As a key decision-maker in your business, you probably spend a lot of time-shifting gears and moving into new roles for the good of the organization. In one moment you could be a manager, working to refine processes and keep everything moving along smoothly. The next you could be on a sales call or out in the field working alongside your employees on a complex project. Add all of that to your high-level operational responsibilities like budgeting and hiring and you have a recipe for unsustainable stress.
Understandably, your business’s IT capabilities may have been put on the back burner or flown under the radar entirely. That’s natural. Non-IT professionals tend to really notice technology only when it’s not working. Plus, technology is expensive, right?
Unfortunately, this very common misstep could be holding your business back more than you realize.
Properly implemented technology can offer your business nearly unlimited opportunities for growth and workflow optimization. In fact, incorporating advances like process automation and file sharing in a fully realized cloud-friendly environment can allow your employees to collaborate in ways you didn’t realize were possible.
So how can you learn more about implementing these kinds of solutions, especially if your organization hasn’t yet grown to the point that it has a fully dedicated CIO or CTO?
The answer: IT consulting.
IT consulting is a non-invasive service that will analyze your organization’s network and technological capabilities, and help set you on a proper course of action. You’ll receive professional and experienced insight that will open the door to new opportunities and help you build the IT ecosystem that your business has deserved for years.
Spending a bit now could give your business long-term financial freedom and future-proof your operations. Let’s discuss a few scenarios you might experience that call for the services of an IT consultant.
You’ve invested in tech but aren’t seeing returns
According to research by CompTIA, small to medium-sized businesses have three top priorities when using technology. 58% of decision-makers want to reduce costs and overhead. 55% want to reach new customers. 48% want to increase operational efficiency.
Unfortunately, simply purchasing new technology and trying to integrate it into your workplace isn’t going to help achieve any of these goals. It’s like picking up a prescription and failing to take the proper dosage or trying to drive on the interstate in second gear.
If you’ve made the right investments but haven’t seen the desired results, an IT consultant can help. After analyzing your infrastructure and capabilities, they can offer a course of action that will more effectively incorporate your business’s technological resources—though that may require some training for your staff.
Using technology effectively won’t just make you more efficient. It will also make your business a more attractive employer. Universities are now graduating new workers who have never known a world without the internet—an army of “digital natives” who intuitively use technology in every aspect of their lives. A forward-thinking business that uses technology to gain a competitive edge will also build an attractive 21st-century workplace culture.
Everything is running smoothly but you have security concerns
If 2017 has taught us anything, it’s that cybercrime is a very real and very menacing threat to every organization—and the cybersecurity industry is starting to lag behind its criminal counterpart. If your business is highly dependent on technology and enjoys the many benefits it brings, there’s also a good chance there’s some vulnerability in your network that a malicious party could exploit.
Despite all the news coverage of major data breaches like Equifax, Target, and Deloitte, cyberattacks actually disproportionately target small businesses, at a rate of 70%. Almost 50% of small businesses have suffered some kind of cyberattack. Unfortunately, there are more cybersecurity jobs than qualified candidates, and the problem only looks to be getting worse. Cybercrime is also especially deadly to small businesses – 60% of victims are out of business within six months, crushed by fines and lost business.
An IT consultant will be able to uncover security deficiencies in your network and offer a course of action to remedy the problems. It could be a small human error like connecting a company device to an unsecured network or missing a firmware update. Or it could be a gaping hole in your firewall or unsecured workstation.
IT consulting will identify the things you can do as a manager to make your business a smaller target. Some of these solutions are straightforward, like implementing dual-authentication password policies to access sensitive data. Others may require a bit more time, like training your employees to recognize phishing and ransomware or implementing best practices for safe and effective file sharing.
Your infrastructure is Frankenstein’s monster
If you didn’t start your business with a clear and systematic IT philosophy, then you’ve probably been building your network on the fly for years. The result is probably something akin to a car in a Mad Max movie—functional, but ugly and inefficient.
IT consulting helps you get back to basics and form a cohesive IT approach to guide future upgrades to your network. You’ll learn what’s wrong with your current setup, what you need to change in the short term, and what you’ll need to do in the future to prevent your system from falling behind and becoming a more serious detriment.
Having an aging or asymmetrical infrastructure also poses challenges when considering disaster preparedness. Should some piece of hardware or software fail, it could have far-reaching consequences for your data, your employees and your customers. The services of an IT consultant can make you more aware of your vulnerabilities and equip you to design a plan of action for restoring your capabilities in the event of a disaster.
This is crucially important since FEMA research shows that 40% of small businesses never re-open in the wake of a disaster (look at New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina for a case study).
IT consulting by GXA
Our IT consulting services are all about uncovering useful information and distilling it down to the key points to guide your business forward.
It’s not an invasive process. It doesn’t have to be.
We aren’t going to start ripping your network apart unless you ask us to. In fact, we can consult without interrupting your day-to-day operations. If you’re interested in hearing more about what we have to offer, don’t hesitate to reach out today.