Savvy businesses will be taking advantage of the latest technological innovations to gain a competitive edge, and you should be too.
Everybody has been impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19. Whether you’re working remotely indefinitely or starting to plan your return to the office, there’s no doubt that working practices have changed immensely, and will remain different for the foreseeable future.
Understandably, many businesses are looking for areas where they can cut back financially and future-proof their business. But, when it comes to looking towards the future, you can’t overlook your use of technology.
The correct use of IT and technology is absolutely fundamental to the success of a business. Having the right IT foundations in place will enable your business to grow and develop in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, and this is something that needs to be planned now. Technology will always be developing and progressing, even during a pandemic the IT industry will continue to innovate and adapt. So, make sure that your business doesn’t get left behind!
You should prioritize your IT strategy now because having a strong IT strategy at the heart of your business will help to develop every other aspect of your business, giving you the perfect foundation for growth and success in the future.
Technology and the four pillars for business growth:
Planning for future growth and success is vital. For the most part, businesses don’t just become successful overnight. Their success is meticulously planned and measured, which is why you need to start planning for the future, now. If you’re currently experiencing a handful of things to do or are unsure of how to move forward, use this time effectively and refer to the four pillars for business growth. We’ve outlined the four pillars below, and how technology helps achieve each one of them, illustrating how an IT strategy is a necessity for overall success.
1. Organizational structure
Organizational structure refers to the structure of everything your business does, including job roles, training, policies, processes and culture. Having a strong organizational structure would mean optimizing every aspect of your business so that they work together coherently, leading to more sales, happy staff, and more potential for growth.
A good IT partner is essential for optimizing your organisational structure. You will need a provider than understands that every business is different and doesn’t apply a ‘one size fits all’ approach to your IT strategy. The structure of many businesses is becoming more and more inventive, especially during recent times. For example, following the pandemic, it’s likely that staff will be given the opportunity to work from anywhere, rather than being entirely office based. You will need an IT partner that can adapt to these structural changes and offer sensible, effective IT solutions. Don’t let IT be the thing that holds your business back from developing and adapting to modern working practices.
2. Business processes
Having clear and effective processes will ensure the smooth running of your business, limit the amount of errors, and ensure that tasks are completed efficiently.
Your business cannot run smoothly without the right IT systems in place. Suitable systems will streamline processes for you, increase the productivity of your team, and maximize your chances of success. You need an IT support provider that is proactive and able to spot areas where technology can improve your processes. As such, your business won’t be constrained by logistical problems and will be given the best opportunity to succeed.
3. Your product/service
For your business to grow, your product or service must be optimized. Consider whether what you’re offering is still relevant? During a pandemic, is there something different or more suitable that you could offer? Alternatively, could your existing products or services be adapted to be more efficient or useful? Or, are there any new opportunities now or new markets to explore?
Technology has a direct impact on every step of delivering or adapting new products and services. The right technology can assist with market research, ecommerce support and customer service, having a good IT support partner vital. Ultimately, technology is what allows you to connect with your customers at every stage of the buying journey.
4. Strategic growth planning
Success rarely just ‘happens’, it needs to be planned. Planning for growth and success is often overlooked in favor of dealing with the daily running of the business. During the pandemic, it’s completely understandable that other, more immediate problems may take priority. But, don’t let these immediate problems prevent you from planning for the future.
Think about your goals, opportunities and how you will measure your success. Then consult your IT support partner, they can help you to determine which IT systems and services will best apply to your business plan.
How an ineffective IT strategy limits your potential for success
Above, we’ve outlined how your IT strategy ties in with every aspect of planning for future growth and success. But you may be wondering what would happen if you chose not to focus on implementing technology…
Loss of productivity
Dealing with reoccurring IT issues will hold your business back. You need an IT partner that appreciates the value of time, for you and your employees. If an employee needs IT support for an issue that is happening regularly, think about how much unnecessary time is being spent to rectify the issue. Moreover, consider how much time you or your senior management teams spend working with your provider trying to fix IT problems. This time could be better spent working on business strategy and plans for growth. You need an IT support provider that focuses on long-term measures over ‘quick fixes’, meaning that you won’t find yourself dealing with the same problems again and again.
Furthermore, due to the recent furlough scheme, many workforces will have been reduced. As such, businesses will need their remaining workforce to be as productive as possible. Without the right technology, this will be extremely hard. Your IT provider will need to ensure that you have the right IT systems in place and that they work well for each individual department, as well as the business overall. This will avoid the duplication of work; whereby different departments are inputting the same data into different systems. For example, a member of the sales team and accounts department might input revenue data into different systems, which would be completely unproductive. Having the right IT systems and automation in place will streamline these processes and ensure that tasks are allocated effectively, meaning that your team isn’t wasting any time with unnecessary tasks.
Inability to adapt
A lot has changed about the way we work. Ask yourself, have you received effective IT support during the pandemic? Are you confident that technology isn’t holding you back or causing unnecessary issues within your business? When looking towards the future, the ability to adapt is crucial. You need an IT partner who rose to the challenge of remote working. The coronavirus pandemic was totally unexpected, but what’s to say something else won’t come along in the future that is just as unexpected? You need to be confident that your IT support provider can deal with these instances and protect your business in the future, allowing it to grow and succeed.
With many people now on furlough, your team may have found it difficult to delegate and manage the tasks of those that are away. An effective IT infrastructure will help with this and effective IT partners will help staff to understand key pieces of software, meaning that they can easily step in when others are away.
Additionally, many businesses may have experienced some communication problems during lockdown. With many people working from home, it’s harder to have meetings, discuss ideas with a colleague or ask for help from a manager. Your IT partner should have been the one to step in and solve these problems immediately. A good IT support provider will have suggested effective collaboration tools that meet the requirements of your business. For example, Microsoft Teams allows colleagues to communicate via chat, audio call and video call. It also allows colleagues to collaborate on documents together using intelligent cloud technology, proving that with the right IT set-up your business can overcome potential problems.
Unprepared for success
Business growth is likely not the first thing on your mind at the moment, and that’s fine. But, don’t let it be overlooked completely, otherwise you might find that your systems and processes will struggle to keep up with the demands of your business in the future. You need IT systems that can cope with the future needs of your business. Lay the right IT foundations for success before it’s too late!
Relying on old systems and taking an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach will ultimately cost you in the long run. It will mean that you miss out on opportunities where technology could have helped facilitate your businesses growth. You don’t want it to reach a point where you’re trying to make other aspects of the business fit around your IT strategy. Have you ever had a great business idea that you’ve been unable to implement due to unsuitable IT infrastructure?
Your IT partner should be invested in the future of your business. When it comes to IT, they should be preparing you for the future so that you don’t have to worry about logistics holding you back. Getting the right IT support will soon pay for itself, it will aid your overall efficiency, productivity and security, as well as supporting your future plans for business development.
So, how do you move forward now?
- Find the right IT support partner – choose an IT support partner that will enable you to lay the foundations to take your business forward in the future.
- Review your IT strategy – don’t wait until it’s too late. Make sure that your IT strategy fits the goals of your business. A good IT support provider will be able to guide you through this and suggest the technology that’s right for you.
- Make sure your business is optimized with tech – every stage of your business’ processes should be optimized with the right technology to make the job easier. Your IT support partner should be proactive, keeping you updated on technical advancements and opportunities that will be relevant to you.
- Have regular IT reviews – don’t let an initial IT strategy meeting be a one-off. Choose an IT partner that is invested in the success of your business and will support you as you develop over time, holding regular review meetings to monitor progress.