Predict and evaluate the impact of technology on your business
As a small business owner you'll rarely come across an easy decision. Rolling out a new product, hiring a specialist or investing in new infrastructure could all make the organisation sink or swim. Understanding how to evaluate your potential decisions, then measuring their subsequent performance, is the key to making future judgments with ease.
Start from the top
There are two things to remember when it comes to incorporating new technologies like cloud computing or mission-critical applications:
- The integration strategy will only be as successful as the professionals behind it.
- Spending more doesn't necessarily mean the company will perform better because of it.
The good news for small business owners is that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) surveyed 250 publicly traded companies and found no correlation between the cost of the technological investment and the financial result.
What that does mean is the selection of technologies has to make sense from a business perspective. For that, PwC recommended evaluating your decision based on four principles:
- Strike a balance between your IT budget and the value a solution would bring to business operations.
- Predict ability of your IT staff to carry out a successful strategy.
- Determine the potential benefits of the investment relative to the risk of failure.
- Establish a forward-looking blueprint for maintaining optimal efficiency of new technology.
Using the aforementioned you can begin to formulate which technologies are within your reach. For some smaller companies, investing in hybrid cloud integration may not be a viable strategy. While it may benefit the company, the cost of implementing and maintaining it could outweigh the advantages of, say, business process automation for hiring and onboarding new employees.
Having a qualified IT staff that is able to oversee the successful implementation and ongoing maintenance of whichever new technology you decide to incorporate is paramount to realising the most significant return on investment. Downtimes can not only lead to mission-critical applications going offline, but they can also lose the company customers.
Managed services are valuable in lieu of full-time IT staff.
Because of this, it's recommended that organisations without a fully dedicated IT employee utilise managed services. This allows professionals to execute the integration strategy and oversee the new technologies consistent uptime, allowing staff to fully leverage the benefits.
Evaluating your return
While calculating an exact return on investment will obviously vary for many depending on the cost and type of the project, there are a few metrics and key areas you can begin to look at to assess whether it was the right decision.
Start by understanding how much time is being saved through the integration. For example, you could evaluate improved network uptime through the inclusion of the cloud and balancing of workloads on the physical infrastructure. You can also assess how valuable the reliability is to your sales team.
For projects that involve business process automation, you may want to look at the error rates before and after the technology roll out. Is your company cutting back on costly mistakes? How much faster are key actions moving along?
Not every IT investment has to be major. Small scale upgrades, like a video collaboration platform, could save you time and money from having to fly across the country to meet a valuable client.
Then there are projects that don't necessarily provide immediate value. Cybersecurity may not seem like an immediate need, but it's something you'll wish you had when an attack takes place. Did you know that roughly three in every five small businesses that are hacked close their doors within six months?
Be sure to use your findings to figure out where you went right or wrong in your decision-making process, and apply that to future decisions. Contact an ANATAS representative today to learn more.