on 12 December 18
The success of any business, regardless whether it offers products or services, rests squarely on the technology it utilises. In this highly globalised era, technology allows us to connect, innovate and educate.
However, even the largest company doesn’t have an unlimited IT budget and therefore the question arises what will make the best use of your investment, software or hardware? To reach a conclusion on this we first need to weigh up, because if its importance, whether we can increase our technology budget by any other means.
If you are a fairly small business it is wise to invest more heavily in technology, especially during the early days, than on overheads such as rent and utility bills. An office lease often ties you in for long periods and, depending where you are based, can prove expensive. A better idea is to think about choosing a serviced office. This gives you much greater flexibility in terms of location and provision for increased employee numbers, as there is no long-term commitment. In addition, serviced offices often also provide hardware, and the associated IT support staff, giving you scope to focus your budget just on the software you need.
Choose Software Wisely
The next step is to make sure you select software wisely, making use of those technologies which will allow you to connect more easily with your audience and thus increasing your ability to make sales.
One example of this is the recent rise in the popularity of VoIP connectivity, which allows you to make voice and video calls over the internet. Not only does VoIP software bring your costs down, because it is much cheaper to make long-distance and international calls via the web, but it also offers many other ways to connect colleagues and to reach out to clients. Screen share, instant messaging, online chat and click-to-call buttons on websites and in newsletters are all made possible by VoIP and they can greatly enhance your pre-sales and customer support processes.
Outsource Where You Can
It is now also much easier to outsource some of your IT needs whether for hardware or support. Being able to store data in the cloud means you need to have fewer servers on site and therefore your requirement for high levels of on-site support diminishes. It’s even possible to outsource your daily IT support needs and for a company restricted by a tight budget this can be a better option than taking on full-time permanent members of staff, at least until the size of your company warrants it.
Strike a Balance
Finally, it is important to always balance the hardware and software investments you make. It’s vital to provide your staff with hardware which is fast enough and runs reliably so that employees are able to do their jobs easily and thus keep productivity high. If you invest in new software it’s also essential that the hardware you possess can run it, especially if you are looking to purchase memory-hungry applications.
It’s also important not to forget to invest in software which might not at first glance seem to drive your business forward, but which will cause you problems if you neglect it. Anti-virus and backup software are two examples of this, as without them you cannot be sure that your data is safe and nor could you recover in the event of a data breach or loss.
Your investment in hardware and software needs to run in tandem if it is to support your business effectively. A heavy investment in software without the required provision of hardware will lead to problems. Therefore always look to alternative solutions, such as outsourcing and external provision, to make your IT budget stretch as far as possible.