New developments have made the creation of complex applications and online tools easy to purchase. But what is included in the software? Does it really work as advertised, will the provider still be around in 12 months and if not what happens to our data?
A worrying scenario for businesses.
There is a lot at stake when deciding whether or not to invest in the latest technology. Research shows that a business should spend 6% of revenue on IT every year. So how do you decide? A technology partner can make or break your business. Does your company have a lack of IT skills, are you over dependent on outsourcing?
Choosing the right IT support company is vital. Are they enthusiastic about what they can do/do they understand your problems and needs/how flexible is their support/what services will the support contract include/are they local?
Integrating applications is another challenge. You may have all the features you like in one application, but how does it talk to another application? There is a rapid rate of change, so how can you vet appropriate systems? Has software and the Cloud made things more dangerous for small businesses? Do your providers have a data-destruction policy?
At a recent meeting, members of The Business Exposure Group discussed some of the challenges they faced on a day-to-day basis and came up with the following points
- Don’t scrimp on technology but shop around for the most appropriate system for your business
- How much do you lose in downtime from your old system, make sure your IT support is available 24/7
- Make sure your back up system saves all documents including drafts. How often do you test your back up to see what you retrieve?
- Know what your website is for and make sure it engages your customers
- Use analytics to harness on-line traffic
- Make sure you are mobile, customers won’t wait until you are back in the office
- Have a strong password policy to protect your system
- Take advantage of teleconferencing
- Choose a UK company for hosting, it will help with your SEO
- Have reliable equipment to help stay ahead and innovative. 40% of PC’s in small businesses are more than 3 years old and operating on old windows systems with a whole host of problems
- Accounting software – ask yourself, does it free up a lot of time?
Technology is constantly improving and it is vital that businesses keep up to date, to stay ahead of their competitors.