Strategic IT Planning

Strategic Approach to IT Services and the benefits to Small Business

Small to medium sized businesses have unique challenges compared to their larger brothers and sisters. Resources are often over stretched in terms of both time and money, resulting in members of staff turning their skills (or otherwise) to a number of roles. Strategic planning is probably most often put to the bottom of the To Do pile as the day to day running of the business sucks up all the available time and energy. IT services, essential to the smooth and efficient running of all modern businesses are often included in this “bottom of the list” scenario. In many small businesses the “techie” member of the team takes on the job of IT maintenance and trouble shooting. This situation has 2 major disadvantages, #1 it takes the employee away from their proper job and #2 by using a person with limited knowledge it can result in unnecessary problems and inefficiencies being created.

This was the situation in one of the clients of Glade Creek Technology. For a number of years there had been no strategic direction for IT, with different “IT Service” companies being employed at different stages when issues arose. The day to day troubleshooting was handled by an employee who was a technical enthusiast rather than an expert, which in turn caused further problems.

Jon Pollock from Glade Creek knew that with a strategic approach to their IT this company would not only save money but also see an increase in efficiency with their overall business. As Jon says “The average small business owner has many skills, but IT is not usually one of them. When I initially meet with a potential client, the first thing I do is establish the business objectives and what the IT system needs to do to meet these objectives. A straight forward Audit of the current system will immediately tell me where I need to concentrate my work to bring the system up to date and working efficiently. My whole ethos is the proactive approach with effective pre-planning. For example the current server could be 2 years old, so as part of the program we could plan to upgrade this at the 3 year stage – either to replace with a more up to date server or ideally move to a cloud based system. By preplanning the business owner can budget for the expense and we can develop a plan together on how best to install and upgrade at the right time. Of course inevitably there is some troubleshooting from time to time, that’s the nature of IT, but again and again I find that with a strategic IT plan in place that the downtime and issues are reduced on average by 80%. That means a huge saving in money for the business owner, but maybe more importantly business efficiency is increased so that the whole organization can focus on the things that matter.