Technology can be expensive, overwhelming, and with constant changes may seem impossible to keep up with, which is why many small businesses are reluctant to embrace new technology or update their current systems. The sentiments run deep that the current workflow is “good enough” and change is not worth the investment, or frustration, to upgrade. Unfortunately, this attitude is bolstered, more often than not, when a small business does take the leap to implement new technology as they tend to cut corners with implementation and training to “save money.”
Many people are able to set-up their own home wireless network and use technology every day to manage their household needs. Success at home leads to the notion that their “expertise” translates into being the IT person for their business with the noble purpose of saving money.
However, managing a work setup is multi-dimensional: employees, data management, storage, mobile access, and safety measures are mixed with client information. When not done right this setup can lead to compromised security, no access when needed or the loss of valuable data, and an overall breakdown in efficiency. So much for the supposed cost-cutting idea of doing it yourself!
While small businesses need to be smart on how they spend their money, technology is usually not a DIY project. Fortunately, there are a lot of options to outsource your IT needs that don’t have to break the bank.
Those with IT knowledge have a distinct advantage in seeking out help of an outside resource. Understanding the techno-babble and breaking down how and what systems might work for your needs based on an IT specialist’s recommendations gives you a leg up on forging ahead with new options. The business owner should focus on what makes them money. Do not be penny wise and pound foolish, as the old saying goes. Let the IT professionals help you with what they do best. It will be more efficient, more secure, and less stressful in the long run.
Investing in technology can help make your life easier, but only if you are using it the right way. Not budgeting for training is one of the biggest reasons for the failure of systems—new and existing, when it comes to technology.
More often than not, small businesses do not spend the time needed training with their everyday technology such as Microsoft Office, project management systems, cloud storage, or other business management software. This means they likely aren’t using available features it to the fullest extent. They are not getting full value out of the workflow, or developing new procedures as business needs evolve or grow.
While knowing the basics may keep you working, software providers are constantly developing and upgrading their systems based on use and other applications changes/updates to implement automation, shortcuts and integrations. To fully take advantage of the benefits of existing software it takes regular (quarterly, monthly) hands-on, in-depth training of staff using these systems.
“Shelfware” is a term commonly used for technology that is unused or underused. Investing in training of new technology is as important as investing in the technology itself; otherwise your hard earned dollars are going to be spent on shelfware.
The bottom line: budgeting for infrastructure improvements is critical to optimum working conditions. Investing in training time should be a regular line item. Although it costs time and money upfront, it will pay off tenfold. You and your staff will be empowered and infused with knowledge, confidence, and the satisfaction that you are investing in your own or your employees’ growth, which will in turn deliver increased productivity and profits.
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