3 business strategy questions you should ask of your IT
It goes without saying that all businesses now rely on technology in some shape or form for their day-to-day operations. From infrastructure and hardware to ERP and CRM software solutions, businesses could not compete successfully without their critical systems or technology services.
But that doesn’t mean that those systems meet their requirements. Many businesses still operate on outdated, legacy systems because they’ve used them for so long, they can’t imagine a world without them. In reality, these systems are often slow, vulnerable to security issues, expensive and not fit for purpose.
To remain competitive, businesses should be regularly reviewing their IT setup to ensure it meets their needs. The thought of this may strike fear into the finance department’s hearts, because investment in technology is often perceived as an unnecessary expenditure. But moving away from outdated systems can save businesses money in both the short and long term. And that's not even taking into account the increase in employee productivity and motivation.
Here are 3 questions you should be regularly asking of your business technology, as well as some top tips on how you can ensure the answer to each is a resounding YES!
Is my IT infrastructure secure?
This is a critical question to ask in a period of increased cyber-attacks against businesses. Some businesses pay extra for specialised support; the US Military does in order for Microsoft to support its Windows XP machines.
If you don't, you may think you’re saving money by not upgrading your unsupported systems. But you certainly won’t be if you fall victim to a cyber-attack, and that’s one reason why secure business systems are critical.
Research has shown that 60% of small businesses will go out of business only six months after being hit with a cyber-attack, so cybersecurity is something your business must take seriously. No exceptions.
How to secure your IT infrastructure
Many modern infrastructure solutions like Windows Servers or Azure are protected by strict security protocols, as well as supported by the vendor and patched regularly. Exciting productivity solution Office 365 is wrapped up in Microsoft’s industry-leading security and allows you to deploy internal security policies which protect your business-critical data.
In addition to protecting your competitive position with managed security services, your business should have a disaster recovery strategy. Disaster recovery means your business can continue operating as normal even if you fall victim to a cyber-attack. From file backup to virtualised environments that you can spin up within minutes, a robust disaster recovery strategy will minimise - or in some cases eliminate - the downtime associated with falling victim to a cyber-attack.
Is my IT environment value for money?
Again, many businesses make the mistake of thinking that, because they have a system they paid off years ago, it’s cost-effective. Wrong.
You're not getting value for your money if your infrastructure or software solution:
- is prone to failure
- has security holes that hackers can exploit
- doesn’t do what you need
It’s also important to understand how your system affects your employees’ productivity. Take your finance solution, for example. Do your people spend days at a time manually re-keying information? By using a solution like Sage 200cloud with its Bank Feeds feature, you can automate a number of manual and repetitive tasks. This means you're freeing up your people to add value only they can add.
How to get value from your technology
Shifting to modern solutions, such as moving your infrastructure to cloud services, can help you see an immediate cost-saving. This can be the reduced need for server space or as ongoing cost management with flexible subscription-based monthly fees.
A managed IT support provider can help you understand if your solutions are value for money. If they're not, we make recommendations to help you maintain your competitive advantage.
Does my IT infrastructure do its job?
Technology should support and enable your people, not be a hindrance or barrier to them.
If your employees are finding it hard to do their jobs because of your IT setup, that’s a sign it’s not doing its job. This could be because it's slow or prone to failure, which has an impact on your employee productivity.
Perhaps your internet connection is constantly down, or your server hosting critical software or business data is prone to outages. This impacts on your business’ ability to operate efficiently and ultimately impacts your bottom line.
How to make your IT infrastructure work for your people
To address this, you need to understand what your business is trying to achieve, then how your people fit into that. What do they need to be able to do in order to contribute to your business goals and how can they do it in the most efficient manner? These questions should always be answered before looking at your technology.
It's easy to look at IT and business strategy as separate entities. Historically, IT has been perceived as necessary but burdensome. But gone are the days of break-fix support. Now we're seeing IT help businesses drive their strategic goals.
A shift in mindset is required to make this work. Internal IT teams shouldn't spend all of their time fire-fighting. They should have the opportunity to identify areas of weakness in your business' IT environment and work strategically to address them.
If break-fix support is taking up all of your IT team's time, it's worth considering outsourcing to a managed IT support provider like TSG. Your MSP will take care of the everyday issues around IT and keep your business running, but it can also help you with strategy.
We've spent years getting to know our customers' businesses inside-out in order to not only tailor our services and solutions, but to contribute to their strategic goals. We'll help you understand how the strategic use of IT and IT services can help you increase productivity, improve efficiency and ultimately contribute to better profitability.
Not sure where to start?
At TSG, we’re dedicated to helping our customers succeed through the innovative use of technology; in fact, that’s written into our mission.
As part of our fully managed IT services offering, we’ll help you answer all of these questions. We pride ourselves on our method of understanding our customers’ businesses inside and out before even thinking about the technology. Because we know that you probably don’t care about that; you just want to be able to operate efficiently.
Our services include service desk support, field-based support engineers, managed print services and strategic roadmapping to help you execute your business plan. We offer additional services and solutions including Microsoft, Sage and business intelligence.
Interested in finding out how we can help you ensure your IT estate is:
- fit for purpose?
Get in touch with our award-winning business experts today. Our support service gives us a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 75, so you know you're in safe hands.