. Simply investing in cybersecurity alone will not improve internal processes or streamline activity. In order to build a comprehensive IT operation, there needs to be a balanced approach that takes into account all aspects of the business.

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