Do you know how many businesses there are?
Let’s start off with some simple data: There’s more than 1.1 million registered businesses in Canada. They aren’t all directly competing against you, but you all have the same goal: Profit. So, how do you stand out? There are obvious things that help, like having more capital and better marketing. That said, many people underestimate the value of business IT.
Now, I know many managers and executives don’t think about business technology as investments in the way they do for other assets. Often it’s because it can be hard to figure out the ROI, making it too easy to treat IT investments as sunk costs. In fact, business technology can be used to win, serve, and retain customers. IT investment can be strategic to the whole life-cycle!
Why Use Business Technology?
Well, we’re going to get more technology in our lives and our world no matter what. For example, we’ll have a billion web-connected TVs soon. To make the most of technology, we must shift from looking at business IT as sunk cost to the view that it can create value.
To show this in a concrete way, consider this analogy. Think of IT as an exercise bike. If you make proper and regular use of the bike, it will make you healthy (or healthier). The outcome is what matters to you. The number of hours you spend on the bike shouldn’t matter more.
Bringing this back to business IT, the same idea holds. The amount of time logged using technology shouldn’t be your focus; how it increases your business is the key. And yet, many people don’t look at the right thing. That’s why it becomes hard to understand the true value of any IT resource.
To help everyone understand how technology adds to businesses, we’ve put together a list of their benefits for you. Business IT can help you:
1. Understand budgets and flag issues.
One of the key things technology can do (much) better than humans is to identify events and match them to outcomes and/or conditions. IT is also much better at automatically reporting. You’d need to put the right technologically-enhanced management system in place first, of course, but you will then better understand the costs and rewards from specific investments. This IT benefit is often overlooked.2. Improve communications to align interdepartmental goals.
Different units can have different goals (especially on the surface). It’s even truer when a company is spread out over great distances. Today’s technology make all communications much easier, which increases the chances of everyone reinforcing the company’s overall goals as well as getting departments to understand each other’s more immediate aims and needs.
3. Decide who benefits from investing in IT.
Up to this point, the focus has been on IT inside a business. It’s also crucial to understand how technology impacts customers, partners, and other related parties. The end decision in buying and using specific types of IT has to support the needs of both staff and everyone else. Usually though, those two are linked (after all, an employee made more effective by IT should mean happy customers too, right?).
4. Encourage decisions that benefit more people at the same time.
The outgrowth of the above three points is that it becomes possible to make IT purchase and deployment decisions that benefit more people in one go.
And with these thoughts in mind, here are some suggestions on what to do!
What You Can (and Likely Should) Do
1. Get powerful people in the organizations to back you.
I can’t emphasize this enough: Influential leaders are key to driving company success with technology. You’ll never get anywhere without their support, and you’ll sustain nothing without them staying on board. If you go to them prepared with the list of benefits I’ve described above, you’ll have better chances of winning them over. And when you get buy-in…
2. Have a multidisciplinary team focus on IT management.
This is critical. You’d want a team with expertise in finance, infrastructure, and operations (at least). This doesn’t have to be their only job (and budgets would often mean it can’t be), but it does have to be a real responsibility. You need capable people to manage IT (and telecom) assets, after all. And, you have to encourage accountability to get more of it. Overall, though…
3. Don’t wait; start NOW.
Start doing a solid analysis of your needs, your company vision, and your (realistic) desired outcomes now. Importantly, there needs to be a cutoff point for this planning. And when that’s done, you start looking at the technology that will get you there.
Why this urgency? It’s because the big companies have already adopted business technology in huge numbers to get even huger profit. And many others are jumping on-board. You don’t want to lag behind!
If you need more information…
You should have a chat with experts! Fortunately, we’re here to help. Cimpl is Canada’s leader in IT and telecom expense management. Our solutions help our customers get the most out of their business IT. You can see how by contacting us today!