Originally published by James on LinkedIn.
Traditional IT is broken. Servers that break down, email’s not coming through and networks clogging up. But even when the baseline is working – the core of your business IT function, there’s a new problem. It doesn’t do what you need it to.
New technology on the other hand is smarter, scale-able, works on your mobile and frees you from your desk.
So where’s the WOW factor in IT?
It’s not in your cupboard.
To get past the core issue of traditional IT it’s important to know that things are changing.
While you still need a baseline level of technology – old IT is a commodity. It’s a cost center that requires regular maintenance and upgrades and lacks innovation, new IT is cloud, software everywhere, data at your fingertips and the complexity no longer lies in keeping old systems maintained. It relies on you – as someone who understands your business – to make the best use of the tools and use it to wow your staff and your clients.
While you still need a baseline level of technology – old IT is a commodity. It’s a cost center that requires regular maintenance and upgrades and lacks innovation
What are the tools – where is the WOW?
Email is dated and many businesses are moving to Slack because it eliminates email and increases intra-office communication.
Accounting platforms have changed too – the file that contains all the critical financial information about your business and keeps you up at night wondering if it’s backed up has been replaced with flexible, cloud solutions like Xero or Zoho.
Managing tasks and projects can be done in real time with no back and forth by platforms like Trello.
Documents have changed too – you can have access to your documents and spreadsheets and collaborate together on them with your team with Office 365. A product that requires no infrastructure or installation.
Of course you may have industry specific tools for running your warehouse, your law firm or your transport business – but you can put those in the cloud or you might find a more agile replacement altogether. The current software may not be the necessity you’ve been led to believe.
None of these initiatives require old IT – they require a focus to change, good advice, redefining business processes and a redirection of IT capital to the things that matter most.
Here’s some tips for putting the WOW back in to your business through technology:
1. Open the door – there have never been more apps and software solutions on the market than there is there today. Explore everything. Look at other industries to see how they’ve broken through with innovation
2. Reduce commodity IT costs – something we do for our clients every day – by defining what should be upgraded, what must be kept in the baseline and what must be supported to keep day to day operations running
3. Use that freed up capital and freedom from your IT cost savings to invest in new processes, new tools and perhaps your own IP by way of an app or other technology solution
4. Resist the temptation to just focus on cost – saving cost is sensible business practice – investing in better systems and opening up new opportunities is sustainable business practice
Like you, I am blown away by the simplicity of an iPhone or the convenience of Uber. These companies put the right things first to create the best user experience without the frustration of the old ways of doing business. That’s wow.
You can do it too.
James is the Managing Director of I Know IT, a company founded on the basis that your IT should simply work. Once IT is working the goal is to use it to your competitive advantage.
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