Most companies manage their IT all wrong. There, I said it! But why? Lack of an IT strategy doesn’t help, but mainly because you’re holding onto old thoughts that aren’t true anymore.
The thoughts that don’t hold ground anymore:
This is the one that holds most companies back. They view IT as merely a cost of doing business. The thought of technology merely contains computers, laptops and the internet. Things that just cost money. No real investment is made in technology. What this looks like, is aging computers, doing everything within email/spreadsheets and an assortment of free/inexpensive apps. Yes, technology totally costs money and is an expense, but not all technology is created equal. Software platforms (ERP, CRM, etc) are an investment that define and streamline your business processes are tax deductible (more than ever, check with your accountant). They also allow you to scale and grow in ways you can’t possibly imagine with your current setup.
The answer for 90% of businesses is…. no you don’t. Not only you do you not need it, but it’s an awful idea. It starts out great, mostly because it’s cheap. Everything’s shiny and new, and works great. Then as you grow, or expand in certain areas, you add more servers, then eventually you have a server room full of equipment. You walk in and there’s a plethora of new and old and very old equipment. Cabling rats nests everywhere and no clear definition of what all is contained in the racks. You’ll hire an on-site person to manage it, but there’s no real plan here so they’ll collect a check, move onto greener pastures with new technology and you’re back at square one, a server room full of outdated boxes that need someone to maintain them. When you replace one… just stack the old one in the corner on top of the others right?
We need someone to support our technology infrastructure and provide helpdesk support to our employees. Many companies have one IT person, to several. It’s the companies with one IT person that hurt the most. That person is hired, after a several lovely interviews of interviewing technical candidates. They come in and figure out how your company operates it’s technology. Once it’s all figured out and they’re capable (maybe 6 months to a year), they’ll get bored. This will drag on for another year or so, then they’ll leave and you’re back at square one. Only this time, square one means the only person who knows anything about your technology, just left. This is dangerous. Yet every day companies are looking to fill their sole IT position (IT Support Specialist, IT Generalist, IT System/Network Administrator, IT Administrator….sound familiar?) like it’s a good idea.
Building on the 3 previous items, an IT and security strategy is a must have, but most companies don’t seem to have any real plan in place. IT strategies are more common but a security plan is typically “we’re good, nothing has happened to us, what we have is working”. There’s many problems with this thought, but let’s touch on the obvious first. The security landscape has changed drastically and it’s not just annoying pop-ups anymore. There are active threats, aiming to take your money, make you fearful, and literally ruin your data so you can’t do business. A burn it to the ground approach. If you don’t pay, let’s delete all your data. It’s only going to get worse. The largest problem with this most companies don’t have a security plan, a security resource, or any method in place to verify the status of their security.