Stop doing business in the 90s

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Originally published by James on LinkedIn.

The 90s is when IT really took off – those heady days of figuring out how to run your business using new ‘innovative’ tools.  Tools that came in fairly limited and expensive forms like buying servers, dropping the fax machine and replacing it with email and shifting your books to one of a small handful of accounting programs that have dominated the past 20 years.  Many businesses were able to grow in the 90s and early 2000s because the barriers to communication were broken down.

But while some of those tools still hold some value, many are now just a nuisance and place limits on your growth – you only need to take a look at the endless stream of FYIs, Reminders and “got time for coffee?” meeting requests sitting in your inbox to know that the old 90s way of doing business is not sustainable.

IT has changed and your business needs to change or be left in the past.  Email is a good example – while you and your staff face an onslaught of email each day, new modern businesses and startups – some being your competitors – use Slack or Yammer to create logical channels for communication because it’s more intuitive.  While your documents sit on a server in a room designed in the 90s for 90s style businesses, others have already shifted it to cloud like Google, Office 365 or Dropbox, freeing themselves not only of traditional computer systems but more importantly enable work from anywhere.

Business is now mobile – your next generation of staff and customers are mobile and don’t have the skills or desire to work within old constraints.  Your shop front is now online, great people can work from anywhere, and your high street address is irrelevant.  This is not the 90s and it’s time for change.

Business is now mobile – your next generation of staff and customers are mobile and don’t have the skills or desire to work within old constraints.  Your shop front is now online, great people can work from anywhere, and your high street address is irrelevant.  This is not the 90s and it’s time for change.

You can change – it’s imperative that you do change

IT equipment, software and general support services is a commodity.   Unlike the 90s you can now go online and find the best price for computers, you can visit an Apple store anywhere in the world or a local JB Hi Fi and the baseline price for IT is about the same.  There’s no innovation there.

On the other hand, new IT requires new thinking and a new type of investment – R+D, app development, websites that drive sales, software that is available anywhere, cloud.

To start your journey in to the future here’s some quick tips:

  • Minimise your traditional IT expenditure, maximise your investment in new IT not because you can get it cheaper but because it frees up capital for new technology that will grow and add value to your business
  • Stop looking to the IT department or traditional IT support for innovation – it’s out there, not in here
  • Look at new software that helps you achieve flexibility by either increasing efficiency or maximising growth and scale
  • Keep moving – IT from the 90s was static with a lot of focus on maintenance and keeping the lights on.  New technology is agile and changes overnight – one of our values at I Know IT is to ‘Be Change’ because we don’t see it stopping any time soon..

The 90s was a great time, the start of the first computer technology boom.  That boom is over, a new one has begun.  RIP 90s.

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.

Visit iknowIT.com.au

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