Is Your IT Department Hindering Your Business’s Growth?
Technology evolves rapidly, so staying up-to-date with the latest equipment and software isn’t always an easy task. Your IT department must have a finger on the pulse of new trends and the ability to think creatively to find solutions to pain points within your business.
The global pandemic disrupted businesses from online retailers to the local mom-and-pop gas station. An Upwork study found an increase of 87% in remote work from pre-pandemic levels. The way we do business and work changed in a heartbeat, and it isn’t likely to reverse anytime soon. How well your brand adapts to changes may depend solely on the skills of your IT department.
IT experts are notorious for working in the delegated area of the building and showing up to set up a new computer or fix an issue. Leadership may be a little unsure of the advanced technical work they do. However, if you want to have a strong company, it’s time to get a handle on your IT department.
Can Your IT Handle Your Company’s Growth?
Scaling up your business requires forethought and a forward-thinking vision. It’s wise to ask if your IT department is holding you back. Your workers may need more resources, your equipment upgraded, or you may need to seek a different third-party vendor to handle your needs.
Here are some questions to ask to determine where you’re at and what needs improvement.
1. Are There Errors Still Unfixed?
There’s a glitch in your software and it freezes in the middle of taking information from a customer for an order. Your computer overheats and shuts off every day at 11 a.m. While every company deals with computer-based issues from time to time, when they remain unresolved you have a problem.
Spend time talking to your IT team about your concerns. Why isn’t the problem fixed? You may need to ask them to speak in simple terms and lose the IT jargon. Keep asking questions until you understand the issue. Perhaps you need to upgrade the software or buy new computers.
2. How Is Information Secured?
With more people working from home, a mobile workforce brings unique security challenges. Can your current department handle workflows from multiple locations without compromising the safety of sensitive data?
Third-party IT companies often have the latest equipment and security measures already in place. You may pay less for an outsourced IT solution than an in-house one because you won’t have to buy and upgrade software and hardware.
3. Can They Help Grow My Revenue?
Recent marketplace profiles indicate business priorities shifted to revenue growth for the coming year. Happy customers buy more and return for additional purchases. Your IT company should focus on the customer experience (CX) and the elements controllable by then, such as the speed of your website and user interface design.
4. What’s the Best Way to Scale Up?
Spend some time talking to your IT department leaders about the ways you’d like to scale up your business in the next five years. Ideally, they’ll already have solutions in mind to help you handle increased orders and manage customers effectively.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is only as effective as the software you utilize. Is your IT department aware of what’s available and what works best with your business model? If not, ask them to study the topic and get back to you with creative solutions.
5. How Fast Is Data Technology Growing?
According to Statista, experts predict big data market share will reach $103 billion by 2027. Millions of new videos get added each month to various social networks, people share photos, upload articles, and create electronic books.
The sheer amount of data is almost overwhelming. If you aren’t prepared to take advantage of the information available to better understand your target audience, you’ll fall behind the competition.
Talk to your IT department about how to access the data needed to refine your buyer personas, keep tabs on current customers and predict what future products your users might want.
6. Can I Save Money?
Most IT departments, whether in-house or outsourced, get paid based on the volume of work and how many employees they need to get tasks done. Talk to your provider about perfecting processes and becoming more efficient.
Look for ways to save money with your IT processes, but also ask them to run reports on the productivity of other departments. Where are you wasting time and money? Once you know where funds leech, it’s much easier to fix any existing issues or foresee potential problems.
7. Where Can We Improve Communication?
IT employees often know their roles and responsibilities. They may work almost on autopilot without consulting too much with management. Unfortunately, this can lead to bad habits and unproductive work schedules.
Spend time talking to your IT department head about how you can communicate your needs better. Set up weekly scrum meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page. You may even want to include IT in a team-building exercise to ensure they feel part of the company culture.
Pay Attention to Training
Because tech does change so quickly, it’s important to keep your staff highly trained and motivated. Send them to conferences, pay for a course in new infrastructure and invest in their knowledge. The more your IT department knows, the better they’ll serve your needs as your company grows and changes.