About twenty years ago, when computers were starting to bloom like mushrooms on desks around the country, many small and medium enterprises jumped in with both feet. This was the way of the future, and nobody wanted to be left behind in the dark ages. They began to purchase hardware components and a library of software that all too soon became redundant or never worked well in the first place. Information technology, like any other field of new endeavour, was proving to have some growing pains. Like Betamax, New Coke and Polaroid instant movies, many good ideas just didn’t work out the way everyone expected.
Fast-forward to 2018 and we’re starting to feel overwhelmed by the sheer selection of programs, apps, and hardware components on the market. Even trusted brands like Google and Apple have produced some flops along the way, so how do you know which IT products to invest in and which to avoid? Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer but here are the some of the things you should be thinking about before parting with your IT dollars.
1. How mature is the technology?
Whether or not you’re willing to take a risk on something brand-new depends on what you’re planning to use it for. Select well established components for things like backend security or your primary database. You don’t want to be the guinea pig when it comes to something that important. Save experimenting with new technologies for things that won’t create a crisis if they don’t work out to be as wonderful as advertised.
2. Availability of Updates
Choose technologies that provide regular updates, patches and bug-fixes. You want to be able to depend on the provider to keep their software up to date to meet any security concerns and to ensure it continues to operate effectively as you build your system infrastructure.
3. Perform a Task/Time Analysis
It’s impossible to know what kinds of IT solutions will help your business if you don’t know what the problems are in the first place. Survey your team to find out how much time they spend each day performing individual tasks. Their answers will help you determine where you need to invest more resources in IT. Do they need multiple communication tools? Faster internet? Better financial software? By asking the right questions, you’ll be able to focus on the IT they need to get the job done and won’t waste money on sparkly toys they won’t use.
4. Ease of Use
Some members of your team may be computer programmers while others are still figuring out how to manage their email accounts. Regardless of the level of proficiency among your end-users, only invest in IT solutions that they’ll be able to use effectively. If you’re looking at five different pieces of software that all do essentially the same thing, pick the one that’s most intuitive and lets people hit the ground running, straight out of the box.
Many small business owners invest in technology that meets an immediate need but won’t be of much use once a particular project is finished. If you want to invest wisely, you need to think beyond your immediate need and consider the entire scope of your system. Is there a multi-purpose alternative? Will this investment dovetail with your existing components? Are you implementing a temporary solution to a permanent problem?
Talking to an external IT provider can be a big help if you’re not sure about which products to choose or how to plan for future expansion. They’ll be able to advise you not only on existing technologies but trends and developments that could have a big impact on the choices you make today. Investing in IT can be confusing and at times overwhelming, but you don’t have to get it alone.
For an expert consultation, call D-Tech Consulting today.