IT for the SME – The Technology Question

 

Where Do I Begin, What do I need?

It Starts with a plan.

Technology is an unavoidable cost of doing business.  Without it you could lose time, customers and your competitive edge.

Many SME’s have only the most basic IT infrastructure, largely because little effort has been made to understand their requirements or to supply affordable solutions tailored to their unique needs.  In spite of this SME’s are expected to be the biggest market for IT over the next few years and suppliers are taking their needs more seriously.

New technologies have also emerged that seem tailor-made for the SME environment, such as wireless networking and mobile connectivity.  Like any major investment, getting the desired return from technology requires strategic thinking and a proper plan.

As with a business plan, your technology plan should be a written strategy based on the specific needs of your industry, business or operation.  It involves using your gut instinct and keeping focused on your goals.

Here are some guidelines for drafting your plan:

Present and future use: How do you currently use technology and how might you use it in the future?  The basic work processes to consider are record keeping, stock control, database management, work flow, presentations and marketing material, production management and any internet based activities.

You may also need to consider specialised applications that are unique to your business, for example control systems for product manufacturers.  In determining how technology will be used in your business in the future, refer to your business plan.  By doing so you can review your goals and objectives and see what is needed to reach those goals.

Identify appropriate technology: Once you know how you are going to use technology, choose equipment and software that will make this possible.  Consider what you need it to do, whether it is compatible with any existing equipment you may have, cost, ease of use and whether it can expand.

This has been especially evident since the pandemic struck, as, most employees had to make the transition to working remotely. Enabling your business to do the same will save you time and money and will attract the best employees in your field.

Make use of the Cloud: The cloud, or cloud computing, is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.

Working with the cloud is great for small businesses because it allows you to save space in your network, access your work from anywhere and keep your data safe.

By referring to your technology plan, you can make sure that your operation continues to run smoothly

In the next article, we will examine the question of outsourcing.

Until then, stay safe

 

Claudio

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