IT Pitfalls to Avoid When Your Business is Growing
As your business grows, it can be tempting to concentrate on building new leads, increasing your sales, and pushing your brand. After all, if you want your new venture to flourish, expansion is key to seeing your dreams become a realization. There is, however, one area of business that often gets neglected as we strive to put our business on the map, and that area is IT.
When a business consists of two or three employees, IT issues are often treated as a minor nuisance.But as your company grows, ignoring your business’s IT infrastructure can lead to a lot of trouble.
Here are a few basic best practices that will help you make sure IT isn’t another wrench in your wheels.
Use cloud-based software distribution
Picture this scenario. You are two years into your business, which has expanded from just one employee working in a spare room, to a bustling office of 20 full-time workers. Everyone is busy, sales are high (hopefully), and your dream is starting to materialize.
One day, an employee from sales introduces you to a whole new CRM platform that you absolutely love.So you decide to buy it. The problem is, this software has to be manually installed on each employee’s computer. Calculate how much downtime that is for both your IT guy and your employees who have to stare at the ceiling while they’re getting their computer hooked up into the new software.
When you find yourself in this sort of situation, or preferably before you do, it is wise use cloud-based software distribution.
In layman’s terms, distributing your software through a cloud-based application helps you connect to your entire IT infrastructure to administer, update, and even patch your software without the need for individual employees to do it themselves. This means your IT administrator doesn’t need to gain physical access to the computers either, but rather gain access from the cloud.
Now instead of “earning” many hours of downtime by installing software manually in your business’s devices, you can get it done in a click of a button at OOO hours like three in the morning, to not let your employees time go to waste.
Connect your business software to one cohesive platform
On the subject of software, another area that occasionally gets neglected when a burgeoning business starts to really bloom is that of ‘software cohesion’.
If you have ever been asked to provide a spreadsheet for a meeting which resulted in a thirty-minute search through emails, Skype conversations, and the company NAT servers, then you probably need to streamline the use of your software.Luckily, these days you have so many options available, that cutting the use of some software out completely or moving to a more fully functional application is pretty easy.
If you find your internal communications are spread across multiple platforms, companies such as Slack may have all the functionality that you need, allowing you to consolidate the number of options you need to scour through when trying to find a document or conversation thread. Need to find a file? Search in Slack. Need to find a conversation thread? Enter a keyword and search in Slack. Need to make a VOIP call to another team member? You’ve guessed it, you can do that from within Slack.
If Slack doesn’t suit you, then perhaps Flock or Microsoft Teams would suit your needs better. Whatever your particular needs, you are more than likely to find a collaboration tool that will simplify your work life, consolidate your data in one place, and give management a much better overview of how the cogs are turning each day.
When the time comes, upgrade to enterprise-level solutions
Lastly, one final aspect of our IT strategies that often gets forgotten about, is when to embrace enterprise level tech, as opposed to the consumer grade versions.If your workforce has expanded to more than just a handful of employees, you will eventually have to move your business onto an enterprise level tech solution that works for you.
Business-grade products are specifically designed to eliminate problems that can exist when using consumer-grade versions, and allow you to scale easily, and securely. While it may look like a cheaper option to continue running the free versions of various software programs that are being used in your office, there will come a time when you hit a wall. When this happens, your workflow will slow down until it is dealt with.
Luckily, there are many enterprise-level solutions that now run remotely in the cloud, that upgrading is not the headache it used to be. Where you might have hired an IT expert to install a NAS server in your basement a decade ago, cloud-based storage has now taken over physical storage my a huge magnitude, and VOIP-based telephony is now treading the same path. If you feel that your business is starting to outgrow the tech that you originally implemented when starting your business, get the issue sorted quickly. You will thank yourself later.
Keeping on top of your IT needs shouldn’t be put on the backburner. The sooner you get your IT plan aligned with your business strategy, the quicker you can go back to doing what you do best, running the company.