Most small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) begin as start-ups. Being new to the business means making rookie mistakes. It’s okay to make mistakes, especially if you learn from them. No pain, no gain, right? But it’s even better if you can learn from the mistakes of others. Less pain, lots of gain.
We’ve compiled eight of the most common IT mistakes many SMBs have committed through the years. Find out why they happen, and what you can do to avoid them.
- Not knowing the right technology to use, and how to use it
- Not knowing how to implement new technology
- Not knowing how to integrate technology
- Not knowing how to use technology to strengthen customer relations
- Not knowing how to use data properly
- Not understanding the importance of IT management
- Not knowing how to prevent cyberattacks
- Not keeping up with big tech trends
- Investing in technology is a must
Not knowing the right technology to use, and how to use it
Related article: Important considerations before implementing new business technology
For SMBs, choosing the right technology is crucial. SMBs do not have deep pockets, so they need to budget prudently. In addition, implementing new technology is challenging because it will surely disrupt your processes.
Before you buy new technology, ask yourself the following questions:
- What particular technology does your organization need? What are the problems/issues your organization face that this should address?
- How much is your budget?
- When do you target your new technology to be up and running?
- How ready are your staff for this major change? And what do you need to do to help them be ready?
Once you've answered these questions, here are some important points to consider before you implement new technology.
Not knowing how to implement new technology
Related article: 5 Questions to ask yourself when implementing new technology
So after you've carefully considered the above-mentioned factors, you’re finally convinced you need the new technology. Purchasing it may be easy, but implementing it properly is hard.
Implementation should be done by a highly reliable team of IT experts to minimize disruptions to your operations. A botched implementation can render the technology ineffective, and your employees and customers will heavily resist using it.
A reliable IT team should also prioritize security before, during, and after the implementation. The team should also secure your data during its migration to the new systems.
Make sure you consider some key factors when implementing new technology. If implemented right, everyone will greatly benefit from it.
Not knowing how to integrate technology
Related article: The many benefits of technology integration for your business
Acquiring different technologies is well and good, but to further improve your business’s performance, you should integrate the various technologies you use into existing systems. With integrated technology, you can make efficient use of data gathered from your daily operations.
But integrating technology is not without its difficulties:
- Handling new technologies requires various experts with specialized skills, who are often harder to find.
- Integration should be aligned with your business goals and not “just for the sake of it.”
- Integrating technologies may require major changes in your processes. If your staff does not see the benefits of this integration, you’ll encounter major resistance.
Fortunately, there are ways to overcome these challenges.
Not knowing how to use technology to strengthen customer relations
Related article: Tips for reinvigorating customer communication processes with IT
Excellent customer relations requires excellent customer service. To improve customer relationships, you should use technology as one of your main tools to make communications more effective and efficient. Prioritize your investments in the following crucial technologies:
- Customer relationship management (CRM) – Every person on your team should have access to a documented history of a customer’s interaction with your company. The IT solution for this is CRM software, which logs things like the call date, reason for the call, and channel they used to contact you.
- Unified communications (UC) – Unified communications IT improves your team's mobility without affecting availability. A UC platform integrates several channels into one and, for example, can send a call to multiple devices simultaneously. With UC, you get rid of one of the major turn-offs in customer relations: when customers’ calls take a long time to be answered or are left unanswered.
- Intranets and knowledge bases – Many companies struggle to deliver the right information to the right people. Intranets, such as Office 365’s SharePoint, make it simple to unearth relevant data stored in internal knowledge bases. Intranets also allow for easier collaboration since looking for the right information is simpler and faster, thanks to intelligent search functions.
Not knowing how to use data properly
Related article: What to do with the customer data you’ve collected
Another area where technology can help your business is data. Today’s technology allows businesses to gather a staggering amount of data from customers, site visitors, and users. But that is just the start; you should know how to use data to improve your business, specifically in the following stages:
- Data collection – You need to be able to gather the right information from the right people. You should know the context of your data; reading data out of context will lead to a wrong interpretation. Finally, you need to integrate your data sources to enhance your business and customer understanding.
- Insight gathering – For organizations, it’s best if you do away with “silo mentality,” or the mindset wherein departments, sectors, or groups within an organization refuse to share knowledge with one another. Let your smartest people connect the dots, come up with valuable, actionable insights, and form a hypothesis statement.
- Use of insights – From the insights, you can now refine your marketing strategy and improve your customer experience. You can even create smaller but more effective marketing campaigns aimed at more targeted audiences.
Data is the new currency. Here’s how to further optimize your data through correct analysis and use.
Not understanding the importance of IT management
Related article: Four alternatives to hiring additional IT staff
The underlying infrastructure of technology is dizzyingly complex — no wonder most of us take technology for granted. But as our business becomes more reliant on technology, the more we need people who can manage our systems.
However, managing your IT is not limited to troubleshooting your equipment and network and preventing downtimes. It also means deploying new technologies, keeping your system secure, aligning technology with your business strategy, and unburdening the rest of your staff from IT concerns.
If your business uses technology for your day-to-day operations, then you need dedicated people to manage it. Discussed here in detail are five reasons why someone should be looking after your IT.
Related article: In-house IT vs. managed services: Advice for small businesses
Not knowing how to prevent cyberattacks
Related article: Why are companies unprepared for cyberattacks
Cybercrime losses are continuously increasing. In 2013, the global average cost of cybercrime was at $7.2 million. Five years later, it went up to $11.7 million. What's more, three of the top 10 largest data breaches of all time happened in 2018.
In the face of all this, your organization should know how to prevent cyberattacks. Luckily, there are many ways to do that, regardless of how much cybersecurity budget you have. There are security measures you can immediately implement, most of them costing next to nothing. Then there are cybersecurity measures you need to spend money on.
Make sure your business is protected with this essential two-tiered checklist against cyberattacks.
Not keeping up with big tech trends
Related article: A quick guide to keeping up with technology trends
If you want to stay relevant and keep up with the competition, you cannot allow yourself to fall behind in technology. History is littered with cautionary tales of brands that did not see that the writing was on the wall and fell on the wayside as their competitors embraced new technology and zoomed past ahead of them.
But the more savvy companies know that embracing new technology has its benefits: efficient customer engagement that leads to increased productivity and further growth. These companies accept change as a continuous process, always adapting and keeping up.
If you don’t keep up with technology, your business will fall behind and suffer these devastating consequences.
Investing in technology is a must
Related article: 5 Reasons why every business should invest in modern technology
Technology continues to change, sometimes in profound ways, how people buy and consume goods. It has radically transformed business processes as well. Organizations are under increasing pressure to innovate, but many aren’t sure how or where to start.
Smart business leaders know there’s a lot more to technology than simply chasing after the latest solutions and trends. They also know that every new opportunity comes with its fair share of risks. But by investing in the right technology, organizations are quickly able to achieve their business goals.
Still in doubt? These five reasons why every business should invest in technology might help you decide.
Do not fall behind your competitors, but be smart when investing in technology. Partner with experts who have years of experience modernizing business processes. Online Computers provides innovative IT support and solutions that drive business growth and save you time and money. Contact us today and leave the technology to us.
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