For many smaller businesses, technology is a necessary evil – this is unfortunate. You know you need anti-virus protection. You need printers. You need a network and of course you don’t want anything to not work. But thinking of technology as an expense and hassle means that you are not using technology as a strategic asset.
Furthermore, if you are a small business right now, but have plans for growth – ie Inc Magazine or Fortune Small Business type businesses, then you must start using & planning for technology the right way. Think of $10 with a 5 year old and $10 with a 30 year old. You’ll get two different expenditure patterns. In your business, you must use technology as an adult, not like a child.
Computer World has an awesome article on some of the best practices of large businesses and what smaller businesses can learn.
The six lessons learned are:
- Put IT in your budget
- Plan your IT future
- Make IT part of management
- Take care of the basics
- Choose your vendors wisely
- Keep learning
Let’s have a look at one of the lessons, make IT part of management. Maybe you get a request for a big project. You’re not sure if you can do the project and so you pull together some of your management team. But guess who you don’t include? Your IT consultant or IT staff/team.
If you want to grow your business and use technology as a tool – you must include your technology team in management decisions. The perspective of a technologist can help you say YES when you thought you would have had to say no. Or help you say no to a project due to an aspect of technology that you did not realize.
Recently I read about a medical clinic tasked with serving the testing needs of a national company. They were not sure if they could ramp up and have enough clinics setup around the country, in time to fulfill the contract. Because they had their director of IT in the discussions they realized they could. His solution was to use wireless broadband cards at each new clinic. This would cut down the time needed to bring each new clinic online and connect to the home office – which was the reason the clinic was not sure they could handle the contract.