Get your IT right, and you have an efficient team, a superior customer experience and an improved profit per person. Get it wrong…
So, in the hope of avoiding the latter, here are a few things you should probably avoid.
7 – Unreasonable Expectation
If you and your team are expecting miracles, you’re going to be disappointed, frustrated and lack engagement. If you’re expecting that it won’t work, then it almost certainly won’t. Both result in a failure and inefficiency.
So don’t be like Alan, a regional manager I used to work with, who had such a dim view of IT that he rarely switched his PC on.
Instead, be realistic about what your systems can achieve. Invest time in understanding their scope and what they’re designed to do. You’ll enjoy them so much more, and believe it or not, happy workers are up to 12% more productive.
6 – Poor Training
Uneducated users are inefficient. They make mistakes, become frustrated, and impact other people’s time because they need help. Worst, they greatly increase the risk of a poor customer experience.
It’s just like when you talk to a call centre and the voice at the other end says, “I don’t understand this. Can I just put you hold for moment while I talk to my supervisor?”
The call takes longer and certainly doesn’t inspire confidence in the organization.
Try enhancing your in-house training and appoint evangelists to mentor, encourage and continually develop your team.
5 – Failing to Engage With and Promote New Systems
All systems take time to bed in, but if you don’t actively encourage adoption, you risk the new tool being sidelined or ignored. This is a double whammy. You’ve spent the money and the same inefficiencies will still exist.
I delivered a graphical information system for the regional managers, including Alan. He was determined to ignore it, but we kept encouraging him until he finally got on board and became our most ardent supporter.
Your training evangelists will help here. Their enthusiasm will be infectious, and no one will want to miss out on something that will make their day so much easier.
4 – Setting and Forgetting
CEOs and SME owners have a lot to manage, and they continually adjust the business for changes in the market, legislation, staffing issues, maintenance requirements and many other factors.
Ignore these, and the business suffers.
Ignore your IT, and you get the same result.
So don’t be like a certain iconic Australian brand I deal with that still relies on the systems they implemented 20 years ago. They’ve just discovered that they need to completely revamp just about every facet of their IT because it’s unable to support them as they grow.
A stitch in time still saves nine, even in the modern technological world, so review your systems annually to ensure they’re fit for purpose and well maintained.
3 – No Strategy or the Wrong Strategy
What’s worse than letting your systems slowly disintegrate?
Having the wrong systems in the first place.
Having no effective strategy, not aligning your IT to your business requirements and not planning are guaranteed ways to increase your costs and reduce efficiency.
So don’t be like the large financial institution that purchased a major piece of software from the US. Being American, the system doesn’t do some accounting activities that are mandatory in Australia. They now employ 80 people in India to produce the information for them.
Instead, take the time to plan your direction and understand your needs now and in to the future, long before you sign a purchase order.
2 – Lack of Investment
SMEs should be investing 4-5% of gross on IT each year, yet many don’t, and it’s this failure that nearly always underpins the 5 previous mistakes.
Limited investment in IT assets results in slow machines, user inefficiency, disengagement and low morale, data compliance issues, cybersecurity implications, ineffective management information and an inferior customer experience.
The CEO of the iconic Australian brand is finding out the hard way that his lack of investment now means he needs to play catch up to compete in a tight market.
Instead, treat your IT the same way you’d manage fleet vehicles or store fronts. Regular investment ensures you get the best possible value in the long run.
1 – Thinking of IT as a Cost
This is like a disease. It slowly incapacitates its host by strangling investment and innovation, leaving the workforce debilitated and inefficient, and unable to provide anything other than an inferior customer experience.
So don’t be like the CEO of the iconic brand. He thought that new ERP software was just money down the drain because his existing systems were good enough. He’s now discovering that it’s cost him in terms of efficiency, that it doesn’t provide the necessary information, and has severely impacted the customer experience.
Instead, take a moment to understand that it’s 2018 and just about every business is now a DIGITAL BUSINESS and you should be embracing the opportunities that modern technology presents.
Your IT assets should provide a Foundation for your business and Assistance for your team. They should Simplify your activities, help you Engage with your customers and become a pillar of Strength over time.
If you want efficiency, a superior customer experience and to maximise your profit per person, you must invest in IT.
Today’s Top Takeaway
Your competitors are embracing the opportunities that the digital world is offering. Don’t let them leave you behind!
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.