Four Things to Consider when Forecasting your IT Needs (and Budget)
There’s nothing like the power of new technology to destabilize a business: Tools designed to make life easier can just as easily lead to huge problems. To avoid being overwhelmed by unexpected shifts in technology, smart organizations strategically forecast potential issues and needs. By preparing in advance, they stay ahead of the competition and implement change in a structured, agile way.
Unsure of where to start? Here are some of the tech trends and needs that are likely to shake up your business’ IT in the coming year
Mobile: Americans now spend more time consuming digital media on a mobile device than they do on a desktop or laptop computer. This shift has already affected many businesses, and its impact will only grow. You might consider developing your own app or using a third-party app to promote your services. Many consumers also now expect mobile payment and account options. If nothing else, invest in a website that is responsive and readable on mobile devices. Advertising should be optimized, and make sure email communications and newsletters work nicely on smaller screens.
The cloud: Your business probably already relies on the cloud in one way or another, but a major move to the cloud can mean substantial savings on hosting costs. Moving to the cloud can also cut down on operational demands: Remote servers receive regular, automated updates from specialized professionals, so your team will no longer be responsible for maintaining on-site hardware. The cloud also offers benefits in terms of security, collaboration and remote access. Consider whether you might benefit from moving to the cloud and remember that many vendors and platforms are becoming increasingly cloud-based.
New technology: You may not know what The Next Big Thing is, but you know it’s coming. Smart businesses operate under the assumption that changes will happen. You may opt for valuable updates to your current tools or discover an entirely new trend breaking into the industry. Either way, be open to new technology and developments that will help propel your business forward. Adaptability and agility pay off.
Training: Once you’ve invested in tools for your business, make sure you get your money’s worth. One easy way to sink tech ROI is by failing to train employees to use workplace technology. Don’t assume that they will easily pick up or use new software. When you make a change or hire a new team member, train them. Webinars, automated courses or in-person workshops give your employees the knowledge they need to utilize technology, leading to increased efficiency and output.
Always remember that technology is meant to make life easier, not harder. And while today’s technology landscape is always full of surprises, there are also predictable problems. The demand for mobile, the cloud, new breakthrough technology and poorly trained teams can represent major stumbling blocks for any business if caught off guard. They also present great opportunities to add value and increase efficiency. Consider them when forecasting your IT strategy and budget for a significant competitive advantage.