Do you have an IT strategy or do you deal with issues as and when they arise?
If this question were to be posed to a random cross section of small to medium enterprise, it’s reasonable to suggest that the split would be around 50/50. Certainly, anecdotal evidence would suggest this to be the case.
Sadly, there seems to be little by way of supporting evidence. This report in ComputerWeekly, which dates back to 2003 would indicate that a meeting in the middle is about right. Of course, this is over 10 years ago, but nothing has really changed in the way that SMEs deal with their IT systems since then, so 50/50 will do for now.
Who’s Spending What?
There are approximately 2.1 million businesses in Australia, with 12% having 5 or more employees. Most of these will have IT needs of some sort and yet only half of them are giving any real though as to how IT can help shape their business.
That leaves 125,000 businesses who are playing it by ear, tactically spending money on their IT needs when problems present themselves.
This is hardly ideal and certainly not what one would call good business practice, but one can still be a little sanguine in the face of rampant, random IT spending, and say that at least they’re investing in it to some extent.
Who’s Not Spending What?
Optimism aside though, not all of the 125,000 will be playing IT “whack-a-mole” buying software and hardware when they get an itch. A significant portion of them will be “set-and-forgetters”. These are the companies who bought something some years ago and who have had no real issues since then, or who have always done things a certain way.
I can only assume they’re content with how things are.
If only they knew what they were missing out on.
Why Do You Need a Strategy?
No one can accurately predict the future, although many will have a good go, and this ignorance should be a compelling motivator for making a good solid plan. Technology change, business changes and the miserable spectre of business interruption are just about inevitable, so when they do arrive we should be in a position to deal with them in the best possible way.
If one is to embrace the opportunities presented by the technological revolution, systems today need to be designed and implemented in a way that means they’re agile, flexible and portable. Similarly, should the proverbial hit the fan, we need to have disaster recovery policies in place to ensure minimum disruption.
The alternative is to leave it to luck, but I don’t think that quite qualifies as a strategy.
It’s Never Too Late
You wouldn’t buy manufacturing equipment, hire staff, take out a lease or spend money on marketing unless you had a business case to back it up and it was part of your over all strategy.
So why would any one spend many thousands of dollars annually on IT without having the same level of commitment to understanding how it fits in to your organisation?
And yet here we are, with tens of thousands of businesses throwing money at something they have little understanding of and no real plan for its use.
Perhaps now is the time to talk to someone who can help you maximise your investment.
100 Tips and Hints
MarshallFloyd – Your Virtual CIO – Download our free guide with over 100 tip, hints and ideas you can use to improve your IT.