Futureproof Your Technology Investments In Three Steps
Technology is supposed to be something that makes our lives easier – but get it wrong, and it can cause untold headaches as well as potentially damaging your business. For under-staffed start-ups, having the right technology in place can be absolute game-changer – pushing up productivity, increasing profit margins, keeping you organized with limited administrative support and allowing you to gain a competitive edge and serve your customers better. But how do you make sure that you give the right decisions when you’re setting up? Technology is the one thing worth investing in – but you need to get it right. Here’s how to do that:
Make a Technology Audit
Start by knowing what tech kit you already have in the business. It may be that you’ve collected in piecemeal as the company has developed and there are lots of incompatible operating systems and pieces of kit. How well is what you have currently serving your business? Could it be adapted for other uses? What gaps are there in the technological capabilities that you now have? You don’t need to replace everything at once. Try categorizing things into ‘works but needs improvement’ ‘not fit for purpose’ and ‘fine for current use.’ Do your research on what new systems for small business are out there – sometimes it’s hard to think about what new solutions you could be using if you aren’t aware what’s available. Think about the processes you do as a business and what could be streamlined or made more accessible to allow you to focus more on delivering excellent customer service and expanding your business. Business areas such as communications, databases, order tracking software and accounting are often where you can make the greatest gains.
Futureproof Your Tech
As a big-ticket purchase, it’s only smart to consider future needs as well as current when paying out for new tech. Use your projections and business plans to get a picture of where you are likely to be in a couple of years’ time – will this current solution still serve you then? How easy is it to upgrade capacity or integrate with new systems? If you have engagements and customer meetings all over the place, is it better to invest in tablet computers and use Wi-Fi to access cloud systems wherever you go rather than paying to upgrade desktop PCs? What systems are there specific to the industry that you operate in that other companies are using successfully? It’s also worth investigating refurbished hardware. A lot of larger companies upgrade every year, meaning you can get nearly-new technology for a fraction of the price of out of the box – check providers such as m-suite.co.uk before buying new.
Get Support and Training
It’s no good spending money on new tech if no one knows how to use or maintain it. Consider hiring in specialist IT support on a temporary basis to troubleshoot any problems and make sure everyone is up to speed on the new systems. Have training manuals produced in-house that can be referred back to in case of any future complications? And make sure you are signed up for alerts on any security patches or upgrades that become available so you can stay ahead of the curve and keep your tech as up to date as possible.