While technology can improve your business, it can also do great harm. The consequences of a technological misstep can be far-reaching and devastating — especially for a small- to mid-size organization. Make note of the five biggest corporate technology mistakes so you can avoid these pitfalls.
Jumping into the cloud blindly
Jumping into a cloud computing model without evaluation all of the key considerations is a huge — and hugely common — mistake. Before deciding whether to put all or part of your network into the cloud, you must consider:
• Business drivers prompting the cloud consideration (cost, scalability, etc.)
• Real cost of the cloud solution (including licenses, storage fees, and support costs)
• Security of the solution and the cloud provider’s reputation
• Flexibility and scalability of the solution
• Speed or reliability constraints or restrictions
Being held hostage by your IT support provider
So many companies feel beholden to their internal or external IT providers because they’ve been with them for so long. They fear a switch would mean a disruption in operations or a huge learning curve.
They worry that another provider could never understand the complexities and intricacies of their network and systems. As a result, even if they are being treated poorly, their IT function is not supporting business needs, or their systems are slow and outdated, they make the costly decision to stay the course.
You should never feel like an IT relationship is one over which you have no control. Not only is this uncomfortable and anxiety-provoking, it is also extremely bad for business.
Looking at IT as an expense rather than an investment
Too many C-level executives talk about the cost of IT as opposed to IT investments. They see IT purchases as one-off, high-ticket items necessary to make their networks work.
Often, they choose the least expensive option to minimize these costs. Unfortunately, looking at IT as a series of one-off expenses is a dangerous — and costly — practice.
Instead, leadership should view IT in the same way they view operations and marketing — as a core function essential to the business. With this perspective shift, “costs” become “investments," and you can begin to measure the effectiveness of your IT choices — the return on your investment over time.
Ignoring IT trends for your business
Companies that ignore the constant invasion of IT trends often do so because they do not have an objective IT resource willing to evaluate these trends in the context of their business and their situation.
Whether you are a large corporation or a small nonprofit, you must have access to an IT professional who can help you evaluate the many IT trends infiltrating your industry — and tell you which ones you should pursue and which ones should be ignored.
Without this advice, all you can do is guess. And ignoring the one trend that could prove to be your competitive advantage could be devastating.
Comparing business IT with personal IT
The device that works well for your personal life (and needs) will not necessarily meet the same standards in the professional arena. Despite the prevalence of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies across corporate America, personal and professional IT requirements are very different.
The $49 router from Best Buy might be fine at home, but you wouldn’t expect it to perform like a commercial-level one at your office, right? Your personal cloud solutions might work well at home, but do not contain the enterprise-level sophistication delivered by corporate cloud options.
Keep a clear delineation between personal and professional when evaluating technology devices, hardware, and software. The two are not equal or comparable.
The ever-changing IT landscape continues to challenge C-level executives throughout the country. Unfortunately, IT mistakes often result in budget and strategic crises. By being thoughtful about all IT investments and decisions — and having a reliable IT professional to help you navigate the environment — you can avoid some of the most common and detrimental IT missteps.
Heinan Landa is CEO of Optimal Networks, a Rockville-based technology support, management, and consulting company. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2013 American City Business Journals, Inc.