Technology is ingrained in our society and permeates many aspects of our personal and professional lives. When it works well, it can dramatically increase productivity. On the flip side, technology can also cause a considerable waste of time and money. A 2015 1E Report found that waste can be up to an average of 37% which translates to $30B in the US alone. So what is a small business owner to do when technology is often hard to live with and seemingly impossible to live without?
In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Michael Mankins presents practical recommendations that can be applied when considering technology alternatives. If the technology isn’t saving your company time, it should be viewed skeptically. It may not be enough to merely make the work and collaboration easier without the time saving factor. Furthermore, instead of adding technology, there are times when improving policies and procedures are more cost effective. Leaders should address poor procedures or bad behaviors rather than investing in a new technology to cope with them.
Another consideration is Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), a concept that emphasizes evaluation of the full costs when assessing solution alternatives, not just the initial purchase cost. As defined by Gartner, your TCO includes hardware and software acquisition, management and support, communications, end-user expenses and the opportunity costs of downtime, training, and other productivity losses. Understanding your TCO can help tally your obvious and not so obvious “hidden” costs. For example, it is easy to focus and compare alternatives simply on hardware and software costs. However, this picture could drastically change with the addition of training. How well people are trained and managed could far outweigh the costs of hardware and software. And, without proper training, we’re right back to the problem of wasted time.
With proper planning and budgeting, your technology solutions will start to match your company goals while controlling spending. Ninestone has successfully delivered many strategic plans and budgets for various small and mid-sized businesses resulting in not only stabilized spend in technology, but also increased capabilities and satisfaction among management and staff. Ninestone usually starts with an assessment of your current technology landscape and oversees implementation of new technology that creates tangible results, including administrative savings and increased collaboration opportunities for employees. To read more about building an effective technology budget, see our white paper IT Budgeting Best Practices.
Unsure of how to go about assessing your technologies or planning for the future? Let us help. Ninestone consultants can conduct a thorough technology assessment and create a plan based on your business needs.
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