6 Common Tech Issues That Can Affect Your Business Growth
In a digital world that’s constantly changing and evolving, how your business adapts and uses technology is vital to sustaining business growth. When not used properly, business technology can increase your vulnerability, reduce ROI, and cost your company its competitive edge.
1. Data Security
Hackers are busy crafting new threats. Every business must find ways to safeguard its network. Stealing data is now secondary to tactics like ransomware, where hackers take control of your data and demand payment for its release.
New concepts like distributed computing over multiple devices compound the risks. BYOD (bring your own device) policies and remote workers increase the possibility of introducing malware to your systems.
Small-to-medium businesses are a favorite target because they have fewer safeguards and IT resources. It’s important that SMBs introduce multiple layers of security, including firewall and anti-malware programs, and encryption.
It’s also important to apply updates and perform regular data back-ups. Employees need to be trained in security practices such as using strong passwords, spotting scammer tricks, and BYOD guidelines.
2. Technology is Expensive
Trying to keep up with all the latest hardware and software solutions puts a big strain on your budget. The limited financial resources of SMBs makes it difficult to compete with corporate enterprises.
Some businesses follow strategies such as planning for overall upgrades every few years. However, it’s better to prioritize and identify what needs to be upgraded to provide optimal efficiency.
Other influences on your spending could be the need to maintain large or specialized IT teams, sudden demand for expansion as demands spike, or the need for employee training.
It’s important to regard IT expenses in the same terms as any other business investment by assessing the relative risks and rewards.
3. Lack of Employee Training
Some businesses leaders don’t realize that employee training is also a key factor. Without adequate training, technologies are not fully used and their true value is never realized.
Employees undergo a learning curve for each new technology introduced, during which productivity is reduced. For every employee that doesn’t have sufficient skills, you also run the risk of errors or customer dissatisfaction that will may affect revenue.
In order to get the most from your technical upgrades, you’ll have to evaluate the skill levels achieved and provide ongoing training as needed.
People in general are resistant to change.
Before implementing new solutions, be sure that employees understand the value it will bring to the company and how it can benefit them in their own duties. It will speed acceptance to introduce new solutions first to key personnel who can become advocates and mentors for others.
When you’re ready for a full roll-out, remove legacy systems so users aren’t tempted to go back to the old technology. Be prepared to provide ongoing support and further education.
4. Too Much Information
Big data and analytics have become important tools for growing companies. From scanners and sensors to internet activity, more information is being captured and streamed to your network. Companies find themselves with huge volumes of data that grow at alarming rates. This may bring about information overload.
Poor data quality means relying on information that’s outdated, duplicated, incorrect, or irrelevant. The result is inaccurate reporting, miscommunication, wasted effort, and poor decision-making.
Conflicting input from different sources creates confusion and inactivity. Random data can also lead to needlessly complex research and planning that impedes business growth.
To avoid this, your business culture must adopt tools and strategies that can cleanse and filter data to align with each business challenge.
5. Rapid Technological Changes
Technology quickly becomes outdated as new versions and new products appear. Disruptive technologies are innovations that create new markets, but disrupt or eventually replace existing ones. But even long-established technologies are constantly evolving through added features and improvements.
The ability to adapt quickly and effectively as solutions change is crucial to long-term success. Understanding what technology is needed, and how and when to implement it, is an important factor in growth.
6. Misuse of Big Data
Big data is a valuable asset to businesses. Each company’s data is unique, so that analysis helps to spot trends, predict patterns, and measure performance in ways that benefit your company specifically. Data analysis tools enable fast yet comprehensive problem-solving. When misused, however, it can introduce problems.
Many companies don’t have data scientists on the payroll. They may not understand how to use their own information. Data must provide concrete facts or measurements. Inaccurate and irrelevant data leads to potentially damaging results, so that company stakeholders have no confidence in their own business intelligence.
One misconception is that the data itself provides value. But more is not better. Poorly selected or poorly structured data can lead to over-analysis and misunderstanding. Data is useless if it doesn’t provide actionable conclusions.
All uploaded data should be scrubbed of defective information, transformed to align with existing data, and organized efficiently. This allows end users to determine the information they need and analyze it in the right business context.
In summary, technology must be chosen and used appropriately to provide optimal value.
Security, costs, employee training, and effective management of growing data volumes are all essential factors. To be successful, companies must develop mechanisms for not only making the right technology choices, but adapting to change.