8 tips for eliminating inefficiency

Technology or Managed IT consultants will readily tell you about all the value they can add to your business – installing this and installing that. The fact is, however, while much of what they say might be true, is just noise. The core responsibility of your technology or Managed IT consultant is to eliminate inefficiency. Moreover, the core responsibility of your technology or Managed IT consultant is to ensure that your technology functions such that you can forget about it.

If you spend any time thinking about your technology, you have probably engaged the wrong technology consultants. Your technology should operate in a manner that enables you to focus on core business. If your technology or Managed IT consultant is doing their job – downtime, data storage issues, recovery problems and security threats should be a thing of the past. You should also be making the most opportunities to integrate your systems and automate to reduce costs.

The last 20 years have taught me that there are 8 keys to eliminating inefficiency.

1. KNOWLEDGE

It is uncommon in 2021 for a business to develop or market a product without first fully understanding the needs and wants of the market they will depend on for profitability.

It should be no different with technology. Before spending a cent, it is essential to develop the best possible understanding of the business, its technology requirements, the current technology, security arrangements, hosting arrangements and anything else that can impact on efficiency.

My advice – Undertake an annual objective, comprehensive and strategic audit of your technology to identify the strengths, and weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

2. STRATEGY

Few businesses have achieved optimum performance without an optimum strategy. Most businesses in 2021 have clear objectives and the strategy required to achieve those objectives.

Equally, eliminating inefficiency and enabling the team to focus on core business – knowing that their technology will do its job, and more, without fail – cannot be achieved without the right strategy. An issue-by-issue approach to your technology will deliver less and cost more.

My advice – Set clear objectives – including the elimination of inefficiencies and develop a medium to long term strategy to ensure these objectives are achieved – cost-efficiently.

3. CUSTOMISATION

Just as your business objectives are unlikely to be achieved without a business plan, your technology objectives are unlikely to be achieved without addressing the requirements of that business plan.

Your technology strategy needs to be developed with your business and your objectives in mind. When it comes to technology strategies, ‘one size does not fit all.’ Your technology requirements will be different from any other business, and eliminating inefficiency involves finding your solution.’

My advice – While readily accepting off the shelf software or hardware, where it offers the most economical solution, ensure that your technology strategy is customised to suit your business.

4. SECURITY

No business in 2021 is immune to security threats. Indeed, most businesses will, at some time, have to confront security breaches. More and more businesses are being held to ransom by criminals.

Ensuring your technology is secure is central to eliminating inefficiency.  Not only do you need to know that your systems are protected, but you also need to know that if your firewalls are breached, you have in place the recovery systems required to get you up and running again in minutes.

My advice – Include in your annual technology audit a review of your security, data storage and recovery systems and proceed as if your firewalls will be breached at some time.

5. AUTOMATION

In the years ahead, you will hear more and more about business process automation. This is because the automation of business processes has the potential to radically reduce the cost of doing business

There are in 2021 many off the shelf packages that can automate a business process, saving both time and money. Creative technology consultants can identify opportunities for process automation and develop customised solutions for your business. The potential savings can be enormous.

My advice – Engage a technology consultant with the imagination and technical expertise to identify opportunities in your business for process automation.

6. INTEGRATION

The days of standalone systems are numbered. More and more businesses are leveraging the opportunities for integrating all technology including, computers, telephony, and audio-visual.

Integrated systems can eliminate inefficiency by enabling the more efficient sharing and analysis of data, the development of more powerful databases, superior communication, and lower software and hardware costs. Integration can also reduce maintenance and servicing costs.

My advice – As part of the annual technology audit, review the opportunities for systems integration and then incorporate integration into your strategy.

7. EFFICIENCY RATINGS METRICS

Technology is a means to an end. For most businesses, that ‘end’ is efficiency. The primary role of an IT consultant must be to take responsibility for leveraging technology to eliminate inefficiencies.

In developing a strategy, your consultants need to articulate clearly the Efficiency Rating Metrics to be used.  ERMs should drive decision making and must be incorporated into monthly reports – to demonstrate that the consultancy is doing its job and efficiency is improving.

My advice – Establish your initial efficiency rating and the best options for optimizing it. Ensure that there is an ERM update in every monthly report.

8. TIMING

The time to modify, update, or upgrade your technology is before it fails – before you experience downtime before there is a security breach and before data is lost. This is central to efficiency.

In addition to highlighting the importance of the annual audit and medium to long term strategy, the need to anticipate issues before they occur, while not spending unnecessarily, requires ongoing monitoring of your systems and the provision of updates in monthly reports.

My advice – In addition to conducting an annual audit and documenting a medium to long term strategy, ensure your consultants monitor your systems and report monthly.

In my experience, unless you develop and or sell technology, you don’t want to think about it. Every person I know in business wants to focus on core business in the knowledge that their technology is doing what it needs to as well as it can for as little expenditure as possible. I would argue that this is a perfectly reasonable position. I would also argue that it is entirely achievable if your technology or Managed IT consultant understands that their core responsibility is to eliminate inefficiency and enable you to get on with doing what you do best.

If you want to know more, please call or email us.    

Wolfe Systems IT
1300 381 727
[email protected]