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7 IT Business Tips

7  Small Business Tips for Gaining a Competitive Advantage Via Information Technology... 

1.  Consider financing computer equipment to capture the tax advantage and preserve working capital. Even relatively expensive computer gear can quickly become obsolete nowadays.  It is frequently made disposable by new products even before being fully depreciated. 

2.  It is often better to rent instead of buy - and that goes for your IT Department too! Don’t manage IT alone; it can easily become more costly in the long run.  Monitoring and preventive maintenance are the keys to avoiding business interruptions and lost productivity and that type of vigilance most likely isn’t part of your core business.  

3.  Make a single vendor responsible for system integration. This minimizes soft-dollar expenses and costly surprises by keeping your technology “coherent”,   working together as a whole.  The purchase price of technology only makes up a small share of its total cost of ownership.  The majority of technology costs come from testing, deploying and managing new hardware, software or services. 

4.  Consider VoIP to gain functionality and save on communication costs. Take care when evaluating this technology.  Voice-over-IP can be “rocky” when a specific system is not a good match for your business.  Professional assistance can help you avoid a poor fit and high implementation costs.  An initial price tag of $10,000 can quickly escalate to more than $100,000 in lost revenue, poor customer service and churned clients when the chosen system has a difficult implementation or does not fit the business.  

5.  Off-site computers are great but they are more likely to be compromised, break down or go missing.  Protect your data where appropriate by considering disk encryption, biometric security tokens, or other security and auditing extras that may be available.  It is also critical to back up all PCs on your network that contain business critical information.  This task is not as onerous as it sounds. There are several products available that will backup PC data automatically in the background while you work – whether you are online or offline.  

6.  Data recovery is not enough; you need to consider business continuity. What would you do if your business had no Internet or telephone access for an extended period of time?  A clear plan is needed for this possibility, whether it addresses a situation that lasts for several days or several weeks.  The survival of your business could depend on it. 

7.  Do not let your guard down to technology threats. Your first line of defense is a reliable all-around security suite.  You may need ad hoc scanners to address subsets of the ever-morphing collection of viruses and spyware.  Business grade security packages for smaller organizations are affordable and provide superior protection and management features when compared to consumer-oriented products.

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