Calgary companies are struggling to stay in business, let alone remain competitive, cost-effective, and growth-oriented.
One of the most difficult costs to control for businesses of any size is IT. Often, the approach businesses take toward IT management is outdated and reactive, leading to IT infrastructure that is inadequate for dealing with today’s sophisticated, global-scale threats.
Preventative care is the key – for both your body and your IT infrastructure.
Think about your IT strategy the way you would think about your own healthcare: If you don’t go to your doctor for regular checkups, you aren’t spotting problems with your health as early as you could.
By the time you do detect something, it is more complicated, serious, and costly to treat than it would have been otherwise.
The Doctor Is In
Managed IT services do for your IT systems what your physician does for your health.
They both monitor your systems and immediately take action before things get out of control. If your blood pressure is getting too high, your doctor might prescribe medication and encourage you to be more active.
In the same way, your managed IT partner will help you identify existing issues in your IT infrastructure, prevent problems before they arise, and implement safeguards that minimize the extent of any problem that could occur, whether natural or manmade.
Embracing this approach is not only more cost-effective in the long run but is also more aligned with business goals and will help you survive.
Don’t Wait for Disaster to Strike
While not every Calgary business that closed this year did so because of poor IT strategy, the numbers don’t lie. Security breaches, cyber-attacks, and IT infrastructure failures have a measurable impact.
If these IT crises don’t shut your doors, they can certainly cost your organization financially due to fines, loss of business, and downtime.
If you wait for disaster to strike before acting, the recovery will likely be much more costly (and the downtime far more devastating) than if you had taken a proactive approach.
IT Infrastructure Is Your Competitive Advantage
Making regular investments in IT infrastructure, thereby keeping servers, software licenses, and peripheral equipment up to date, can save your business a fortune in unforeseen emergency repairs and downtime.
It’s estimated that downtime costs businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
More than the financial cost of downtime, however, is the cost of customer perception.
If you cannot effectively provide service to your customers or sell your products – or worse, your lack of infrastructure integrity results in the loss of customer data – you could quickly find yourself without a business to run.
It’s a tough global economy no matter your industry and remaining competitive is the challenge of every business leader.
While most of us think about competitive advantage as what we can do to better market our products or gain greater visibility to obtain market share, one of the most undervalued and relevant ways to gain – and keep – the competitive advantage is through your IT infrastructure.
If your IT infrastructure doesn’t support your business goals and data needs, you will be unable to protect your data, respond to future growth quickly, and improve your efficiency.
IT Infrastructure and Customer Experience
- Are you experiencing sluggish access to the information?
- Are you wrestling with appointment scheduling software that doesn’t efficiently manage your patient calendar?
- Or are you realizing an inability to leverage stored customer data to customize your services?
Having the right IT infrastructure contributes to improved customer service and better customer experience.
The Proficiency of your IT infrastructure is a Differentiator
If you have areas of your IT operations that you know are slowing you down, prioritize solving those issues by investing in local, secure cloud-based solutions to improve network efficiency and processing speeds.
IT Infrastructure and Data Security
From central data centers to BYOD security to data storage, IT infrastructure plays a significant role in protecting data.
Addressing compliance issues (data retention, protection of patient data, reporting) and protecting proprietary company information through stronger data security not only provides you with a competitive advantage but also helps to avert risk.
IT Infrastructure and Innovation
The organizations that will remain globally competitive will be the ones that can respond to ever-changing economic, technological, and cultural environments with speed and finesse.
That can only occur if your infrastructure is strong enough to withstand rapid change and has been optimized for your business goals.
Infrastructure agility is the main ingredient in innovation; integrated systems, cloud-based business, and virtualization all contribute to better agility, creating the right IT culture for innovation.
IT Infrastructure and Collaboration
A better IT infrastructure can reduce silos – pockets of information or data that reside with one employee – within your organization, which often results in the redundancy of both data and labour.
By improving your infrastructure with cloud-based data storage, information becomes accessible to all employees, who are then able to share information securely and are able to collaborate and communicate more effectively.
The organization is also able to retain the knowledge gained by individual employees even after they leave.
Your IT Infrastructure Can Be a Competitive Advantage
Developing a proactive IT strategy will position your organization to be better able to serve customers, stand apart from competitors, and respond to change.
As technology fundamentally changes how we do business and how we serve customers, business leaders must reevaluate whether their current IT infrastructure is meeting their needs.
Reduce Business Costs with a Better IT Strategy
While larger Canadian corporations can often absorb increasing IT costs, small and mid-size businesses struggle to stay up to speed with limited IT budgets.
Unfortunately, in today’s tight economy, large and small businesses alike must find ways to reduce costs.
According to recent research, cost reduction is one of the top priorities of all mid-market Canadian businesses in the coming year.
The only priority more important to these businesses?
IT security and risk management.
Rather than remaining mired in the doom and gloom of unenthusiastic economic predictions facing Canadian business leaders, savvy leaders are recognizing the opportunity that exists within the advancing technology, to be able to proverbially have their cake and eat it too.
Improved IT ROI
Advancements in technology allow businesses to increase agility and improve competitive advantage while simultaneously reducing costs and streamlining IT services.
Through the increased use of cloud services, which shifts the majority of the capital costs to managed services providers, many companies are realizing an increased ROI on IT investment.
They can then be used to enhance other services such as backup and disaster recovery, off-site data storage, and better mobile-device security management, ultimately resulting in improved operational efficiencies.
In other words, a small investment in IT can have a domino effect that results in bigger cost savings, better overall data security and protection, and significant increases in risk mitigation.
Best Practices for Efficient Operations
- Move from capital expenditures in IT to predictable, plannable, operational expenditures, by shifting to cloud-based services, infrastructure, and management that are scalable and responsive.
- Move from in-house IT staff to a virtual CIO who partners with your business to determine the most cost-effective, customized IT solutions.
- Address IT and data security risks now, before they become costly losses.
- Minimize the risks of downtime with automated, off-site backups of critical data.
That is the challenge every business leader is forced to achieve to remain viable. A more comprehensive approach to IT management can give business leaders a roadmap, to not only survive tough economic times but thrive.
Develop a Better IT Strategy for Your Business Needs
Whether or not your organization has an official IT strategy, obtaining a better understanding of your IT needs is essential.
As technology, cloud services, and industries change more rapidly than ever, the only way to remain competitive, flexible, and protected is to know what you have and what you need.
Moreover, the ever-changing trends in technology demand that you regularly reassess your IT strategy, adapting your approach accordingly.
Identify Core IT Functions
Most likely, you are already using cloud services for some of your operations. It’s even possible that there are cloud services that you do not know about being used by your employees.
An important first step in developing a better IT strategy is to identify the core IT functions that drive your business. This will include things like email security, data storage, onsite and offsite data backup, applications and software patching and management, and phone services (VoIP), as well as infrastructure, such as servers.
Once you have listed all of your core needs, you can determine which are most critical.
Identify Areas of Risk
Your organization may have developed a robust backup and recovery system with offsite data storage yet have no email security.
You may have already shifted to software-as-a-service for most operations but have an outdated legacy system that you are still using.
You may have regulatory compliance issues that need to be addressed.
The point is, in order to mitigate risk, you must know what your risks are.
Bring IT Strategy to the Forefront
The organizations that remain competitive on a global scale are the ones that take a proactive stance in understanding and implementing IT strategy instead of waiting for technology to force their hands.
By developing a partnership with a knowledgeable IT Managed Services provider, savvy business leaders can stay a step ahead of the growing threat.
This can be done through leveraging emerging technologies to better meet the needs of customers and adjusting their business models to remain at the forefront of their industry.
As technology fundamentally changes how we do business and how we serve customers, business leaders must reevaluate whether their current IT strategy is meeting their needs.
- Do you understand your organization’s IT needs?
- Are you making a rapid shift to cloud-based services and need to identify your core needs?
- Are you concerned about security and want to gain a more in-depth understanding of how secure your data and email are?
Improve Your IT Security with The ITeam
The ITeam provides essential IT support to Calgary businesses, with fully managed and customized services designed to meet the needs of virtually any business.
The ITeam will work with your Alberta business to customize a cost-effective solution and help you develop a comprehensive IT strategy that will help you survive economically stressful times. Contact us for a free consultation.