Is your IT a driving force for innovation, or simply being used to keep the lights on? Companies must fully leverage technology to compete — and win — in the future.
What does your company make or do? Chances are, the answer won’t be “technology”, but do you still have a tech slant to your business products, services and operations? Companies today can’t get away with simply saying “We’re not a tech company”, and shuffling off innovation. Technology is one of the most important tools that your business has to help bypass competitors and make a difference in the world. Investments in technology continue to rise, making many seniors executives question whether this trend of IT spending can continue — and whether it’s truly adding value to the organization. As a business leader, it’s crucial that you’re able to articulate what happens when you attempt to skimp on providing the necessary tech for your business.
It may feel silly to even ask this question, but there are still people who struggle to see the fit for their business. Maintaining the status quo worked for generations, why is there a need to change and evolve? Operations are tightly integrated into technology, so every time your organization interfaces with another there’s a high probability that you will need some sort of technology solution. Your business technology handles everything from the way your customer service representatives answer the phone to routing orders and shipping products from your various facilities. The infrastructure that undergirds your business is an intrinsic part of your ability to thrive in today’s competitive marketplace. Simple solutions may miss the mark, costing you significantly more than expected in terms of remediation or hiring additional contractors to resolve any issues. Finding the right partner can make the difference between a well-scoped and successful project and one that runs significantly over-time and over-budget.
With the addition of more tech to your business, there’s always the potential for downtime and outages — something that is both increasingly familiar and increasingly expensive for your business. A study by AppDynamics examined the true cost of downtime and the failure of infrastructure, as a way to introduce the importance of DevOps cycling. This study showed that Fortune 1000 organizations are spending upwards of $1.25 – $2.5 billion on downtime each year, with the average hourly rate for downtime at $100,000. While this could be scaled down dramatically for a smaller organization, the scale of the impact is every bit as great. While downtime is something that is nearly inevitable, it can be minimized by creating a secure and redundant infrastructure that helps protect your organization in the event of a cybersecurity incident or other event.
It’s not an overstatement to say that skimping on your cybersecurity or infrastructure technology could cost you your business. More than 60% of small businesses cease to exist within 6 months of a data breach, a sobering fact to say the least. These cybercriminals are targeting major enterprises, but these are the high-profile attacks that you see in the news. The more common M.O. for a hacker is to target small to mid-size businesses, as there’s the perception that these organizations are not as proactive about putting together proactive cybersecurity as their larger brethren.
While security is important, the overall experience of your customers is often the most critical measure of success for an organization. When there are competitors around every corner, your business must be able to differentiate in a way that provides unique value to your customers. That often comes in terms of superior customer service or more intuitive websites and interactions. Shoppers are often willing to pay 15-20% more for a better and more personalized experience, which offers even greater value back to your business. With an investment in your infrastructure, you’re not only improving your operational efficiency but also providing a more secure and robust platform with which your customers can interact. Customer experience may feel like a buzzword that is used by management gurus, but it’s a real concept for your customers.
Reducing operational steps, driving efficiency back into your business and creating a truly customer-focused organization doesn’t always come cheap. When you reduce the quality of your operational infrastructure and technology support, you could be negatively impacting the future worth of your business — not to mention alienating the all-important customer.
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