Most business executives don’t see the big picture when it comes to information technology.
What they do see are immediate black-and-white expenses. They’re often begrudgingly tolerated at best. This is because many executives and business owners just don’t understand the value of IT, and their focus is on the bottom line.
When vital technology breaks, business owners are faced with a massive cost to fix the problem. Because the expense is necessary, it’s paid—albeit unenthusiastically. But more often than not, the cost could have been avoided by investing in a managed IT service. With a little education and foresight, business owners can learn why staying ahead of their business’ information technology is essential, how it can help their company grow, and how to make IT decisions that prevent surprise extra expenses.
Business Information Technology Is a Valuable Investment
When you don’t understand what your business’s current IT capabilities are, what you have, and what it can or cannot do for you in the future, it’s difficult to think of information technology as an investment.
You know you have a solid relationship with your IT person and they’ve been loyal to your company. They come right away when you call with a problem. Best-case scenario, it’s a minor fix. Worst-case scenario, you have a $5,000, $10,000, or even $40,000 problem you have fix to keep your business running. This cost is upsetting, but you’ll spend the money because you have to.
But what if it could be avoided?
It’s not the job of a standard IT technician to predict the future. An IT advisor can help you understand what you have and how it relates to the growth of your business. A managed IT service provider will assess your current capabilities and create an IT strategy for your planned company growth so that you avoid critical IT-related failures. Instead of writing big checks to fix problems after the damage has been done, you’ll invest in your company’s future and protect yourself against financial loss.
Planning your company growth through information technology goes beyond simply avoiding productivity slowdown because your servers became overloaded or your systems got wiped, and no one had made any backups for quite some time. IT helps businesses run more efficiently, and it should be used as a tool that helps you meet your business goals. If you know your business is set to grow 20% over the next five years, your IT decisions should reflect and support that growth rather than constantly being outpaced by and trying to catch up with it.
Here’s how information technology can help facilitate planned growth:
- Secure data connections from various end-points, such as laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, and cloud computing.
- Holding employees accountable.
- Improving customer experience.
- Streamlining inter/intra-company communication.
- Improving security by protecting client, company, and employee data.
- Remote monitoring so that problems are spotted beforehand.
Consider how a growth mindset can impact customer service through IT. A hosted phone system, for example, allows you to handle a greater number of inbound calls and seamlessly transfer them to off-site locations if needed. If a 20% increase in your business IT expense yielded a 200% improvement in customer service, it would be a valuable investment. This is actually a typical growth number, so it should help business executives view IT as an opportunity for investment and a way to help their companies become more profitable in 2019.
Working with a Growth Advisor
Every company is different. Even businesses within the same vertical may have entirely different goals or sub-specialties that define them. You’re an expert in your field, and your job is to run your business. Although it would behoove you as an exec or business owner to understand more about how IT can support your business, it’s unlikely that you’ll have time to become an IT savant.
Working with a managed IT service provider, particularly the Net Admin (a super technician) at the MSP, is a lot like working with an investment advisor to improve your stock portfolio. First, they’ll review the ins and outs of your business and your business goals. Then, they’ll create a plan that allows for long-term IT viability, explain which IT systems could help your company grow toward your specific goals, and help you improve day-to-day business functions.
Talking to a managed IT service provider is a good place to start. You’ll gain perspective on what your options are, and better understand the role that IT plays in your business. If you decide that a managed service provider can take your company to the next level, it doesn’t mean you need to ditch your trusted IT tech. Keeping them involved in the process is often beneficial.
Successful businesses do the research on how IT can help them grow. Others stick their head in the sand and go on pretending that IT is not a priority until something goes wrong. Keeping your company’s best interest in mind is the top priority. Increasing your involvement with information technology can help you improve in 2019, so put it at the top of your to-do list in the first quarter.