Technology is a necessity for businesses of any size. From smart phones to email to CRM and accounting systems, a business can’t function effectively or efficiently without some form of technology. The big question for business owners is: “How much technology do I invest in, and how do determine if I made a good investment?”
There is a balance to technology spending. If too little is invested, business performance and efficiencies will suffer, and there is an increased chance of lost sales. If a prospect wants to place an order with you, but your computer systems are down, the prospect will likely go elsewhere. Conversely, if too much is invested in technology, the business is wasting money that could be used in other areas or as a profit increase.
In order to find the right balance for your company, business owners should hold technology accountable, and make sure their technology investment is measured with regard to productivity, profit, and risk.
- Productivity – Regardless of the size of your business, make sure you get a monthly report that measures productivity and efficiency. This could be as simple as server uptime and data backup success rates, or something more sophisticated such as the number of orders processed per day and average order processing time. You should see a positive trend over time, and if the trend levels, you should examine your technology to see if productivity increases can be found by making minor changes.Ultimately, your technology exists to make your employees more productive, so simply survey your computer users to see if they’re satisfied with the technology they’re using. This kind of anecdotal information will yield volumes of information if there are serious problems.
- Profits – Your technology team should be held as accountable as your sales team. Reports and statistics should demonstrate spending yields profit increases, or at the very least make good sense without getting into deep into the technical detail.
- Protection from Risk – Hackers and corporate identity theft is a reality and a huge area of potential liability. All businesses should have a plan in place to minimize their exposure to these risks. This should include not only virus protection, but also a disaster plan, proper data backups, and protection against the misuse of assets and security breaches. Your technology team should maintain best practices to adequately protect your business.
With the daily emergence of new technologies, businesses should consider hiring a knowledgeable professional who can think strategically and optimize the technology investment. A strategic technology plan can be utilized to keep your team focused on improving your business.
Just as fleets of vehicles, intellectual property, or any other asset are tools for your business, technology is a tool that should be justified and held accountable for its impact on your company’s bottom line. With proper measurements in place, your technology investment can turn technology into a key asset to make your business more profitable, productive and efficient.