For most of us, August is filled with last-minute vacations and camping trips, and getting your head back into the game and really focusing on business planning can be difficult. But focusing now on end-of-year planning can benefit your Calgary business as you transition into the next year. We have put together a guide to help your organization get a clearer picture of what you need, to finish this year strong and gain a competitive advantage for next year. There are several essential factors you should consider for a successful and smooth transition. Here are some key areas to focus on:
Financial Planning and Budgeting
Most Calgary businesses will be wrapping up their fiscal year in October or December. This is the time of year, then, to not only address business strategy but also to plan next year’s budget. As you evaluate your budget for the coming year, consider changing economic conditions that might impact your business strategy. As you review and analyze your current year’s financial performance and identify areas for improvement, consider your IT costs:
- Did you have unexpected infrastructure costs or repairs?
- Did you have costs related to compliance?
- Did your IT labor costs spiral out of control as a result of talent shortages?
Making managed IT services and cybersecurity a part of your fiscal budget can help you better manage your Calgary organization with plannable, predictable IT and cybersecurity costs, along with expert IT support for your company to help keep labor costs manageable.
As you define and refine your short-term and long-term goals for your Calgary business, it’s important to evaluate those goals in regards to how they correspond to your company’s vision and contribute to achieving your overall mission. As the social, political, and environmental atmosphere around your business and industry changes, you may need to adjust your vision and goals accordingly. Take the time to identify emerging trends, market shifts, and competitor pressures that may impact your growth, and make the appropriate adjustments to your strategy. As your strategy shifts, be sure to talk to your Calgary managed service provider (MSP) and vCIO about how to align your managed IT strategy and cybersecurity needs with your fine-tuned business goals.
This is the ideal time of year to assess the existing processes and workflows of your Calgary organization, to identify areas where operational efficiency can be improved. Increased efficiencies can often be achieved through the adoption of new technologies and automations, as well as with the utilization of new software and applications that help your Calgary business streamline operations. An MSP is a crucial part of your operational efficiency. As a part of your operational efficiency analysis, be sure to analyze your existing supply chain for vulnerabilities. Third-party vendors, including your IT provider, should meet the same compliance and security requirements that your company must meet.
Evaluating Internal and External Resources
As you prepare for the next year and identify your objectives, you’ll need to determine your organizational structure and the employees you’ll need to achieve those goals.
Evaluate internal resources
As you evaluate internal resources and determine your hiring strategy for the upcoming year, be sure to obtain feedback from IT department leaders and your HR team, to determine the best use of your resources. Investing in internal IT resources and support can be beneficial as a means of improving the customer experience, but the tech talent shortage has made this a costly endeavor and has forced many companies to consider outsourcing more of their IT needs. But outsourcing IT offers many benefits, including freeing internal resources to focus on expansion and development.
Evaluate external resources
When you decide to outsource IT support, defining your needs and priorities can help you ensure that you find the right partner. When you are evaluating IT service providers, it’s important to make sure the managed IT services they offer match the IT outsourcing goals your organization identifies.
Employee Engagement and Development
Employee satisfaction is the bedrock of a successful organization, and there are so many ways to ensure that your employees are engaged and giving their best.
Offering employees the opportunity to work remotely or have a hybrid work schedule can make it easier to attract top talent and retain the best people. Today’s digital landscape makes it possible to provide for your remote team the same security you have in the office, and there are many tools that make collaboration and communication as easy as if your employees were in the next cubicle.
Employee development and training
Employees thrive when they are able to achieve their full potential and have opportunities to grow with your Calgary organization. Developing a plan for employee training, skill development, and career advancement – especially when carried out in partnership with the employee – can help you retain employees longer. Part of that training should be ongoing security awareness training, to help arm your team with the knowledge they need to protect your organization from ransomware and malware threats.
Marketing and customer engagement
Review and analyze your marketing strategy, to make sure it also aligns with your business strategy. In addition to outsourcing IT, the outsourcing of your marketing and social media management can be a smart investment that allows you to focus on your core business objectives. Your marketing partner can stay ahead of the latest trends, algorithms, and best practices, and develop successful campaigns that save you time and money.
One of the most important things every Calgary business should do on an annual basis, if not more often, is evaluate risk. Identifying and minimizing potential risks and vulnerabilities that could impact your operations, reputation, or security can help prevent loss of revenue. Develop or update your risk management plan to address these risks, including cybersecurity measures, disaster recovery plans, and business continuity planning.
Compliance regulations in Canada and Alberta change rapidly and can impact your business, and if you have customers in the US, UK, or EU, there are additional compliance regulations with which you must adhere, to avoid exorbitant fines. The best way to help your business remain compliant is to work with a Calgary MSP that can make sure your infrastructure meets the required framework.
As you conduct your end-of-year planning for your Calgary organization, it’s also a good time to think about developing strategies that help your company improve innovation and adhere to your corporate responsibility efforts and sustainability commitments. By focusing on your end-of-year planning now, you can be a step ahead of your competitors and ready for whatever challenges the new year brings.
As a business owner, your organization’s needs will evolve, and The ITeam will be flexible, responsive, and ready to adapt to those changes. We work diligently to not only ensure that your IT infrastructure is operating like a well-oiled machine but also to ensure that we’re focused on the challenges of your specific industry. From compliance and governance requirements to unique trends in your business, we customize what we do to fit your needs.
Comprehensive services range from remote maintenance to fully managed cloud hosting, with limitless benefits for your business. Regardless of whom you choose as a managed service provider, your choice should meet all the necessary qualifications to ensure that your IT needs are fully met, that you can achieve measurable ROI, and that you have peace of mind knowing your business is in good hands. Get in touch today to learn more.