You don’t know what an IT strategy is or aren’t sure whether you have one in place – all businesses should have a comprehensive IT strategy in place, whereby they outline how technology will help drive business goals, now and in the future. This strategy should be established with the help of an experienced team of technology experts who can advise on the right technology to put in place and how it will add value to your business. It is always best to have a reliable IT leader in the team that can advise you when making important decisions from architecture to culture, staffing, and vendor negotiations. Not all companies can afford full-time IT leaders and here comes the virtual CIO. A Virtual CIO provides IT leadership and strategy guidance to an organization on a part-time/fractional basis, often remotely/virtually.
You’re partnered with an IT provider who isn’t proactive – you should be partnered with an IT support provider who can deliver proactive IT support as well as reliable 24/7 reactive IT support. You don’t want a provider that’s only there when things go wrong; you need experts on hand who will suggest and implement technology that will genuinely add value to your business.
You don’t have regular meetings with your IT provider – part of having a proactive IT provider involves having regular meetings (e.g. on a quarterly basis) whereby you discuss the effectiveness of your IT strategy and adapt it to the needs of your business.
You don’t review the technology you’re currently using – in these meetings you should discuss the technology currently in place. If something isn’t working as well as expected, you should decipher ways to improve it’s use or decide to stop using it in favour of other technology.
You don’t know where your data is backed up and stored – backing up data is crucial to the success of any business. In the event of an emergency, you need to know that your data can be easily recoverable and that you can access it at any time, from anywhere (this is why most businesses use cloud computing to store their data, as it’s accessible and secure).
Your team hasn’t been able to function efficiently during the pandemic – effective technology and IT systems are crucial to ensuring you can function efficiently under unusual circumstances (e.g. with the sudden shift to remote working in March 2020). If your team struggled to work effectively, or are still struggling now, your IT strategy needs to be adapted immediately to ensure your team can function as normal.
Your technology is outdated; it works for now but wouldn’t be able to cope with future growth – a common problem for most businesses is the “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” attitude to technology. But what they don’t realise is, if you don’t adapt your technology to the changing needs of your business, it will end up stunting your growth and limiting your success. This is why you need to ensure that your IT strategy accommodates your business goals, and can plan to implement the right technology at the right time in line with growth projections (this can always be amended if growth doesn’t happen the way it was planned to initially).
Your team aren’t satisfied with the tools and technology in place – if your team are experiencing the same IT issue time and time again, they’ll begin to get extremely frustrated; you’d be surprised how much technology can influence staff satisfaction. Ensure you ask your team for feedback on the technology they’re using. What’s working well? What could be improved? Are there any systems that could be utilised better?
You aren’t fully utilising the tech you already have in place – before investing in new technology, consider whether you really to. Are you already using platforms that could solve problems or streamline processes? For example, many businesses fail to fully utilise their CRM systems – it’s worth reviewing your current CRM system and looking for ways that you can enhance how it’s used.
Employees are completing tasks manually that could be automated – consider whether your employees are spending copious amounts of time completing menial tasks manually that could be easily automated. Inputting software that can automate these tasks will boost productivity and efficiency, allowing your team to focus on the more important tasks at hand.
You’re not confident in the security of your data – all businesses, no matter their size or industry, should have a stringent cyber security strategy in place to ensure their data is protected from cyber-attacks and data breaches as much as possible. This should include effective antivirus software, a fully managed firewall, staff training, password policies, etc.
You’re not confident in your team’s ability to recognise and avoid cyber threats – human error is often the number one reason for a data breach. Which means, as part of your cyber security strategy, you should enrol all staff in effective cyber security awareness training. This will teach them to spot and avoid potential cyber threats, maximising the security of your business.
You keep experiencing the same IT issues which is causing productivity loss and frustration – you need to partner with an IT support provider who will deliver long-term fixes, meaning you don’t keep experiencing the same ongoing issues. This will boost the overall productivity of your entire business and save employees the stress of constantly needing to contact IT support to rectify issues.
You don’t have an IT vision or plans to implement new technology to drive future goals – technology is progressing exponentially, so if you don’t make sure to keep on top of the latest tech, you will get left behind and outperformed by competitors. As such, you need to ensure that you’re always looking to the future and planning to implement technology that will take your business to the next level – a team of IT experts can help you determine what exactly that means for your business.
You implement new technology, but it doesn’t improve performance – when introducing new platforms, device and systems into your business, you need to measure how effective they actually are in adding value to your company. If you can’t quantify their success, you need to consider whether they were the right solutions for your business and consult a team of IT specialists who will be able to help deduce why that technology didn’t perform as expected, suggesting alternative options for improvement.