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As information technology becomes commonplace in nearly every business, it stands to reason that some businesses will put pressure on themselves to get some of the most innovative tools available. On the surface, this seems like a great idea, but just because a piece of technology exists, doesn’t mean it will help your business right now. We thought it would be a good time to take a look at some strategies that will help you build the technology your business needs to see a positive return on those investments.
Before we start, we should identify the parts of the business where IT is typically deployed. The purpose of IT is to make operations more efficient, allow for collaboration, automate simple aspects for cost reduction, protect business against disaster and more. The most important role that IT has in any business is as a worker interface. Most workers today are proficient with digital systems. This creates a nice standardized working experience in which people can get more things done and collaborate more effectively.
This seems like a great situation: You get more out of your workers and streamline your processes. It’s not so cut and dry, however. Many small business owners contend that investments in technology often fail to meet the expected ROI. The reasons include:
So, with these variables causing businesses to rethink their technology investment strategies, how can decision makers work to ensure that their organization sees a dependable return on their strategic technology investments?
First, an organization’s decision makers will want to have realistic expectations of the technology they plan on implementing. There’s a growth period to the use of any technology, and often it is sold as a solution to a problem with no mention of the adjustments that would keep the solution from immediately returning a strong ROI.
Secondly, you need to take a hard look at your operational effectiveness as it is and ask yourself if you are looking to technology investments because they can help bring better profitability; or, because leaning on innovative new technologies isn’t as prudent as working to upgrade the technology your organization already depends on. Occasionally, decision makers will overlook practical changes for more dynamic ones, leaving decisions that could have a better ROI wait for more innovative, and less effective tools.
Lastly, there are options available today that are designed to limit your organizational cost while providing the value any business can use. Cloud-based services such as Infrastructure as a Service, Software as a Service, and hosted communications solutions can really make adding powerful computing resources easy. The value of paying monthly for only what is used can boost the return of a company’s technology investments substantially.
Upgrading for the sake of upgrading is nice, if the business can afford to do that; but, realistically, what business can? It’s important that each piece of technology helps an organization meet its goals. Are you considering expanding your data analytics platform to get more concrete answers about your business? Will investing in a more dynamic communications platform save you money by using your company bandwidth rather than paying for a business telephone system through your local telephone provider? Will integrating an end-to-end management software save enough time and money to improve customer-facing services and support?
Ultimately, there are hundreds of business technologies out there that promise to improve a business’ ability to function efficiently. What the small business owner or decision maker needs to ascertain, of course, is how will the investment in a particular technology serve to accomplish this. Once an inefficiency is identified, the purpose of an investment in technology is to make that more efficient. If a decision maker can deploy technology that effectively eradicates the stated problem, the solution will ultimately be worth it.