Common Mistakes Made by Small Businesses When Evaluating Their Technology Needs |

There are several recurring mistakes that small companies seem to make when addressing their technology needs. Some of the more typical small businesses mistakes include:

1. Small businesses often find themselves in a circumstance where their lack of knowledge, research or preparation with regard to their IT and Networking needs can lead to hasty decisions and costly mistakes. For many companies simply choosing the wrong IT vendors or technology track can lead to major problems if there is a critical systems failure. Or worse yet, failing to properly plan for potential critical failures can cause even bigger problems such as the permanent loss of data or significant downtime that puts your business at risk!

2. Another Similar (but different) error, includes spending too many precious IT dollars on the wrong things. I’ve seen many organizations where the owner purchases the wrong type of equipment (printer, scanner, fax, copier, etc) and then ends up causing their own process bottlenecks. If you are not thoroughly versed in the technology being used or that should be used to support your organization – take the time to research or speak with a professional to help you determine the best technology track to help meet your short and long term needs.

3. Being frugal to a fault. Most businesses rely on their network and computer systems to maintain a functional office, but many small business owners are not comfortable with putting money into technology, upgrades, or new equipment even when it is necessary and affordable. This could also manifest as keeping the wrong technology in use or holding back on upgrades to cut costs in the short-term. Though this may work occasionally it does leave most business owners with their fingers crossed, hoping that their IT “strategy”, or lack thereof does not collapse around them.

4. Failing to be proactive. Most businesses are rarely aware of the complexity of their network systems until there is a failure. This means that until there is a problem, little is done to ensure that software patches, updates and network health monitoring are not done. The irony being that were they to monitor proactively, the chances of a critical system failure or data loss would be vastly reduced. Reactive approaches to IT infrastructure rarely work on any type longer-term timeline.

5. Not planning for growth. All small businesses want to grow their business. They want to be in a situation where progressive steps toward becoming a larger organization happen daily. Often though, many small business IT systems were not purchased with the intention or potential for growth. This can be a variety of reasons, lack of knowledge, budgetary limitations, or even failure to plan effectively. No matter the reason, the lack of scalability can lead to a very cost ineffective repeat purchasing of technology.

For any small business, the practice of wasting precious dollars trying to repair old technology, create band-aids, or engaging in an overall “break-fix” type of haphazard IT approach can be very common. This IT strategy means that the business is always dealing with problems, process bottlenecks and IT Support costs, when in many cases a smarter outlay of capital initially, or even the use of a more proactive monitoring of existing equipment can result in greater gains with existing technology infrastructure.

Essence Of Information Technology Landscape In Business Organizations |

Any manufacturing organization would ideally have its Vision and Mission to guide them through its future course.

But does the organization have an Information Technology vision in place. Some organization may question this need, they may feel that the organizational focus should be on its core competency and Information Technology just plays a role of an enabler. But on the contrary such organizations are in greater need of an Information Technology vision. The role of Information Technology is that of a business driver in today’s competitive environment and not just an enabler.

Now lets analyse the need and essence of Information Technology Landscape for a business organization.

Consider an XYZ organization, which after half a decade of existence had entered a phase of business growth. Till date the role of Information Technology would have been that of a support system. My experience says that most of the organizations in such a scenario tend to focus on their core competency and grabbing more business opportunities, and almost no attention is given to the key role Information Technology can play.

Keeping in mind the type of competition and constraints the business organization faces, like for example high demand and need for rapid increase in manufacturing capabilities, need of sizeable investments to enter new markets or more focus for business tie ups, its apparently difficult to focus and believe that Information Technology can be a business driver. But the fact of the matter is, it really is. So the question is how can it be done?

The organization requirements can be divided majorly into functional requirements (very specific to the industry domain), routine transactional requirements, content management requirements, workflow requirements and Infrastructural requirements.

Now the organization has to have an Information Technology Landscape plan, based on its current and future business landscape.

There can be phase wise implementation of the Information Technology landscape plan. Start with covering the domain functionalities (R&D, F&D etc), the benefits would be evident in this case. Followed by transactional systems (like ERP) and then content management systems. The benefits of such systems will be realized over a period of time, ideally after the stabilization period.

For workflow systems, they have to be built at an enterprise level. These workflow systems are of critical importance to an organization. The effectiveness of above systems can be greatly hampered by an inefficient workflow system in place.

Information Technology infrastructure is an on going process in an Information Technology landscape implementation. Any effective technology solution would have to be right collaboration of business software applications and hardware infrastructure.

The most critical of all is to always have an Integration Route, which the Information Technology landscape implementation strategy would follow. This well planned Integration Route is required for a holistic Information Technology perspective.

Gradually as the Information Technology landscape builds up in the organization, there will corresponding benefits in terms of business process automation, business process management, and finally leading to effective knowledge management with in the organization. In such a scenario, the Information Technology acts as a business driver; there onwards Information Technology perspective will be part of any future organizational strategy in scaling business growth.