5 IT Spending Red Flags (and 5 Ways to Get More Value From IT)
As a business leader, it’s essential to know if the money you’re investing in your IT is propelling you forward or holding you back. No matter the size of your business or the industry, you should see a return on investment if IT is managed correctly. So how do you know if what you’re spending on IT benefits your business or is just a waste of time, money, and resources? Looking for common red flags is a good starting point for analyzing the value you receive from IT.
IT Spending Red Flags
We have had countless conversations with business leaders who have shared their many different frustrations with IT. One of the main issues we’ve seen repeatedly is that they are wasting money on IT because they aren’t receiving the desired results, frustrations are high, and there is a drop in productivity.
To help address the significant concern of IT overspending, we’ve found these 5 red flags to look for with your IT.
- IT is More Reactive Than Proactive
- Unpredictable Monthly Costs
- Failed Technology Expectations
- Disruption and Downtime
- Cyber Attack
If you identify with any of these red flags, it might not be because you’re investing too little or too much in IT. Instead, you might just not be investing in the right ways.
That’s where we’re here to help. Let’s dive in.
1. IT is More Reactive Than Proactive
Your business will always need some level of reactive IT support. This is true for both individual users when they encounter problems and network management.
When your IT team’s focus is responding to issues and putting out fires, proactive maintenance and IT projects get put on hold. As a result, your employees are continually slowed down and frustrated because their technology tools are unpredictable, and you never have the opportunity to get ahead.
2. Unpredictable Monthly Costs
If your costs fluctuate based on the number of issues IT has to deal with, that’s a red flag. This goes hand-in-hand with our first point, indicating that you don’t have enough proactive management and maintenance resources.
If you discourage people from contacting support when they need help so that you can keep your bill low, expect frustration to increase and productivity to drop. If your monthly bill fluctuates based on the number of support tickets, it’s a good indicator that it’s time to revaluate your current in-house team or your support provider.
3. Failed Technology Expectations
Think of your recent technology investments and their results. Did you move forward with an IT project only to find that it didn’t net the results that you expected? If you answered yes, then not only was your investment a waste of time and money, but you probably also experienced a ripple effect from that initiative that cost you even more money.
For example, if you’ve rolled out software company-wide only to abandon it after launch due to lack of use by your employees, you’ve wasted time, money, and resources. It also makes it difficult for employees to embrace further initiatives you plan in the future.
🔎 Related: 5 Common Reasons Why IT Projects Fail
4. Disruption and Downtime
Whether it’s the effects of an IT project gone wrong or lost productivity when employees have to deal with unpredictable technology, the time that people can’t work has a cost. Additionally, employee frustration can threaten employee and customer satisfaction and retention, and then you’re dealing with the costs of lost opportunities.
5. Cyber Attack
If you have experienced the impact of a cyber attack, you know firsthand that not only will operations be disrupted, but you might have to do damage control on your reputation as well.
No one can guarantee that you’ll never experience a cyber intrusion. But failure to implement a cyber security strategy that includes cyber liability insurance, sophisticated security tactics, and a comprehensive response plan will make it more expensive to bounce back.
How to Get More Value From IT
Getting more value from IT transforms chaotic IT into predictable IT and finds innovative ways to use technology as a competitive advantage. But, as mentioned previously, to get more value from your technology, you may need to spend more on IT if you’ve been underinvesting, especially when it comes to our first point, improving the IT environment.
We’ve taken a look at the 5 red flags you should keep an eye out for. Now let’s look at the 5 ways you can get more value from IT.
- Improve the IT Environment
- Fortify Your Cyber Security Posture
- Standardize Across the Board
- Improve Asset and Data Management
- Manage IT Labor
1. Improve the IT Environment
Creating predictable IT is a matter of consistently applying IT best practices.
If you’ve underinvested in IT, you’ll probably need to update hardware and software to bring them up to acceptable performance and security standards. Out-of-date applications and hardware can lead to vulnerability in your security defenses and cause unwanted downtime for your employees.
Another thing to consider is your business’s use of cloud applications and remote workers. They both have implications on your IT environment that you may not have previously considered. Improving your IT environment includes thinking about all of its endpoints and connections.
2. Fortify Your Cyber Security Posture
The baseline for security has changed. Unless you’re using advanced tactics to identify and stop intruders from damaging, stealing, and kidnapping your data, you’re more vulnerable to cyber risks than you should be. Not only does modern cyber security include sophisticated software that utilizes Artificial Intelligence (AI), but ongoing cyber security awareness training is vital to keep humans from being the weakest link in your cyber defenses.
3. Standardize Across the Board
Standardization of hardware and software is a tactic used to eliminate one-of-a-kind troubleshooting and support. It also makes installation, repair, and maintenance less expensive and more efficient.
Some departments may need more powerful versions of your standard desktop or laptop computer, and some people may need specialized apps, but keeping those variations to a minimum will help control costs in the long run.
4. Improve Asset and Data Management
Asset and data management helps you keep track of your software, hardware, and data storage space. Keeping a thorough record will help you stay informed so that you’re purchasing just what you need and no more.
Effective asset management will also make it easier for you to plan and budget for the future because it allows you to refresh hardware and software on a schedule.
5. Manage IT Labor
It might have made sense to have your IT person wear multiple hats when your business was smaller and less complicated, but there comes a time when you can’t operate optimally unless you have all your IT bases covered. Likewise, if you have more sophisticated needs, you may have outgrown your IT support provider.
What you need are the skills of a collection of different people who bring all of the various IT specialties to your team.
IT Strategy + Comprehensive IT Department Services
Even if you’re on board with these recommendations for getting more value from IT, you could be at a loss for how to move forward. Instead, you’ll find the path with a different approach to IT, one that is strategic and gives you access to a whole IT department of specialties.
Fully staffing a comprehensive IT department and having a full-time Chief Information Officer is not feasible for most businesses. Outsourcing Managed IT Services is the solution to have both, along with proactive IT management.
Business Outcomes from Outsourcing Managed IT Services
When you fill the gaps in your IT capability and switch to a proactive approach to IT management, you gain the ability to strategically use technology as a competitive advantage.
The right technology has value beyond operating expenses. Take a look at the ways that technology can help your business uncover your return on investment, such as:
- Faster product or service delivery
- Increased productivity
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Improved employee retention
- Achievement of business goals
Overcome Your IT (and Business) Challenges with Managed IT Services
Here at Accent, we help small to mid-sized Southern California businesses use the power of technology to propel their organizations forward. So whether the challenge in front of you is managing IT costs, keeping up with IT staff turnover, or gaining confidence in your cyber security posture, we’re here to help. Contact us for a free IT assessment.
About Derek Woolf
Derek Woolf, Chief Operating Officer of Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., brings a unique perspective to the technology picture. He began working for Accent in 1999 while earning his B.S. degree in Accounting from the University of La Verne. With his financial background, he is able to look at technology from a dollars and cents perspective, and help businesses plan and budget for the future. He also oversees Accent’s day-to-day operations and continually motivates his team to be better than good – we have to be remarkable!