Business leaders want to maximize their competitive advantage and often look to technology solutions to do just that. Of course, the bottom line always stays part of the equation, but in 2022 the majority of those serious about competing and staying relevant know technology can make or break a strategic vision for success.
Years ago, smart companies partnered with their IT team and developed a five-year roadmap, which addressed short- and long-term needs. In the shadow of the pandemic and the great pivot most businesses were forced into, that same conversation is more about a three-month roadmap. This is a clear demonstration of how things evolved in such a brief time.
In this article we examine this new world order from an IT perspective and explain the challenges and opportunities that keep the IT team up at night.
Today’s IT Team is constantly worried about security and privacy. No matter how well things run, the easiest way to get fired is a security breach. With a dramatic rise in cybercrime, cybersecurity is a constant and ever-increasing threat to any small business. Add to this the understanding that all the security in the world can’t guard against human error and it really becomes clear just how towering the security risk is. Despite the many reports of rising cybercrime – at the national level – it is still an uphill battle for IT teams trying to enforce best practices, including the need to train employees, dedicate maintenance periods for patching and updates and investment in tools, like two factor authentication.
Another worry on the mind of every IT team is the reluctance to adopt innovative solutions and endure the necessary change the goes with moving to more efficient, resilient and safe solutions. Businesses, especially the smaller ones, adopt the mindset “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”, but recognizing outdated solutions are a broken model is something difficult to explain to a business leader who is not focused on the technology and the risks that go with ignoring it.
With increasing reliance on third party vendors, IT Teams face the added challenge of ensuring vendors pull their weight. One might think the performance of a third-party vendor, perhaps Microsoft, the Internet Service Provider (“ISP”) or a hardware manufacturer, is not the concern of the IT Team, but try explaining to a business leader that email is down because Microsoft released a bad patch. There is a difference between responsible and accountable, but when systems are down, the buck starts and stops with the IT Team.
Technology changes daily. The daunting task of acquainting employees with an innovative technology solution is an inevitable challenge. In addition, it’s difficult for the IT Team to know if adoption and performance will truly deliver as expected. Nothing is guaranteed.
On top of everything else, industry and government regulations are rapidly expanding. Recent mandates and data privacy laws are becoming difficult to ignore or pretend they don’t apply. IT Teams know when a business fails an audit, business leaders ask how they – the IT Team – could let this happen. Large and small companies simply cannot afford to risk a non-compliance issue in 2022, but until the burden of fines or other penalties hit, most small businesses have little incentive to act. It’s a vicious and strange cycle. Managing budgets along with pressure to innovate is the cause of many sleepless nights among IT Teams. Business owners must balance present company needs against the pressure to adopt technology solutions that are better suited for long-term growth. Despite this, the post pandemic world sees 34% of small businesses saying they will spend more on modern technology in 2022 and beyond. Cybersecurity and cloud computing strategies are expected to see the largest increase in spending.
Maintaining a team of talented, dedicated, experienced and skilled technicians is no easy task, especially in today’s job market. Building a team that is full of productive problem-solvers with an excellent work ethic requires a broad spectrum of incentives, opportunity and reward. When a business has a “dream team” at their service it’s important to recognize their dedication and work ethic.
Roark Tech Services is the perfect partner for small businesses that want to optimize their technology investments. We understand the necessary approach, the fit-for-purpose need and the critical nature of technology integration. We are experts in the field and are uniquely qualified to help small businesses stay safe & competitive. Always consult with us first. If you don’t have an IT Partner that you can trust to give you the right support and advice, we’d love to help. Contact us.