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