Is technology important to your business?

“Is IT (Information Technology) important to your business?”

Many would answer in the affirmative but how important is it really? You have heard of the saying “actions speak louder than words”, this is also true when it comes to business. Do your actions match your answer the question above? When I perform a one day review on a business, generally actions do not match the answers.

Let’s think about this for a moment. We all use computers, tablets, mobile phones and the internet for work and play. We use it without thinking it is the first thing many of us reach for, especially when looking for some information. We all use IT without thinking. IT is ubiquitous there is nothing that doesn’t have some level of interaction with technology, either directly or indirectly. This will become ever more so when the “Internet of Things” becomes more prevalent – connecting all devices i.e fridges, freezers, cars etc… to the internet.

Industry papers constantly talk about how IT is changing the landscape – how many read this and disagree?

If IT is so important to the future of our businesses why are we neglecting it? Why do we not invest in it properly? I don’t mean throw money at the latest systems and technology to stay at the leading edge of things. But to invest in it properly, invest in the people, the ones who develop and maintain it. Treat them like advisers and paraplanners give them a training and competency program, help them with their continual professional development – this will be paid back in spades as your business benefits from the greater expertise leading to new opportunities. Many have a junior within the business who has been delegated with IT, if they are genuinely interested give them some help. They would benefit greatly if they had access to somebody who can coach and advise them.

It makes business sense to invest so you are able to expand your horizons and avail yourself of the new opportunities that technology can bring. It is one area that is neglected when reviewing strategy. Investing in new systems and technology without investing in your people is a bad business decision which I am sure everyone is aware.

What to do? How to start?

Speak to the businesses in other industries that you think are getting the most out of technology, see what they are doing differently, can you emulate any of it?

Technology is expensive and can be very costly if you go into it blind – so don’t go into it blind. You wouldn’t review your finances without specialist help, so why would you risk it with IT? Get some independent advice there are many interim, non exec IT Directors, CIO,CTOs out there, engage with one!

Perform a review of your systems – get a baseline, understand what is possible and what isn’t.

It isn’t all black magic and voodoo!