While any time is a good time to talk with clients about how we can help them improve their businesses with technology, January and February are generally busy months for IT strategy meetings. During these meetings, we sit down with the leaders in each company to discuss their goals and how XPERTECHS can contribute to the achievement of those goals.
As I prep for meetings, our vCIO team looks at each client’s overall “modern workplace maturity” so that I can bring recommendations for improving IT performance. I also bring ideas that help clients become more efficient, a theme that aligns to Microsoft’s “Do More with Less” campaign.
Interpreting “Do More with Less”
I interpret “Do More with Less” in a few different ways. It’s doing more with less risk. It’s doing more with less traditional IT investment. It’s doing more with less time to achieve results. It’s also leveraging the things you’re already paying for or the technology you already have in place to get more work done.
The way to uncover opportunities to do more with less is to ask the right questions. These are questions like:
- What is slowing down your processes?
- Do you have repetitive tasks that keep your people from higher level activity?
- What people hold vital company knowledge that would be lost if and when they leave?
Three Things We’re Talking About with Clients
The issues and topics that surface are as unique as each company, but there are a few directions that we know that we’re going to explore to solve problems and enable efficient operations.
1. Process Automation
We’re so convinced that automation is a key tactic for business improvement that we have specialists who are 100% devoted to this technology and its use. The low-code technology that is available through the Microsoft Power Platform has put custom coding within reach for small businesses.
In IT strategy meetings, I’m listening for opportunities for process automation to pop up as I ask questions and learn about each client’s challenges and ideas. The flags can be anything from a desire to improve communications with clients, to the need for better data for decision-making.
It usually just takes one automation project for clients to start their own search for opportunities. Power Apps are that powerful. (No pun intended!)
2. Optimizing Remote Work
For many of our clients, remote and hybrid work has become standard. Some companies are going to stay 100% remote. For others, most of their workers are going to be remote for the majority of the time.
Security is always a concern, whether your people are remote or not, but having people work from home is like having multiple locations and that needs to be reflected in security strategy. In addition to making sure that security controls are appropriate, optimization of remote workers includes looking at business processes to see if they can be improved or even replaced.
For example, just think of how different it is to onboard a remote employee compared to an onsite employee. In that situation, technology can not only make sure that all the steps are followed but ensure that the new employee has a great experience too.
3. Security and Compliance
As I said, security is always a concern, but an increasing number of companies have new requirements for compliance. Take Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) for instance. Companies in the Department of Defense (DoD) supply chain have been building their compliance structures piece by piece and they’re at the point where they need to focus on managing their compliance process.
Adherence to security frameworks has become more important for companies and industries that have not traditionally had compliance requirements. Whether it’s for security accountability to customers or qualification for cyber insurance, we’re helping clients utilize security frameworks like NIST to guide security strategy and facilitate communication about security.
Whether clients have compliance needs or not, we look for ways to better manage their security process and automation often comes into this conversation.
Do More with Technology
I’d like to simplify Microsoft’s “Do More with Less” to just “Do More.” I think that captures the spirit of the work that we do with clients to help them improve operations and enable their success.
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