Best Practices in IT Decision Making
For some companies, their IT is like a boat to a fisherman: they could conceivably do the work without it, but they wouldn’t have a business. For this reason it is important to know how to ascertain which technology investments are right for your business at any given time. Let’s go through a few considerations decision makers should highlight when choosing new technology for their businesses.
Start With Business Problems
There is very little reason to add new technology to a business if the business already functions optimally. You know that saying, “you can’t draw blood from a stone”? Many business owners will try to add technology to their business only to find out that it is more of a hindrance than a benefit. If you want to choose the most beneficial technology, start with the parts of your business that don’t function the way that you’d like them to.
The best way to go about ascertaining this knowledge is to ask your employees what the business can do better. You might find that your staff has the best insight on what you can do to make their jobs less stressful and help them to be more productive.
When deciding which technologies to add to your business’ IT infrastructure, it’s important to prioritize the ability to secure the solution. The sad truth is that each day more and more businesses become victims of cybercrime, and this makes adding technology that much more difficult. In order to successfully add technology that is secure enough to use for business, business owners must realize that cybersecurity isn’t just about having the right preventative technology solutions in place, it requires a great deal of awareness and efforts from the entire staff.
It is important to have a well-thought-out information security plan in place that states the goals and priorities of the organization as it relates to cybersecurity. This extends to all aspects of the organization’s computing infrastructure, including social media, email, and other Internet-facing resources. Another consideration is to have a regularly-updated inventory that identifies all of the hardware, software, and sensitive data that the organization keeps. Beyond that, you’ll need an access control system in place and comprehensive employee training to ensure that your staff has all the necessary information and skills to keep your business’ data and infrastructure safe.
Consider Long Term Costs
Another important consideration is to figure out what the new technology will cost your business. Sure there is a price tag on new servers or workstations, you know what you pay for new software, but if you are looking to add to your business’ computing infrastructure, the actual cost of the solution is going to be much greater than the sticker on the box or what shows up on the invoice.
Is your new technology going to have to be replaced in two years? Five? Eight? You’ll need a plan of attack and an idea of what all the resources surrounding the new implementation will cost. While the point of new technology is to improve your business, what is an acceptable ROI for each new deployment? To do this most effectively, you’ll want to figure out the total cost of ownership (TCO) of any new technology. The TCO’s math isn’t always simple. The variables that go into it include:
- The cost of acquisition
- The cost of implementation
- The cost of operation
- The cost of improvement and maintenance
Each variable has several considerations. For example, the cost of implementation also includes the costs related to testing the technology and training your staff. These costs often dwarf the acquisition costs. You’ll need to figure out if a technology project provides the return you are looking for, or if adding the solution is going to cost your business more capital than it’s worth.
Understand Your Limits
You may not even know where to start when it comes to adding technology. Fortunately, the IT professionals at Directive can help you choose the right technology, help you get it in place, and assist you in every part of the process. Give our technology experts a call today at 607.433.2200 to learn more about how we can help you get the technology you need.