Some businesses were "lucky" that their IT systems allowed them to quickly adapt to the pandemic. But was it luck? or simply good preparation, planning, and risk mitigation?
No one would have predicted or prepared their business for a global pandemic prior to 2020. Traditionally, disasters are considered to be fire, flood, or the proverbial truck driving through the office wall. In either case, many businesses had prepared for remote working in the event of disaster. Those that had, were grateful for the decisions made prior to the COVID-19 crisis which hit earlier this year.
This behaviour is not limited to global pandemics and IT strategies that allow employees to work from home. The same characteristics flow throughout a business. It's an attitude of being proactive rather than reactive, to be forward thinking rather than only focusing on the here and now.
It's these same 'lucky' businesses which are most likely to succeed and outpace their competitors during the recession and gradual recovery of our economy.
Sink, Swim or Treading Water?
The concept of 'sink or swim' in a time of crisis is not unknown to anyone. The sheer uncertainty surrounding this pandemic however has meant that the majority of small to medium businesses (SMB) have in fact done neither. Instead opting to simply tread water, wait it out, see whats next before making decisions.
The unfortunate realisation several months down the line however is that this situation is not going away any time soon, nor are we going to get any more clarity or certainty at any point in the near future. For businesses treading water, it's apparent they need to start swimming. The issue they now face though is that those that were already swimming are now several laps ahead.
Commonly, these issues do not impact every part of the business. Many SMBs are generally forward thinking when it comes to the core of their business. Gaps however commonly appear in non-core functions such as IT systems, support & technology.
These non-core functions such as IT have major implications to the business. Productivity, ability to communicate and deliver value to customers, the ability to track business performance to allow leaders to make crucial decisions are all impacted by the performance of IT.
Leaders that can best leverage their technology are the most likely to be lucky over the coming months and years.
Planting Oak Trees
As the old saying goes; The best time to plant an oak tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is now.
With the benefit of hindsight, knowing what you know now, would you make the same decisions, or lack of decisions when the pandemic first hit? Would you have persisted with work around solutions such as:
- Antiquated phone systems - Many businesses are continuing to try and use their older phone systems, that do not allow for seamless calls, transfers, etc. despite location or device.
- Inadequate Working from Home Setups - Many people are working from home from personal computers, or laptops without additional screens or other peripherals that assist productivity.
- Inadequate Remote Access & Connectivity - Many people have issues connecting to some systems and data located in the office.
Issues like these can be tolerated in the short term. The cumulative impact however over several months can be devastating to productivity and customer service. With no near end in sight, perhaps now might just be the right time to start making these changes.
Support in Making Good Decisions
An SMB without IT as a core competency requires an IT partner focused on maximising staff productivity and client engagement. The key components required to deliver these outcomes include:
- Regular consultation with an adviser (or vCIO) who is actively focused on strategy and risk aligned to your objectives.
- A support process that provides the vCIO with clear insights and direction.
- A proven process of continual improvement.
If your IT support provider does not show demonstrated capability to actively improve your productivity, it may be time to start swimming.
We work with a number of businesses every week helping them evaluate the real world performance of their IT. By providing insights and suggested metrics to watch we can help them to properly evaluate their technologies impact to the bottom line. We provide this as a free 1 hour consultation with no strings attached. If you would like to book in some time to talk, you can give us a call or book in a time directly from our website.