Small business owners don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel when they’re building an architecture and framework for their business. They also seek financial assistance and even help for recruiting, yet they often fail to consider the need for IT guidance.
Because people interact with technology frequently, many presume they know how to do it. That is one of the greatest fallacies with respect to IT. For many small business owners, the cost of their mistake becomes apparent as the business grows and they realize their technology isn’t set up to grow with it.
According to the 2018 Insight Intelligent Technology Index, 65 percent of small business IT leaders said upgrading existing hardware/software was their biggest challenge. Here is the reality: If you get the architecture and framework right from the start, a lot of those headaches go away.
When a small business has to correct course down the line, the organization is operating in a poorly or not at all configured environment and has to contend with major interoperability challenges.
Because your plan of action varies based on the size and stage of your company, here are some best IT practices to ensure you are keeping pace:
If you are truly just starting up, there is a strong case for building your architecture in the cloud or adopting a hybrid approach. This will require some upfront guidance, due diligence, and strategy, but you will be setting the business up for scalability and long-term IT success. What you always want to avoid is hoarding things on-premises for the sake of seeking the most simplistic design, at the lowest cost piece of technology. This approach will almost always create problems in the growth cycle.
Already off the ground? The Intelligent Technology Index also revealed that 74 percent of small businesses are using or phasing in Windows 10 devices, which are already configured to the cloud. While small businesses transition to new cloud-enabled devices, one quick fix that can offer employees greater optionality is identifying the primary toolsets your team uses and moving them to the cloud. Whether the device is Apple, Android or Windows, it will work so long as it has an updated browser. This offers a relatively similar experience and guaranteed functionality regardless of the age of the device. This will buy you some time as you update your broader infrastructure.
No matter how big or small you are, employees want better technology experiences. We know that technology plays a significant role in attracting and retaining talent, as a recent Insight survey on workforce connectivity found that 58 percent of respondents said their organization’s technology factors into a candidate’s decision to take a position. Getting IT right is important for productivity and security as well as for what is arguably one the most valuable assets: your people. Employees are willing to put up with dated technology for a bit, so long as the interface runs fast. This makes single sign-on a great value-add. It allows employees to sign on from any device or browser – whether it’s from their personal laptop or their grandmother’s computer – and access the applications they use every day.
One additional tip to keep your employees happy and moving quickly: Invest in bandidth.
While there are some best IT practices, every organization will approach technology differently – and that makes sense. The linchpin to every IT discussion, however, is to always start by asking two questions: First, what am I trying to achieve? Second, do I personally have the expertise to create a strategy and execute it to achieve my goals?
If not, looking to outside expertise is advantageous, even if you know how to troubleshoot when your phone doesn’t automatically back up to the cloud, or if you don’t have a meltdown at the blue screen of death. A small investment upfront saves a lot on the back end and will do more to keep modern technology in the hands of employees, scale with your business and save costs over time.