How IT investment drives company performance
According to Deloitte’s 2014 CIO Survey, for many companies, investment in technology is becoming a strategic priority, and rightly so, since almost every aspect of business today is heavily influenced by technology. From accounting to customer service to product development to marketing, we need technology to operate and innovate. It’s simply impossible to reach your business goals without reliable technology.
Lucky for us, we have more IT options today which are way smarter, more agile, and more affordable than before. Studies have shown that businesses leveraging new technologies become more productive, innovative, and smarter, particularly with how they engage with customers. It would come as no surprise, therefore, if those investing in IT outperforms those that do not. These new technologies are leveling the playing field especially for the small business players.
Here’s why IT investment is important to every business regardless of what industry they’re in:
- IT improves communication. Technology creates channels for easier and faster communication amongst your staff. Consequently building a stronger and motivated workforce. An early study done by McKinsey showed that “improved communication and collaboration through social technologies could raise the productivity of interaction amongst workers by 20 to 25%”. Communication channels shouldn’t be limited only to emails and phone calls. There are now new technologies you can invest in that offer more efficient ways to communicate and share information not only internally but also with other stakeholders such as your clients, suppliers, and business partners, without causing too much work interruption. Some technologies you need to consider:
- Business Internet – Slow internet hinders productivity. There are now several high speed internet options you can choose from depending on your business requirements (e.g. NBN, 4G, ADSL, Fibre Optic, etc.)
- IP Telephony – You can replace your traditional telephony solution with a networked-based communication solution that’s flexible, at manageable costs. (e.g. hosted or onsite PABX)
- Video Conferencing – Low cost but highly reliable video conferencing solution that will allow you to conduct meetings with your staff and other stakeholders from anywhere, using desktops and/or mobile devices. (e.g. Chromebox for Meetings, Office 365)
- Instant Messaging – Skype for Business, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Lync
- IT drives business efficiency. Technology saves time by eliminating bottlenecks and speeding up the work process. With good technology, problem areas can easily be pinpointed. Whilst solutions, improvements and innovations can be executed quickly. Cloud solutions, whether they are public, private or hybrid, can give your business a lot of flexibility. With a cloud solution, there’s no infrastructure costs, no maintenance costs, and you can scale up and down as needed. MYOB says businesses who use cloud computing are 30% more likely to increase their revenue than those that don’t. Here are various cloud options you might want to consider for increased efficiency:
- Office Suite – Microsoft Office 365, Google Apps, Zoho Office
- Corporate Email – Gmail for Business, Microsoft Office 365
- Storage/backup – Dropbox, OneDrive
- CRM (Customer Relation Management) – Salesforce, Netsuite, SugarCRM
- Online Project Management – Sharepoint, Microsoft Office 365, Smartsheet, Asana, Wrike
- Virtual desktops – Google Chromebook, DaaS (Centrix cloudDesk)
- Accounting – QuickBooks, Xero, Saasu, MYOB LiveAccounts
Some hard facts:
- IT boosts the morale of your employees. Technology investment and employee morale are closely linked. How? Not long ago, we discussed how IT plays a major role in creating a great corporate culture for your business, which in turn promotes productivity. Your people need the right tools not only to do their work but also to do more. Lack of adequate technology necessary for optimal work diminishes morale. In the same way, they will feel supported and motivated if they see that your business has the tools to expand quickly and efficiently. The key is getting everyone on board. Before you make an investment in technology, discuss it with your employees who will be using these new technologies. Make everyone a part of the process. If you dump it on them without consulting them, you might find yourself fighting to get them to use it.
- IT increases team performance. Nothing motivates your staff more than working in an office where everything works seamlessly. Collaboration tools allow them to communicate in real time with their co-workers, ensuring work gets done right away. Also, studies show that if your employees can access their work from anywhere and any time, they tend to accomplish more. Allowing mobile devices (personally-owned or company-issued) to be used in the workplace or for remote working is critical to business. According to Gartner, 85% of businesses are expected to use some type of BYOD program by 2020. The rising number of companies who are planning to adopt a BYOD program is perhaps due to the fact that most Australians think smartphones and tablets made them more productive at work (Ernst and Young (EY).
Technology can transform your business. You just need to plan carefully based on your business needs and budget. Don’t embrace everything. Keep in mind that IT investments that are unfit for your needs will just remain underutilised. This can be a costly hit to your bottom line. Prioritise and align technology investments into areas that drive real growth and innovation for the business. And, it will not take long before you see results.
If you are looking to improve your business processes, contact us for free expert IT consultation.