I’ve really worked the gamut of IT, from teeny tiny companies as their “IT Guy” all the way up to huge organizations where I’m just one of approximately twenty thousand people aligned with the same focus. What’s surprising to me is that organizationally, similar mistakes are made at all scales of technology services. I’ve put together the short list on the most common mistakes that small to medium sized businesses make when it comes to their technology.
1) Taking a reactive approach to technology.
There’s the common adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, but that isn’t the same as “don’t put any maintenance into your currently working equipment.” I mean, if someone told you to not get an oil change, I could predict just about when your car is going to break down. Same goes for your technology in businesses. If you aren’t running regular updates, keeping a check on your antivirus, and tweaking the administrative technologies that run behind the scenes, you’ll eventually see your computers and servers grinding to a halt.
2) Living with manual processes that could easily be automated.
Of all of the things I see, this is the one that makes me the most sad. I’ve run into so many instances where I could turn a process that takes five to ten man hours a week into a “click twice on this desktop icon” with a couple hours of work on a script. Small businesses are so ready for innovation, but there is so little focus in this area for them. Most of the reason for this is because you simply don’t have the time to automate the process yourself, or because you want to continue doing this thing the way you’ve always done it. It’s time to let your business scale! Make the time, take care of your business, and by freeing up these arudous and redundant processes, you’ll have much more time to focus on growing your business rather than maintaining it.
3) Not having the right talent in the right places.
I love a family run business, assuming everyone in the family is dedicated to the goals and expectations of the business owner. Let me put it bluntly, nine times out of ten your nieces and nephews or your cousins don’t have the relevant experience needed to run enterprise-grade information technology services. There are a lot of things they can do, I’m sure, like setting up the guest wi-fi in the front office, or making sure that you have the right software installed like Office 365. There are also things they simply wouldn’t have a chance to learn unless they did this for a living, like managing firewalls, remotely automating updates, and running directory services and role-based access control. Of course I’m biased, since I’m an industry professional, but I also have boots on the ground in this area and it’s something I see so often that I just have to come out and say it. There’s a time and a place to hire the “computer whiz” of your family or friend group, but when it comes to your business I have the firm belief you should hire a professional for the more complicated tasks.
Wrapping it up
I honestly hope that by reading through this you’ve been able to check off the list and say “I don’t do any of these things!” If you find that you have done any of the above, though, there’s no reason to fear - go ahead and give us a shout at NorthCode Solutions and I’d be happy to help you take the appropriate steps to move past these common hurdles.
Can’t get enough of me? Be sure to follow me on Twitter @_brycemcdonald.
Did you know I’m available for hire? Contact me for details via twitter, email, or on the NorthCode Solutions website.