‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee – his hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see’
Muhammad Ali, 1974
There’s a reason Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest boxers of all time. He possessed a grace and speed that allowed him to avoid most hits that came his way. His tactic wasn’t to see how many times he can take a hit – it was to anticipate and avoid the blows in the first place. This is also the best tactic for small businesses to follow when it comes to IT management.
Instead of reacting to a blow, you should focus on prevention. This is true for all kinds of IT challenges, including:
If you’re ready for anything, nothing will surprise you. So, you’d best keep light on your feet. Here’s how proactive IT management benefits growing businesses.
Round 1: It encourages business growth
Small businesses who focus on digital innovation saw growth of more than ten percent in 2016. By doing so, they invest in tools for employee collaboration, customer relationship management and business analytics. Adopting this technology and upgrading your assets nurtures business growth by allowing you to provide higher quality services to clients.
When small businesses hesitate to embrace digital, it can cost them. So be proactive and save money. For example, consider embracing mobile technology and allowing employees to work from anywhere in the world. Not only does this encourage growth through reduced overheads; it also lets you get the best talent the world has to offer. Imagine how much your business could grow if you had access to a worldwide talent pool.
Don’t get left behind as your competition uses technology to their benefit. Embrace it, so that your business can go toe-to-toe with the best.
Round 2: It future-proofs your business
Reactive IT support – only acting when you must – is enough to keep things going. It’s business as usual. But with advancing technological development across all industries, being reactive means you're already behind the curve.
When you are proactive, on the other hand, you're looking to the future and how you will face it. Being proactive is opening an overseas office and ensuring you have ongoing IT services, so nothing is ever out of date or vulnerable. It's having an IT partner that understands local infrastructure requirements so that you have peace of mind. Even just making sure you back up all your data also goes a long way towards future-proofing. Businesses need to keep their gloves up or else they might not know what hits them.
Round 3: It increases productivity and innovation
Only 43 percent of employees are happy with their organisations current reaction to digital trends. Yet, 91 percent of them believing technology can transform the way they work.
This isn’t hard to believe. We live in an era defined by technology. In their private lives, employees use Skype, smartphones and apps to make their lives easier. Imagine their frustration at receiving a five-year old laptop running out-of-date software for their work!Proactive use of technology can increase both productivity and innovation through collaboration through:
- Reducing paperwork. Nobody likes paperwork but it is the reality of doing business. But there's a bright side: you can get things completed, signed and filed quickly using mobile scanner apps, editable documents and digital form-signing.
- Employees can spend more time on the work that matters by using automation tools. There are tools for social media, communication, marketing and sales. Never send a person to do a computer's job.
- Cloud-based collaboration technology. This allows for transparent, unified communications. Everyone in the company can share, search and discuss information easily across one platform.
Round 4: It makes you less vulnerable to cyberattacks
As the recent WannaCry cyberattack demonstrated, businesses need robust defences against hackers. The NHS suffered a severe blow, having to turn away patients and cancel operations.
Too many businesses view cybersecurity as a nuisance, not an investment. Businesses need to realise that good security can lead to growth, while bad security means lost customers, poor sales, legal penalties and fines. As of February 2017, security breaches against small businesses incurred an average cost of £1,380. I think we can all agree, that money is better placed in your pocket rather than being wasted on avoidable expenses.
If you are proactive and have an IT security plan in place, it can be a major cost-prevention measure. With a bit of foresight and preparation, you can minimise the costs and downtime of any security incident. This means you need less recovery time before getting back in the ring.
No more knock-outs
You wouldn’t enter a boxing ring without training, so don’t enter the digital realm half-heartedly. Where would Rocky be without his coach Mickey? Probably still chasing chickens.
Having the right people in your corner improves the safety and security of your business network. They can also drive growth, innovation and productivity by being proactive in their IT management. If you want your business to become the undisputed champion of your market you need to prepare because you don't know where the next hit might come from.