Ensuring your company’s information is available, secure and reliable on an ongoing basis is a daunting task. IT managers and administrators are being asked to deliver more value with fewer resources. Further applications need to be managed, and user devices need to tuned and protected. Yet you can’t close down your business to optimize your technology.
Before you throw up your hands in frustration, there are ways to cope. You can change your role and reputation in the company from an IT mechanic to an IT management strategist. Building a business case to move your content and data to a managed services model shouldn’t be seen as a threat to your job. Instead, you should see it as an opportunity to empower your business.
Here are five ways IT as a service can augment your expertise and help your colleagues appreciate how important technology is to your business:
- Employee morale
- Operational efficiency
All of these factors are connected. In addition, you need a strategic partner who will ensure your information is secure and available. Let’s take a closer look at these business metrics, and how sustainable, predictable IT management can make you look good in the eyes of your business leaders and ensure your business looks good in the eyes of your:
- Business partners
- Regulatory agencies
- Consulting advisors
How IT management impacts productivity
In years past, if your business email went down, you may have gone to check the exchange servers, and your fellow employees would be in the habit of shifting to different behaviors to keep in touch with customers. It would quickly transition to phone calls to customers, maybe even an in-person visit if your messaging systems or local network went down.
These days, your customers and business stakeholders often work remotely, and systems like mobile email, instant messaging applications and other collaboration applications are critical to keeping it touch. The old “Sorry, I didn’t get your email, our servers were down” excuse isn’t acceptable anymore. Cloud-based productivity applications like Office 365 are affordable, reliable, and provide many safeguards for:
- Malware and viruses
- Email outages
- Inability to share large attachments
- Making it easier to find previous email conversations
- Preventing loss of important information due to limited storage space for emails and attachments
Your employees will be at the peak of their productivity when they’re confident their business applications will be available to them when they are needed. Migrating your data to proven, reliable cloud-based applications can free your employees to work on the device they want, be more effective in front of customers, and keep your company’s home office up-to-date on what is happening.
Reliable, scalable technology has the power to:
- Minimize the impact of distance on productivity;
- Reduce the time it takes to find documents and data. A few years ago, information workers were spending an average of twenty-eight hours looking for information. The right IT management vastly reduces that non-productive time;
- Give employees assurance they will be able to do their jobs because they’ll have the corporate knowledge base at their fingertips.
Your company’s reputation
To decision makers and executives, response time and confidentiality are critical factors when deciding whether to start or continue to work with a business. The ability to receive a response from a company within a business day or two is critical. Continuity of information on your website to your physical business is also important.
Technology is critical to both of these reputation makers (or breakers). IT security plays a big role in your company’s reputation; if you suffer a breach, word travels fast across media and customer communities. If your business gets hacked, customers could drop out of business opportunities, choose to take their business elsewhere, or reduce their exposure by reducing their spend.
Consider your payroll, operating expenses, revenue streams and other financial obligations to keep your business going. Your business is at the hub of suppliers, customers, investors, partners and employees. Understanding the impact of a system outage during a business day is important. Consider, for example:
- Your accounting systems;
- Customer Relationship Management apps like marketing, customer service and sales forecasting;
- Your website content management system;
- Reporting systems.
Consider how smoothly your business would run if you didn’t have to upgrade, patch or write code to customize these systems. Or, consider what would happen if one or more of these systems were to crash and burn at a critical time in your business day.
It’s not a stretch to say that when technology isn’t available, many employees can’t get their jobs done, at least to the best of their abilities. Idle employees erode your profitability, just as system outages do.
Whether you are a sales rep chasing a quota, a project manager trying to log hours and activities, or a customer support rep looking to assist a customer with their product issues, system outages and/or slow performance is a bit more than an inconvenience.
Deadlines, customers, and other stakeholders aren’t as forgiving as we’d like them to be when things go wrong. Upgrading software, doing a data migration or a system recovery when the heat is on might frustrate employees, or they may go to a competitor which has their IT house in order. Executives want employees to deliver on their objectives, and employees want to be successful at their jobs so they can advance in their career.
Taking all of this into consideration, it should be clear that technology plays a critical role in the operational efficiency of a business. Regardless of whether or not an IT outage or performance issue is the fault of your IT staff, there is a lot of finger pointing when line of business staff can’t do their jobs due to system issues.
Partnering with an IT management service provider takes business disruption out of the equation, provided they can provide a service which offers:
- An affordable price;
- Tiered service plans which meet your current and future requirements;
- Partnerships and certifications managing the systems you need to run your business;
- 24/7/365 monitoring of your business systems to ensure constant availability and security of servers, software and end user devices.
Nerdio is just the IT management service provider you need. Let’s talk.
Getting the job done and providing technology innovation to a business without impacting employee productivity is typically cited as one of the biggest challenges of an IT administrator’s job.
What do you think? What technology or system steps can IT admins take to help address that challenge? Besides doing work in the middle of the night, how can IT departments minimize the impact of their work on the rest of a business? Share your thoughts with us.