Your business may be thriving, but if your IT infrastructure is weak, it’s only a matter of time before something goes wrong. Critical equipment could fail, or a security breach could derail your entire operation and cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars — or more.
Even if you have a strong IT staff, there’s always room for improvement. In a world that increasingly depends on technology, you can’t afford to neglect current or potential holes in your IT plan and strategy. Looking to prepare for the future or address concerns you spot right now? Here’ what to do.
1. Have a plan
What do you want your organization to do? What are your key goals, initiatives, and objectives? Outlining your goals will help you narrow down your IT needs. Perhaps you want to have certain networking systems in place, or you’re looking to create a communication platform to help employees work on critical projects together.
Making this happen might involve purchasing new equipment or hiring specialized experts. The objectives you define at the beginning will direct the rest of your strategy. That’s why is so important to create a plan that will work as a roadmap later on.
2. Look outside your organization
You may already have IT personnel, but if you want to improve your services, maybe you’ll have to look elsewhere. Consider using IT staffing services to assist with specific projects that demand additional work or specific talents.
If only for a limited amount of time, you may need the help of a specialized expert to help you create a stronger security system or install certain updates. People with the required skill set may not work within your organization or be locally available. That’s why outsourcing should always be in your consideration since it can deepen the talent pool from where you can fish candidates out.
3. Educate your staff
Using technology well and safely isn’t just the responsibility of the IT department. All employees must be aware of how and what they’re using for work. Develop a strict technology policy and offer training and seminars on how to properly use the equipment. Keep your staff abreast of hacking attempts, phishing schemes, and other cybersecurity threats.
Work with your IT professionals to ensure that everyone knows how to use their devices properly. You may need to offer “refresher” courses as needed to ensure that everyone is aware of what they need to do to be digitally responsible.
4. Stay aware of news and trends in IT
Don’t just rely on your IT manager to inform you about the tools you need to keep your organization thriving. Remain aware of technology news so you can evaluate for yourself. This will help you know whether you’re making sound investments for your business. For instance, perhaps you’ll find out about a new app that will enable people to stay more organized or a project management tool that increases productivity.
This goes for security threats, too. You may learn about a series of hacking attempts, for example, and then you’ll be able to inform your staff and keep your organization safe.
5. Consider value
What are particular devices and equipment adding to your organization? Before you invest in the new and latest tool, make sure you consider how it will contribute to your business. Don’t equip your staff with the newest model of iPads just because they’re the latest fad. Instead, think about how they will help you meet your objectives. Perhaps, for example, you’d like your staff to be able to accept Square payments at conferences.
This goes for staffing, too. You may not need a full-time IT department. You might be able to function with outsourced IT services to handle critical issues — a less costly but more valuable alternative in the long run, depending on your goals.
Communication is critical for every aspect of a business, and IT is no different. You should be working closely with your IT personnel to discuss and update your technology, thinking about how it fits into the bigger picture. Part of communication involves listening, too. That means taking your IT staff’s advice on topics like the equipment you need and issues you should prioritize, as well as working through kinks in your overall technology strategy.
As a business leader, you should always be looking for ways to improve. And since technology is so important to your success, continually evaluating and refining your IT services is essential for progressing your mission as a company. First and foremost, consider where you want to go as a company — and hone your IT plans and structure from there.