When executives want to find ways to cut operating costs, nothing is untouchable, not even IT. However, when it comes to identifying the exact measures to take in order to spend less on technology, cost cutting can actually backfire and cost the company more because product and service delivery, and employee and customer satisfaction take a nosedive.
Reasons for Not Investing
There are different reasons why executives decide that they should cut IT instead of investing in it. The most common reason is that they don’t see the value that IT can bring to their business. This can be because they haven’t had good guidance on IT strategy and therefore don’t have a vision of how they can leverage technology for business improvement and growth.
Another reason could be that they’ve had bad experiences with previous IT investments. Again, a lack of IT guidance can be to blame here. If the technology wasn’t the right technology and it wasn’t compatible with the existing environment, then it’s no wonder that there would be reluctance to spend more.
Still another reason can simply be because the executive feels stuck, and not knowing the way forward can unfortunately be the impetus for going backwards.
How Underinvestment in IT Backfires
Underinvesting in IT doesn’t actually save money in the long run unless you’re happy to always be behind your competitors. As you consider these “cost saving” tactics, you might not just change your mind about spending on technology, you’ll start to realize that one of the things you need to get is an IT advisor you can trust.
1. Running Hardware Until It Breaks
Computer hardware has a fairly predictable lifespan. Run the machine past its optimal running life time and it’s going to start giving you trouble. When a computer needs to be fixed, it’s not just the computer that’s down, it’s the employee who’s using it too.
Even if an old computer is plugging along, it’s likely to be slow and employee efficiency will be compromised. If you need to upgrade your software, an old computer might not have the specs to handle the new application which brings us to our next point.
2. Neglecting Software Updates
Many of the implications of running old hardware apply to running old software too. You can expect it to slow down your people as they struggle with freezes and crashes. When you think of software as a tool that your people use to get their work done, using old software is like giving them a hammer when what they really need is a pneumatic hammer. The result is that more time and effort is needed to do what they need to do.
Out-of-support software poses big security risks so continuing to use it (even though you think it’s working just fine) can certainly backfire when you have to deal with the impact of a cyber attack. The costs include downtime, clean up, and counteracting a tarnished reputation, and these would certainly be costs that you’d prefer not to pay.
3. Inadequate IT Support
When you’re a small company, it’s natural that people wear more than one hat, and someone has the responsibility to oversee IT in addition to the job they were first hired to do. This might work out okay for awhile but what often happens is that IT takes over more and more of that person’s time. As a result, their regular work gets pushed to the back burner and they find themselves spending their time trying to fix problems that they’re not equipped to fix.
Another scenario is when you have an IT support company but you only call on them when something needs to be fixed. You also might have managed services, but the level of service you’re getting isn’t truly “managed”. Or you might have a small IT team (internal or outsourced) and they don’t have the expertise that you need to adequately take care of all your needs, so something is always slipping -- like security.
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4. Security Shortfalls
Cybersecurity is a discipline all its own and if you don’t have access to up-to-date knowledge and the latest tools, then your shortfalls are going to turn out to be security vulnerabilities. As a business leader, you’re the one responsible for managing risk, so inadequate security puts you in a position where you’re exposed to more risk than what you can actually handle.
When it comes to the technology tools that you need to put up a strong defense, they’re not cheap, and even if you bought them, you’d have to have trained staff to implement and manage them. It doesn’t make sense for small companies to have their own security department nor to vet all the possible tools that you could use, but only doing the minimum could leave doors open for cyber intruders and the impact of an attack is costly.
5. Lack of IT Guidance
Business leaders want to make good decisions that help execute business strategy, but without expert IT guidance, these decisions are doomed to be hit or miss. Hiring an IT advisor is one way to go to get a different perspective of what needs to be done but consultants are expensive.
Many small business executives and owners rely on their small internal or outsourced IT team to bring them the ideas and strategy that will turn IT into fuel for business growth. Unfortunately, these folks tend to be more operations-focused and not strategy-focused, so the advice they give doesn’t encompass the big picture. Again, disappointing results makes executives hesitant to invest.
Outcome of Underinvesting in Technology is Unpredictable IT
The outcome of underinvestment in technology is that business leaders don’t develop confidence that IT can bring value to their company because what they experience is unpredictability. They think “Why should we put more money into IT when it’s not helping us?” but that’s really the wrong question.
A better question would be “How can we invest so that we can get a solid IT foundation on which we can leverage technology?” The answer to that is through Managed IT Services.
What Are Managed IT Services?
Managed IT Services are a proactive approach to IT that follows best practices that prevent problems, and address issues before they become big concerns. With a proactive approach, your new IT strategy should include:
- A refresh schedule for all hardware.
- Patched and up-to-date software.
- IT support that minimizes downtime for employees.
- A layered security strategy that matches up with your risk tolerance.
- IT guidance and ideas for how to invest and leverage technology for business growth.
XperCARE Managed Services for Businesses in Maryland and Texas
At XPERTECHS, we help companies up their technology game by providing expert IT support and guidance that reveals the true value of IT. If you want to discover how technology can be a driver for your business instead of just a cost, contact us to schedule a meeting.