IT is essential to what you do. However, in the absence of proper management and oversight, it can hold you back more than propel you forward. The goal of business IT is to improve efficiency, productivity, and intelligence within each one of your organization’s workflows. Due to the cost and complexity of most available technologies, though, it’s easy for IT to become a cumbersome and expensive weight on your company. Make sure you’re operating at full strength by asking the following questions to determine if your IT is an asset or an obstacle:
1. Does It Support Your Workflows?
Whenever you implement a new technology you have to weigh the disruption of making a change with the strengths and capabilities, it adds to your processes. If you and your team are forced to drastically change the way you do things in order to accommodate the requirements of a new technology, its value is severely limited. The best IT conforms to the way you already operate, enhancing rather than altering your current capabilities.
2. Is It Cost-Effective?
There will always be a cost involved with enterprise IT solutions like distribution ERP software. But ideally, that cost will be outweighed by your new ability to either save money or make more money. [pullquote]In order to figure out the true ROI of any tech you rely on, it’s important to take a big-picture approach.[/pullquote] In addition to the cost of the technology itself, you need to factor in the cost of maintenance, the consequences of downtime, and the decline in the utility of a solution over time. You may be surprised to learn that you can ultimately spend a lot more than you gain if you’re not careful.
3. Are The Needs Of All Users Met?
This is one area where perception often differs from reality. Unless you have actively surveyed everyone using a technology, from the end users to the IT pros who administer it, you can’t be sure that people actually like the available features and interfaces. And no matter how super-powered a technology may be, if the people who use it most don’t like it, they’ll inevitably engage with it on a shallower level.
4. Can It Meet The Needs Of The Future?
The capabilities you have at your disposal now might be great. But if they cannot keep pace with the size or focus of your company/industry moving forward, they will quickly deliver diminishing returns. The pace of change is faster than ever. And the life-cycle of many technologies is shorter than companies would like. If your IT is starting to show its age or is clearly incapable of delivering value moving forward, it’s time to think about an overhaul.
5. Would You Choose It Again?
This simple question can reveal a lot. If given the opportunity to turn back the clock and decide all over again whether you should/should not implement a technology, would you make the same decision knowing everything you know now? Think of all the times that piece of technology has provided some value and all the times that it has let you down. If you find yourself wishing you had chosen differently, it’s a clear sign that a technology has not lived up to its promise, even if you can’t fully articulate why. The landscape of business IT is so vast that only the best choice can be considered the right choice.
If you have concluded that any component of your IT is an obstacle to your success, now is the time to consider changes. IT is too important and too expensive to proceed with the wrong solution in place. Find out what you’re missing, then find out who can provide it.