Is business driving ICT or is ICT driving business?
If you look around the business world there are combinations of both, there are groups who swear by one version over the other, but which is the better way to go.
From our perspective and experience, the most successful business are the ones who are driving their ICT investment and making sure that that investment has a decent return. A relatively short return on investment (ROI) will ensure better productivity, better revenue and higher profits.
There is a special breed of people in the work force who have been trained to understand both the business components required for business success and the ICT infrastructure that needs to be put in place to make it happen.
These people are the ones who can take a successful business from scratch and promote it into the stratosphere. These people, whether they have been formally trained through degrees and diplomas, or have learned in the school of hard knocks on the street are worth their weight in gold.
They analyse the business requirements prior to implementing any ICT requirements. These people are hard to find and from a small and medium business and not for profit organisation perspective can be exceedingly expensive and very had to justify.
We work heavily in the not for profit area within our managed services portfolio. We understand that they have little money to spend, little expertise in the ICT requirements area, but they need a higher ROI than most businesses.
The mantra for most NFP is to bring money in and then spend as much of it as possible on the cause that they are passionate about. We understand this mantra and work around it to bring in innovated ideas and support packages that are tailor made for their business.
Talking from experience, you can not put forward a managed services proposal to an NFP that has lots of zeroes without justifying their investment. You cannot say that they need to replace everything with the newest, fastest, or shiniest because that is how YOU make your money.
You can however, justify a one monthly cost, all inclusive managed services contract that will benefit their business, but you have to prove it with testimonials. A well thought out proposal that includes initial investment, monthly cost and quantifiable deliverables will ensure a CEO or director at least looks at it.
On the other side of the coin there are businesses out there who have invested heavily in technology but have not had a definitive direction to go in. These business are the ones who jump into new technology because it is the newest bleeding edge system, it has the computing power of a low level data centre but when used in their business is probably only being used for basic calculations and email. Yes it is faster at these processes, but why the significant investment.
These are businesses who invest in cloud computing without an decent ICT strategy, they spend money on technology without the benefit of a defined ROI and they wonder why they do not have the money to make payroll.
There is also a third group of companies, these are the ones who have invested heavily in technology because they are improving, programming and then on selling this improvement to their clients. These businesses have a need to invest in the required technology because it is a part of their business.
They invest in it, hopefully, because it has been though through and they have a definitive ROI for the investment. For them it is no use delivering the best database product if it has not been tested on the newest and best systems available just because their clients have made that investment.
So to refine what I am saying, yes, you need to invest in your business technology but that technology has to fit your business requirement, it has to have a definitive ROI and furthermore it has to be part of your business plan and your future.
Don’t let your ICT and technology drive your business otherwise it could drive it into the ground.
Roger Smith is the CEO of R & I ICT Consulting Services, Amazon #1 selling author on Cybercrime, author of the Digital Security Toolbox and author of the SME Digital Security Framework. Rapid Restart Appliance Creator. He is a Speaker, Author, Teacher and Educator on cybercrime and how to protect yourself from the digital world.