IT Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Most business leaders, regardless of the size of their organisation, face the same issue:

They’re experts in their field but not in information technology (IT).

This is of course how it should be. A good leader should play to her or his strengths and hire others to solve issues in which they lack expertise.

But for some reason, many seem to think that they can muddle through with their IT systems and solutions and save a few bucks by doing it themselves. And perhaps if they get a little stuck, they might badger the IT repair guy the next time he pops by, phone a friend, or ask a related millennial who’s quite good with computers.

Not surprisingly, this laissez-faire approach to the application of a fundamental asset means that businesses often fall a long way short of best practice, and rather than saving them money, it could be costing tens of thousands of dollars every year.

So, in the hope that you’ll keep your hard-earned lucre where it should be, here is my list of the seven IT mistakes you should try to avoid:

1. Lack of training.

Your team needs proper training in the tools you give them. Without it, they’ll be inefficient, inaccurate, and worst of all, they’ll be demotivated. Most employees consider personal development to be in the top five features they look for in an employer and it often ranks above money.

So, invest in your team’s education. They’ll be better at their job, and you can get away with paying them a little less as well.

2. New systems and solutions.

When implementing new tools, encourage your team to adopt them. If you don’t, you risk them being sidelined or ignored. Ensure training coincides with implementation and accept there will likely be a downturn in productivity in the short term.

If need be, hire a specialist for a few days to help out. It will cost a little more, but they’ll easily pay for themselves by getting your team up to speed more quickly.

3. Setting and forgetting.

Just because your solutions of yesteryear used to solve all your problems, it doesn’t follow that they still do. Review your IT regularly and be sure to ask your team for a frank opinion as to whether their tools serve their needs fully.

4. Poor strategy.

You don’t need a complex IT strategy. You just need to make sure that it supports your business and marketing goals. So, think carefully about where you want your business to be tomorrow because it’s far cheaper to build future-ready solutions than it is to find out the ones you have aren’t cutting it when tomorrow finally comes.

5. Failing to engage with customers.

The majority of customers now prefer to have their initial engagement with a business online before talking to a person, yet most business owners believe it to be the other way around.

This doesn’t mean you need to spend money on the bleeding edge of technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) or chatbots, but you do need your website and social media to work for you, delivering value that customers and prospects can consume before they contact your team.

6. Lack of investment.

If only you didn’t have competitors. Sadly for you though, you do, and the smart ones are finding new and innovative ways of leveraging technology to make their team more efficient and their customers more engaged, and that means they have an edge.

Regular investment in IT means that your team will remain competitive and ready to deliver the best possible customer experience.

7. Thinking of it as a cost.

Thinking of IT as a cost, limits investment and stifles innovation. It guarantees that your team will be demotivated, inefficient, and unable to provide anything other than an inferior customer experience.

Unless you embrace your IT as an asset, you are condemning your business to a long, slow demise.

Business today is digital, and this means you need a good handle on how your technology assets deliver value for your organisation. You don’t need to be an expert, but you need to know enough to avoid the common pitfalls.

But please don’t spend your time muddling through. Hire a professional or two to guide you towards the right decisions. They’ll be worth every cent and a lot more besides.

I know, I know. Spending money on IT and then some associated professionals as well, feels expensive, and even though you might like to, you question whether you can afford it.

Perhaps though, what you should be asking yourself is whether you can afford not to?

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