These days, technology changes so quickly just keeping up with it is a full-time job, let alone figuring out how to actually apply it to your business in an organized, strategic and profitable way while maintaining the best uses of your current systems and keeping your network functioning efficiently and securely. That requires technology management, and it's an increasingly important task. So, just what is technology management?
Essentially, it's just making certain all purchases of IT services and products enhance business performance. They should all somehow increase revenue or reduce expenses, or provide infrastructure to support other programs or hardware your business needs to function.
In your private life, you probably have bought software or devices just because they were new or cool or gave you bragging rights, but you rarely use them. The job of managing business technology is simple: add to net profit. A business needs to use technology for human advantage, as another tool to reach business goals, not as an end in itself. Using the right IT services requires planning, strategy and a roadmap.
This article explains in more detail how to plan to improve your organization's technology management. We'll also explain why using the right managed IT services helps you better manage technology while also keeping your network up and running, with only a minimum number of issues at all times.
Technology Planning, Strategy and Roadmap
Too many companies "manage" technology like someone driving from New York to Los Angeles without any knowledge of the time required, the distance involved or the highways they need to take. They are always reacting to sudden problems and the latest fads.
A technical roadmap is a document that charts how your business will use technology in support of business priorities over the next 3-5 years. When your company remains in reaction-mode, the strategic planning required to create your roadmap will have a dramatic impact on your business by forcing you to proactively plan your business's future and how to use technology to reach your goals.
Roadmaps and the planning process benefit technology leadership by giving them guideposts about what's expected. They benefit functional leadership by letting them know the IT department's priorities.
The best technology plans include:
- A list of the business's strategic priorities
- A timeline of the business's projects and initiatives for the next few years, including sizes, durations and start and stop dates
- A list of possibilities for improvement, prioritized
- The business justification for each project
- Each project's estimated cost and duration
- Each project's owner, the executive directly responsible for it
Regularly Scheduled Network Check Ups
Your network does not maintain itself. You need to check network processes just as PCs and laptops need regular checks for malware and registry errors. Review your IT hardware, processes, security procedures, management and performance.
- Assessing your network means analyzing every single piece of it, even printers. Make certain you're not already experiencing data loss. Are any of your resources under or over-utilized?
- Look for weak spots in equipment, connections, software and security procedures. Are you prepared for every possible disaster from hackers to hurricanes? Look especially hard for security issues.
- Any point in your network that is weak or compromised is a failure point. Use a thorough network assessment of your servers to detect all potential failure points.
- Be on the lookout for bottlenecks in data flow or bandwidth. Sometimes you can fix the problem using simple software to better manage the network's flow.
If it's been a long time since you last assessed your network, what you discover might shock you: actual or potential data loss, security holes and bottlenecks slowing down your staff's performance.
Managed IT Services Includes Technology Management
If all of the above sounds like a big job requiring a lot of time and work, that's correct. It is. If your organization normally just reacts to events, problems and new products on the market, switching your focus is difficult.
And it's even more time-consuming to carry out the necessary research:
- What new trends in technology are most important for your business? The cloud? Mobile apps? Big data? Business Intelligence?
- Once you decide to use a technology, what product is best for you? What criteria should you use to evaluate programs and hardware competing for your attention?
- The roadmap calls for at least a 3-year plan, but how much hardware will you need in 3 years? How do you accurate determine that so you don't buy too much or too little computing capacity?
- What software or hardware do you need to conduct your network assessment? Are you missing any security vulnerabilities because you're not up on the latest types of hacker attacks?
That's why many companies use managed IT services. By consulting with a dedicated Technology Account Manager, busy CEOs and CIOs obtain regular network assessments, strategic planning and a roadmap. It's the simplest and most budget-conscious solution for businesses already overwhelmed by technological challenges.
Just as you deliver your core business function effectively because it's where you focus your time and effort, managed IT service firms effectively manage technology because that's their core business.