Like true love, the path to business growth never does run smooth: whatever your business vision, the journey towards it is made up of a multitude of steps and iterations.
You might think keeping your technology up to date is yet another obstacle to growth, involving lengthy projects and expensive downtime, but it doesn’t have to be – and using the most efficient systems possible might just give you the edge over the competition. Here’s our four top ways of making sure that if there are bumps in the road, they’re not from your technology:
Technology needs to be at the heart of your strategic planning, but make sure your IT team is focused on helping your people do their jobs, and delivering value for money. Assigning the right level of importance to your technology is a balancing act – too much and you risk becoming a slave to the system; not enough, and your staff won’t have the right tools to work effectively.
Every system has a ceiling in terms of capacity or performance – so make sure you don’t hit that ceiling at just the wrong moment by building scalability into your infrastructure. One simple way to do this is to insist that every IT proposal includes a section on what the proposed system will look like in five years’ time.
Growth is rarely linear: your business needs to be able to flex to match fluctuations in the market. That means your infrastructure needs to be flexible too, able to respond and adapt quickly to support what you need to deliver. Cloud platforms often work on a pay for what you use model, but you can also design your own infrastructure to allow you to add and remove services quickly without costly hardware.
Think financial planning
Technology investments often come in waves: by planning ahead you can smooth out the spikes in both capital and operational expenditure. You may be able to spread the cost of significant capital projects across the year, or by spending a little more on operational support, you may avoid larger capital costs further down the line. The key is a living, breathing budget aligned with your business priorities, enabling you to identify savings and plan for expenditure.
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