Information technology: If you’re focused on keeping the lights on, you’re missing the boat
As a business owner, you are tasked with wrangling many moving parts. One of these “parts” is information technology and the applications that you rely on to run your business. In today’s world, you rely on these applications and systems for data storage purposes and other vital business functions. So why is it that so many businesses only care about keeping the lights on when it comes to technology?
What happens when the bulbs burn out and you can’t find a replacement? Do you have a contingency plan for when this occurs? If your business was down for a couple of days would you care? Nothing lasts forever, so just focusing on keeping the lights on without a plan for future replacement puts your business at risk. You need to look at the big picture when it comes to technology and your business, ensuring you have proactive mechanisms in place to identify risk which will enable you to make efficient business decisions surrounding your technology investment.
If you and your existing IT provider are engaged in a reactive relationship, the chances of risk within your environment is high. There has to be a percentage of time and effort focused on assessing the current state, reviewing the existing risks, and planning to move forward and proactively address weaknesses. The challenge is that there aren’t many IT service providers (who are focused on small businesses) that have true IT strategy and planning experience. Most smaller IT service firms are composed of technical individuals that have only worked within the “trenches” of IT.
You are also faced with the same challenge as a small business owner if your IT is managed by an “IT guy” that shows up once a month. It’s one thing to keep the lights on but what about change? What about taking advantage of the latest industry trends? What about being introduced to systems and solutions that businesses in your industry are leveraging to gain a competitive advantage?
Technology and IT in general isn’t about keeping the lights on. Yes, this is a part of it, but if you don’t have a road map of where you’re at today and where you’d like to be tomorrow, you are missing potential opportunities that could streamline businesses processes, eliminate risk within your environment, and open new doors to your business. Outside of just keeping the lights on, make sure you have time for thinking about change and innovation; ensure your IT provider, consultant, or IT team is presenting you with proactive options to move your business forward.
Technology is no longer just a part of the plumbing for your business; it can often be the catalyst for change which may allow you to leapfrog your competition. Instead of just focusing on keeping things running, think big picture to ensure you aren’t missing the boat of opportunity as it passes you by.