How to avert an IT disaster

In theory, technology should make your business more agile and efficient - unless, that is, you make the wrong purchases.

Here are ten tips on how to avoid the most common IT pitfalls.

In association with Rackspace

Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) currrently fail to realise the competitive advantages offered by technology as they don’t have the resources or expertise to evaluate or implement the solutions available to them. Another key problem is that many SMBs try to spend as little as possible on technology and therefore disregard the potential cost savings that can be generated if they get it right. This is far from ideal in the current economic climate.

There are ten common mistakes SMBs make with technology:

  • Assuming that IT can be easily deployed and managed without expert support
  • Failing to test equipment thoroughly with real life scenarios
  • Poor testing of security vulnerabilities
  • Not setting out service requirements with IT providers at the outset
  • Ineffectively aligning IT to business needs
  • Focusing on short term cost gains due to time pressures and not the longer term productivity and revenue generating benefits of IT
  • Choosing IT that cannot cope with rapid changes in business needs
  • Not planning ahead so you can scale up your technology needs appropriately
  • Having the wrong ROI expectations of technology which impacts badly on the bottom line
  • Cutting IT budget or thinking managing IT in-house will be easier and more cost effective in hard times

With a lack of time to periodically assess what technology is available and how it can help businesses perform better, SMBs all too frequently don’t derive optimal benefit from their technology investments.

As the economic doom and gloom starts to clear, it is apparent that SMBs need to overhaul their IT strategies to give them more time to focus on driving a competitive edge. A simple way of achieving this is to outsource applications to a third-party supplier.

Research we conducted of over 250 IT decision makers across Europe actually indicated that more than half (51 per cent) rely on outsourcing not just to cut costs, but to also drive revenue. Of these organisations, 48 per cent host their ERP (enterprise resource planning), 44 per cent host their e-mail, 40 per cent host their disaster recovery and 31 per cent host their website. Supporting this concept, HR / recruitment and payroll, both traditionally considered organisational ‘cost centres’, are the two least commonly hosted processes among these organisations.

Outsourcing applications should be viewed as an investment in the business that will pay dividends in terms of increased competitiveness. Investing a little time now in investigating this could save a lot of time and money in the future. In addition, outsourcing the headaches of managing day-to-day IT will help SMBs respond promptly to customer needs, driving better customer service and ultimately business success.


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