Investing in the right IT platform and processes is vital for continued growth and business success. However, getting those investments right needs more than business acumen – it requires the expertise of IT Services.
Small and Medium-sized enterprises are the lifeblood of the European economy. It is estimated there are 24 million SMEs representing 99% of all companies in the EU, employing more than 100 million people. Therefore, making sure that each business is making the right IT investment decision is a critical part of those businesses’ success.
Making the right investment can come in many forms. Migrating and taking advantage of cloud services is a great example, as it enables better collaboration, greater access to services and data from any location, while increasing security, resilience, and uptime.
On a more day-to-day level, this may also mean ensuring that employees are using the right tools at their disposal. Microsoft Planner, a cut down version of Microsoft Project, found in Microsoft 365 is one example. It makes organising teamwork and assigning tasks easy and helping to run and organise projects more effective.
However, making sure the business is overcoming barriers to success is never easy. Pan-European research carried out by Sharp Europe surveyed 5,770 professionals responsible for purchasing IT in their SMEs found that leveraging IT investment ranked the same as finding new talent and managing diverse hybrid workforces in 2023.
The reasons behind this are complex and varied but the survey also found that 60% of respondents believed their organisations lacked the expertise in areas such as hardware specifications and cloud computing, suggesting that taking full advantage of IT resources was a barrier.
IT Investment Strategy Guide
In a challenging economic climate such as businesses of all sizes currently face, we found that smaller businesses are focusing on core competencies and getting the right value from investments they have made, or are about to make, in technology.
IT should not be a barrier to business success, it should be an enabler. By working with a trusted IT Partner SMEs can seamlessly manage and cost-effectively evolve IT investments, without the burden of having to do it all themselves. Working with an IT Partner it is possible to define and deploy the right IT investment strategy, allowing businesses to add that much sort after efficiency, productivity and growth.
There is no linear guide to successfully investing in IT, each is as unique as the company that needs it. However, there are general guidelines to follow that will help make IT investment easier to manage – these should focus on:
Assess the Business: What are the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of the current IT platform? This should be a detailed process that works through not only hardware assets but also security measures, performance metrics, and the overall capacities of the IT environment. By better understanding the current setup, gaps and inefficiencies can be identified.
Business Objectives: What are the goals and objectives the business is looking to achieve by implementing new technology? Consider where technology will add value, whether in the form of efficiency, streamlining data processes, driving innovation, or even enhancing the overall customer experience.
IT Investment Strategy: Once there is a better understanding of what currently constitutes the environment, along with what the business identifies as success, it is possible to start to build out an IT strategy. This strategy should define the prioritised areas for investment, the expected outcomes, and the associated risks and benefits. Furthermore, it should consider factors such as ready resources, budget limits, as well as any possible return on investment requirements.
Cost Analysis Plan: Regardless of when an organisation commits to investing in IT there is always a cost. By evaluating and creating an anticipated cost-benefit plan the initial costs can be compared to the long-term business benefits. By creating a plan that looks at costs compared alongside benefits, the business is in a better position to make informed decisions about the viability of investments.
Execute and Monitor: No business can afford to make IT investments and not monitor the results. Executing the strategy is a process in and of itself, from planning and allocating resources, through to carrying out the work itself. Once deployed, the new processes should be routinely evaluated and tracked against set objectives. If adjustments need to be made, this is when they will most likely be identified.
If all of this sounds rather daunting, it needn’t be. Managing the IT infrastructure of any SME requires time, focus and expertise. That is why it is vital to partner with an IT Services specialist that understands the needs of the business and has the knowledge to guide and support at every step of the journey.
It is the role of the IT Services provider to understand how first-class IT helps protect, support, and grow a business, enabling the organisation to focus on accelerating that growth. Sharp IT Services specialises in helping SMEs define what it is they are looking to achieve, and the outcomes they expect from their investment. Sharp offers a wide portfolio of IT support services, including IT security, infrastructure deployment and support across Europe.
Find out more about how you can make more of your business’ existing technology.