Evaluating your IT infrastructure as your business expands and contracts will ensure that you are maximizing your technology investment. Using scalable IT solutions is one way Sam Card, CEO of Cards Technology, recommends. Sam goes into detail in this month’s Q&A.
Q: When is it necessary to re-evaluate my current IT approach?
Sam Card: A good rule of thumb is to look at your IT whenever you hit a limitation in your business. When you can’t add more clients or increase revenue because your team just can’t handle anything more, technology can revolutionize your business. Technology will improve your efficiencies with automation and quicker access to information. For example, you can automate your invoicing with software which reduces manpower and increases accuracy. Reports that are being done manually now can be scheduled and sent through automation.
Q. As my business grows, what can I do to prevent making costly errors when it comes to my technology?
Sam Card: The main error businesses make is not planning their IT with the assistance of their IT provider. You have to begin with the end in mind. If you’re adding one or two more people to your organization, your technology stack won’t change much. But, if you’re going from 10 to 25 employees, significant changes will have to be made to your technology. You may need more wireless access points, a larger firewall or an additional switch. You have to be able to accommodate more activity on your network. Make sure to contact your IT provider during the planning process – not after.
Q. I’m planning to open a new business location. What are the most important technology considerations I should think about?
Sam Card: Assess your current infrastructure first to find out if it can support another location. If you’re set up with an on-premise computing infrastructure, you will most likely need to add more servers, additional software licenses, or make changes to your phone system and file sharing infrastructure. If you have migrated to the cloud, you will need to make sure you have a reliable internet connection at your new location.
Q. I want to reduce my IT costs. What are the ramifications?
Sam Card: When you are looking at IT cost, you must take the total cost of service into account: the sum of the bill you’re paying each month coupled with the outcomes of your service requests. If you’re paying less than the competitive market rate, it’s likely you are receiving lower quality service. For example, if you pay your IT provider $150 an hour and they work for half an hour on an issue, you’re charged $150. If you go with another provider who only charges $75 an hour but it takes them an hour to fix your problem, your staff was down for double the amount of time. So, the total cost of service needs to include the cost of the extra downtime in addition to the hourly rate. Lower cost providers usually have limitations on the resources they devote to your overall cybersecurity as well. They may not provide employee training, be aware of compliance requirements or have a security incident response team in place. Less security and lower staff productivity aren’t worth the risk of saving a few dollars a month.