The path of least resistance for most business owners is to put technology on the backburner until a computer breaks down or there is a network outage.
However, investing in an efficient IT system lays the groundwork for future growth. Not convinced? Read on to learn about seven ways you can optimize your bussiness' technology.
1. Technology streamlines communication, allowing for easier access to information.
A survey of 400 companies with over 100,000 employees found that the average cost of miscommunications per year is $62 million. With a system that keeps track of all updates and changes in real-time, errors are caught in their tracks and prevented early on.
Additionally, employees know who to direct their questions to, leaving departments well-integrated and working together seamlessly. An IT consultant can walk you through different software options and help you pick one that is most compatible with your company’s mission and communication style.
Alternatively, you can seek their guidance on building your own software with freelance developers.
2. Long-term project planning and strategizing becomes more straightforward and organized.
With the help of IT consultants, you will know how to most effectively use technology to stay on top of long-term goals. For example, you could utilize analytics software that reveals trends in client data, pointing you toward potential opportunities for the future of your company. With this technology, you’ll be able to generate specific ideas and create step-by-step plans to achieve concrete results.
In the long run, you will be adopting and implementing new technology as upgrades come out. You will need an IT consultant by your side to avoid losing your way in the process.
Research shows that when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, 92 percent of people never actually accomplish them. Strive to be in the 8 percent that completes the projects they've started.
3. Technology increases individual worker productivity.
Technology gets a bad rap for creating unnecessary distractions. It encourages multi-tasking which evokes a dangerously false sense of productivity.
But history shows that technological inventions have always increased workers’ productivity. Think of the invention of the wheel, or more recently, the dot-com boom of the 1990s. Today is no different. Modern tools are massively capable of enhancing efficiency in business operations. One of the ways IT consultants can help is by introducing technological solutions that increase individual workers’ productivity.
4. IT consultants enable you to stay ahead of the competition.
Surveys show that most small businesses are using outdated technology and an average of only two apps.
Other common tech-related mistakes include skimping on adequate IT security and neglecting to back up data correctly or efficiently. The same survey also found that 83% of small businesses do not have an IT staff, so you can count on gaining an edge with the expertise that IT consultants have to offer.
While it can be tempting to cut costs in the short term by not investing in IT support, there will come a point when you need it for either simple fixes or worse, security breaches. Regardless of your business’ size, don’t wait until an emergency to utilize IT services to the fullest.
5. It’s no secret that automation is disrupting the way we work and do business.
There is a widespread fear that choosing automation will eliminate jobs and leave many unemployed. However, there are countless advantages a business stands to gain from automating time-consuming tasks. Unfortunately, they are often overlooked.
For instance, while employees have traditionally spent anywhere from a few hours to several days creating reports by hand, there now exists software that generates them automatically. This doesn’t take away someone’s job, rather, it creates the opportunity for an employee to interpret what a given report actually means and apply that insight to guide decisions.
Since implementation of new technologies takes time, be sure to have IT consultants on hand to train your employees and answer their questions during the learning stage.
6. When simple, tedious aspects of jobs become automated, the employees’ motivation increases.
When employess are freed of menial tasks, they're able to tackle more challenging and rewarding projects. They are enabled to learn higher-level skills and become more competitive in their fields. Research has found that motivation and productivity levels are correlated, and specifically offices where employees are engaged in their work are 43% more productive.
The reality in most workplaces is that not enough learning takes place, which hinders career development and results in unmotivated and dissatisfied employees. This in turn propagates a vicious cycle that can be curtailed if a business implements automation effectively.
7. While working from home all the time isn’t necessarily optimal for most businesses, it can be necessary in the event of natural disasters and inclement weather.
These days, technology like virtual desktops and virtual private networks make it possible to work from home. In fact, a whopping 79% of employees report having worked from home when severe winter storms hit. If your business’ current IT system cannot support this, you run the risk of not only experiencing a loss of productivity but worse, falling behind competitors.
If you are geographically located in a region where weather is never really an issue, there is still an advantage to being able to work remotely: it greatly reduces the opportunity cost of being away from the office if you’re on a business trip.
Although not immediately obvious, IT Consulting helps businesses optimize the efficiency of their operations, beyond basic maintenance of hardware and software.