One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make usually involves assuming that any tech-related issues are actually people-related issues.
You've spent a significant amount of money providing your employees with the latest and greatest that modern IT has to offer, yet your general productivity levels have stalled out. Obviously, this is a problem with the person using the tool as opposed to the tool itself, right?
Some tech-related issues are obvious, like a broken server or out-of-date software. Others, however, are less so. Yes, you may be dealing with a "people problem" in the literal sense in that your productivity isn't as high as you need it to be. But that's just a symptom. It's not the disease. The issue hidden underneath is technology-based and it's likely having a bigger negative impact than you realise.
Dealing with hidden tech issues is common in every industry. The key to mitigating risk from these areas involves knowing as much as you can about what those issues really look like.
Here are a few key things to keep in mind.
Hidden Issue #1 Your Technology is Preventing you from fully scaling your Business
This type of issue is most common in businesses that are experiencing rapid periods of growth. Your company is getting bigger, but the technological infrastructure at the heart of it all wasn't really designed with that express goal in mind. So even though the conditions of the business are changing, the tech itself isn't, thus creating a series of interconnected problems that are only getting worse over time.
Below are some of the ways this type of hidden tech issue manifests itself:
- A general lack of communication, particularly in remote areas. Communication and productivity may be fine in your main office, but collaboration with satellite officers or even employees who telecommute is essentially impossible.
- A lack of access from multiple devices. People have all the tools they need to get their work done, so long as they're using a desktop or laptop computer. If they try to work from home on a tablet or even a smartphone, things are needlessly difficult and complicated.
- Your older software was never designed to integrate with some of the newer systems and solutions that you're taking advantage of, and it shows. Employees need to spend time coming up with frustrating workarounds to get various programs to "talk" to one another, which consumes time that could be better spent elsewhere.
Thankfully, solving this particular issue is straightforward — it simply requires a careful and thorough review of your existing business processes. Overall, the technology you use in your business is supposed to support the way your people like to work. They shouldn't have to change their workflows to make up for the limitations inherent in the technology.
But the problem is as your business continues to expand, their roles and workflows naturally change.
If your technology remains stagnant and designed to support the organisation you were instead of who you are now, even simple tasks become cumbersome. By taking the time to better understand the state of your infrastructure, you can properly align your tech needs with your business strategy so you can enhance productivity across the board.
Hidden Issue #2: When Your Technology is Unable to Meet the Needs of Your Staff
Different studies have been conducted over the years that outline just how pressing of an issue employee disengagement really is. Disengaged and frustrated workers, for example, cost the United States economy an estimated $550 billion per year as they have a 60% higher rate of general errors than happy, engaged workers.
One of the major reasons that employees become disengaged in the first place is when they feel like they don't have the tools necessary to do their jobs correctly. They know what they need to do but struggle to complete simple to critical tasks and grow frustrated as a result.
Signs of this particular issue usually include but are not limited to ones like:
- You're constantly dealing with broken servers and hardware assets go down on a regular basis. This means that your employees literally cannot be productive. Every minute of downtime is a minute that your business is losing money.
- Data goes missing at the worst possible time. Your internal systems are confusing and restrictive. Employees literally cannot find the information they need to complete their tasks every day.
Most businesses can solve this issue by conducting a total technology audit of their current infrastructure. This alone can help generate an almost unparalleled level of visibility into your technology that would otherwise be unavailable to you.
If you have a total understanding of your current tech situation, you're in a better position to identify the opportunities present that you might not be taking advantage of. But more importantly, you're also able to identify the challenges that exist that are causing dips in productivity and frustrations among your workers. By then, you can essentially double down on everything that is working and fix what isn't.
What you're left with is an infrastructure that is optimised to maximise your existing assets for greater performance over the long-term.
Hidden Issue #3: Your Technology is Making You Lose Money
More than anything, your technology should be viewed as a revenue generator. Yes, staying ahead of tech trends and making sure that you're always using the latest IT requires a significant capital investment. But when leveraged properly, these IT assets should enhance productivity -— creating a positive ripple effect that impacts the quality of work your employees are doing, the amount of work they're able to complete and, ultimately, your business's revenues.
If your IT only ever seems to cost you money and doesn't seem to generate anything in return, this too is another sign that things aren't going quite the way you think. Usually, businesses deal with problems like:
- Inflexible systems that are unequipped to support business growth as it continues to evolve. There are areas of growth present and opportunities to be taken advantage of but it’s difficult, if not impossible, to find them.
- Your systems never have a chance to generate positive returns because you're always dealing with costly upgrades. You're constantly putting out money to upgrade physical assets so they never have a chance to positively impact your bottom line.
- You're always battling with risks of physical damage to old, on-site servers. You know that if something were ever to happen to your servers, your business would essentially grind to a halt. But you're not in a position to do anything about that.
To solve this problem, you need to consider the bigger picture and re-think your IT strategy, if one is present at all. A successful business cannot afford to consider IT as an afterthought.
Technology is not a "cost of doing business". In a lot of ways, it is your business. Or at least, a core component of it.
Once you know what your larger business strategy is, you're in a better position to understand the ways that you can leverage technology to support it. There will naturally be certain gaps that exist between your specific objectives and your ability to accomplish those goals. And those are the gaps that you should be trying to fill with technology, allowing your people to work "smarter, not harder" whenever they have the opportunity.
But you should also understand that there's no one right way to create an IT strategy. Every business is a bit different, which means that you need to look for ways to apply technology within the context of your own unique business.
Once you have that level of insight and understanding, you have everything you need to solve these and other hidden tech issues that you're experiencing.
The Lanrex Approach: Getting Your Business Ready for the Future
At Lanrex, we believe that while technology is undeniably important to the modern business, it's also ultimately just a platform. What that platform can do matters less than what it can do for you.
This is why we've made it our mission to help clients leverage IT to create better business outcomes over the long-term. Not only do we regularly partner with organisations of all types to help them perform thorough and accurate technology audits, but we can also review their IT strategy and assist with the optimisation of their business processes as well.
Many of our clients choose to outsource some or even all of their IT functions to us entirely for these reasons. These include not only the procurement of equipment but also connectivity (think: the Internet and unified communications), IT support, project delivery, and more.
In the end, we help people eliminate the tech problems that are holding them back so that they can take full advantage of the tech solutions that will drive them forward.
If you'd like to find out more about how you can solve your hidden tech issues and enhance your workplace productivity, or if you just have any additional questions you'd like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, contact Lanrex today.