We all know that technology is critical in today’s business world. To compete you must have the latest and best technology. You must be able to communicate, conference, track, measure, and produce using technology.
Despite the need for tech that is obvious to almost everyone, we often hear complaints about the costs associated with it. “I am tired of constantly having to upgrade” or “My IT costs just seem to keep growing” are two comments that we hear a lot. We also meet a lot of people who have given up on trying to keep up with changing technologies. They stick with their old technology until it is costing them clients, business, and money. Then, they try to catch up with the latest technology and find that the costs of doing so are large, and sometimes prohibitive… until we show them how to manage those costs.
If you’ve ever been concerned with the costs of I.T., then it might be valuable to review a few key points that we often share with our clients. We work with businesses, large and small, to help them to be more competitive. Unlike many of our competitors, we are vendor-agnostic, which means that we are not tied to any one I.T. solution, brand, or vendor. Because we are independent, our role is not that of a sales organization. Instead, we act as consultants, advising our clients on how to use technology to be more competitive.
Budgets are important when trying to be competitive, because you can only serve your clients when you are doing so profitably. Here are some important paradigms that we ask our clients to consider when thinking of their technology and the role it plays in their business. These beliefs allow for a more budget-conscious approach to information technology.
Paradigm Shift #1: Information Technology is Not an Asset.
One of the biggest challenges we find when working with business people is that they still have a tendency to view technology, especially the hardware, as an asset. Some think of it like they think of real estate. A few are better than that, but they still equate it with buying vehicles. But today’s technology depreciates much quicker than real estate or even a car! In most cases, both software and hardware are obsolete within two to three years!
Stop thinking about your I.T. as a major asset purchase that depreciates slowly over time.
Paradigm Shift #2: I.T. is Part of the Cost of Doing Business.
We have a client whose business experiences a lot of employee turnover. It’s the nature of the industry they’re in. They are constantly recruiting and training new people – weekly in fact. We asked the owner once how he was able to put up with the turnover without getting discouraged and he responded by saying, “Put up with what? Recruiting is a major part of the business I am in. To wish for it not to be so is just that – a wish. If I’m going to constantly be making that wish, I might as well get out of the business. So I just treat it like a natural part of the business; an expense that is simply a cost of doing business in my industry.”
The best businesses look at upgrading and improving their IT as being a major part of the business they are in. They budget adequately for it as an on-going expense. It is factored into their cost of doing business and margins are calculated with these costs in mind. In fact, they do their best to break the costs up into amounts that can be paid monthly as part of their operating expenses.
On the other hand, we run into a lot of businesses who never budgeted adequately for improvements to their I.T. When they are confronted with having to implement or upgrade technology, they are annoyed at best, and angry as worst, because they see the expense as being something that is stealing their profits!
Paradigm Shift #3 – The Mantra of Success: Automate, Outsource, Delegate, Schedule,…in that Order.
When faced with business expenses, both of time and money, the most successful business leaders realize that it is always cheapest in the long-run to automate. When it can’t be automated, outsourcing is the next best thing. Hiring people and delegating the tasks to them is more expensive than the previous two. And finally, if it cannot be done through the previous three, they schedule themselves to get it done.
Unfortunately, we often meet businesses who are spending too much because they have run this mantra in the reverse order. They have started by trying to do it all themselves. When they can’t do it all themselves, they look to hire people. Then, they wonder why they are spending so much money.
It’s tough to be competitive when you are spending more than your competition.
Paradigm Shift #4 – Outsourcing Saves Money and Improves Performance
Unfortunately, a lot of new innovations in the I.T. world are looked at with far too much suspicion by many business leaders because they are used to keeping everything in house. But the truth is that these attitudes cost them a lot of money. Decommissioning of on-site data centers in favor of “the cloud” can save a lot of money because real estate is expensive. Outsourcing IT projects and maintenance to a firm like ours saves money because personnel is expensive. Even the smallest of things like software and Email service can be “outsourced” by subscribing rather than buying.
In fact, since technology is an expense rather than an asset, why buy any of it? Subscribe to it or lease it.
The irony is that many people who want to own everything, and do everything with in-house employees, do so because they think they can get better quality with ownership and employees. But just the opposite is true. Because vendors to whom you would outsource are in their own competitive market, and because they can employ economies of scale to what they do, they are almost always able to offer much higher quality for a lower price. For instance, we have met many companies that have hired one or two over-worked people internally to provide tech support for the company, not realizing that it is much cheaper for us to do it and because we have so many more people involved that have higher levels of expertise, the tech support offered is infinitely better.
Paradigm Shift #5 – Your IT Network is for More than Just Computers
These days, there are tremendous advantages and savings to be had by using your I.T. network for more than just the computers. Communications of all sorts happen through the Internet. Many companies are worried about the costs of their I.T., but they are simultaneously spending way too much on telephones, conferencing, traveling, shipping, and more. Many of these other expenses can be reduced or eliminated with a good I.T. assessment and plan.
Paradigm Shift #6: Data Security Is Not an Expense. It Saves You Money!
Most people realize the financial impacts of large security breaches, like those we hear reported in the news these
days. But many do not realize the impacts of even minor breaches. Viruses, Malware, Spyware, and other malicious programs can cost a lot of money. Attempts by hackers to penetrate and use, or destroy, your systems can be very costly if they are successful. The old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” certainly applies to the I.T. world today.
If you are willing to adopt the above beliefs and paradigms about technology, we can design a plan for you that will allow you to be much more competitive. We can do so while staying within a very reasonable budget. In some cases, we can do it for less than what you are currently spending!
What really sets us apart is that we only work with clients that want us to design and implement the best systems for them; the latest and greatest. These days, the latest and greatest includes local and cloud servers with the ultimate in security and back-up features, telecommunications equipment that increases your ability to communicate and cuts your bills drastically, the latest business software, including spam-free email, office software, CRM’s and online meeting services, and mobile devices of all sorts – phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices – that allow you to access your data and business from anywhere, anytime.
We then use our partnerships, buying power, and experience to get all of the hardware and software at discounted rates. All of it is then leased by you or on your behalf, or subscribed to, which means that there is no large bill or upfront expense. Instead, all of your cutting-edge hardware and software is paid for as part of our monthly fee.
What this also means is that hardware that breaks or is defective is immediately replaced. It also means that every two to three years we assess the technology at the time and make sure that you have the best for your business, changing all of it out every three years.
Once the hardware and software is secured, we set up the entire system, test it, make sure it is secure, and transition you to it with almost no downtime. We train all of your people on the use of each component, becoming a known fixture within your business. We then provide world-class monitoring of your systems and the best help-desk support in the industry.
We then continue in the role of your Chief Technology Advisor, by attending executive meetings, providing detailed reports, staying abreast of emerging technology and advising you about changes that need to be implemented in your business. In fact, as was already explained, roughly every three years, we upgrade all of your hardware to whatever the best standard is for your business at that time.
To figure out what you need and how we can get it done for you, ask us for a comprehensive IT assessment. During this IT assessment, we will learn all about your business, both current and future plans. We will also discuss your budgets. Based on the IT assessment, we will design the ultimate systems for you within the budgets that you have.
To see what we can enable your business to do, schedule a comprehensive IT assessment today!
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