Unless you’re an internet entrepreneur, many business owners don’t like technology. Maybe you see yourself…
5 Principles of Technology Use
In my last article, I explained why your Information Technology (IT) assets are so valuable to your business, and hopefully, this has or will galvanise at least a few of you into action.
But pleased as I am that this might be the case, there are a few ground rules you should be aware of before you head off, credit card in hand, to your nearest technology provider.
The problem is that many businesses buy IT systems and solutions with no real plan. Typically, they identify a requirement and after a little research, come up with a solution. But all too often, these decisions are made in isolation, without reference to other areas of the business, and without understanding how they should fit in the wider scheme of business IT.
This ‘whack-a-mole’ approach means that expensive IT assets aren’t delivering a full return on investment and often creates an environment where it’s all too easy to think that yet another solution is required to make up for the shortfall.
So, short term, tactical purchasing, while perhaps solving an immediate issue, is far from best practice, just about guarantees that other issues will arise, and may, in fact, be the cause of some of them.
What’s needed then is a more strategic approach to help you understand and make the best possible use of your IT, and to guide decision making in the increasingly frantic and volatile world of modern information technology.
And that’s why I developed my FASES methodology. This has 5 principles, each of which has three tenets:
1. Foundation – Systems | Solutions | Strategy
This is the core of your business IT.
The core of your business is comprised of your major systems such as an ERP and your fundamental activities such as your backups, disaster recovery and the activities of your managed service provider. These are augmented by your package solutions and other tools, and these should all be aligned with the needs of your business and marketing strategies.
2. Assistance – Equip | Educate | Encourage
This is all about the needs of the people who run your business and their three primary requirements.
Your IT is there to empower your team, so put them front and centre and equip them with the tools they need to do their job. Provide ongoing staff development and education to maximise their capacity.
Create evangelists to promote the use of tools and demonstrate exceptional leadership. Embrace all that your IT has to offer and encourage your team to do the same.
3. Simplify – Processes | Procedures | Practices
This builds on the ideas of Foundation and Assistance but from the perspective of the needs of the business and the efficiency of the team.
The simpler a business is, the easier it is to drive efficiency, so take an objective look at your procedures, and try to find ways in which IT can incrementally improve your day-to-day activities.
Understand how repeatable processes and can help you guard against the unforeseen, minimising exposure to the volatility of staff turnover, and consider innovative IT solutions as you strive for best practice.
4. Engage – Customers | Connect | Collaborate
How does your IT help you interact with your customers, prospects and the many other 3rd parties that your business deals with?
IT in modern businesses plays a pivotal role, allowing you to create multiple touch points with your customers, delivering superior service and generating a greater customer lifetime value.
It allows you to connect with prospects through your website and other marketing media, and can greatly improve collaboration between your business and other third-party people and machines to simplify the supply chain and other operational activities.
5. Strength – Invest | Innovate | Iterate
Finally, strength is a reminder that if an organisation is to continue to thrive, it will only do so if the IT at its core remains robust and well maintained.
You’re in a race against your competitors, so you need to continue to invest in your IT assets, and if you want to gain an edge over your rivals, you’ll need to create innovative solutions to your problems.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that your organisation and technology are continually changing, and you can only keep your nose in front by employing an iterative approach, ensuring that all aspects of your IT and its use are regularly reassessed.
The choice is yours.
So, in 2019, which will it be?
More random and haphazard IT purchases that only solve the problem straight in front of you, or something that will become part of a long term strategy that will support your business for years to come?
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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