It would be incredibly ill-advised to do anything in business which isn’t backed by a wider strategy. Especially as you’re growing, every decision you make could mean accelerating your growth or setting you back. Your core business strategy is obviously the most important document at the heart of this – but as you grow you will need to bring in strategy in more specific areas to make sure everything is aligned.
One of these areas will inevitably be technology. Ensuring when, and how, you’re going to be investing in technology and how this aligns with your wider plans is vital. With that in mind, here are 4 reasons having a technology strategy is important for your business.
Getting that competitive edge
Bringing technology into your business in the right way can help you streamline processes and see real efficiency savings. Not can this help you cut costs, but by being leaner and more agile, you can provide better customer service and achieve that edge on your competitors. 89% of consumers have moved their business to a competitor because of poor customer service – so any ways you can find to stay ahead of your competitors will help you gain and keep more customers. Having a strategy underpinning how technology will drive your processes is vital – without proper alignment, you’re just investing for the sake of it, and you won’t be able to reach your full potential in terms of streamlining and improving efficiency.
Many small businesses take a “piecemeal” approach to investing in technology – i.e. adding to their estate as and when they need it, a device here, a server there, a new monitor somewhere else. Not only can this drive costs up, it also very often leaves you with a mixed bag of technology – legacy and newer devices all trying to run off the same infrastructure, run the same software and expected to enable everyone to work at the same pace. Lack of consistency in your technology estate is a challenge – very often it means that operating systems and key applications aren’t supported and aren’t standardised, meaning manual tasks and duplication of efforts might have to occur. It could also be a security risk – if older devices are running out-dated operating systems, they could be exposed to security threats. Having a mid to long-term plan for how you will invest in technology helps you keep track of your estate and achieve that all-important consistency.
Right device, right user
We’ve touched on this before – but it’s very important for spending smartly on technology that you think carefully about what technology is required for which individual. You don’t want to kit someone out with a high-end device if their daily tasks don’t require that much power, and equally, you don’t want to underspend on a device only to find an employee can’t do their role effectively and having to replace the device ahead of your upgrade plan. Nailing who needs what is a massive part of developing a technology strategy – ensuring you’re enabling each and every user to be productive in a way that suits them and their role, and avoiding early upgrade costs or expensive technology sitting gathering dust.
We don’t need to tell you that technology moves at a dizzying pace. You can carefully curate a suite of technology for your business over a number of years, and you’ll find very quickly that what you’re running is out of date. This can become a challenge if you’re looking to run certain applications, and it’s important to understand and anticipate what you’ll need to upgrade and when, and what will be the impact if you do or don’t upgrade. For example, if you’re still running Windows 7 in your business, support for this operating system will end 14th January 2020, and after that, you could be exposed to all manner of security risks, and rack up additional maintenance and support costs. It’s important to bear these milestones in mind and plan around them – you don’t want to be left exposed if the technology you’re using is no longer supported.
If you’d like to find out more about how you could develop a cost-effective technology upgrade strategy – get in touch. Our flexible subscription programme FlexIT for SMBs helps you upgrade to the latest technology – now, and gives you the option to keep the tech or return and upgrade again after 3 years.