The Role of IT in Achieving Business Growth

The Role of IT in Achieving Business Growth


  • 19 Sep 2018
  • Written by David

Your IT support and systems are just as important to the growth of your business as other components are. What is your setup like? Are there things you could improve to ensure success in achieving business growth?

Nearly 50% of UK SMEs spend less than £1,000 on cybersecurity. This reflects a common trend in the relationship between small businesses and IT.

Lack of investment in IT usually boils down to operational maturity. Start-ups, for instance, tend to focus on their product or service offering, honing it for their target market. Other areas of the business such as legal, IT and accounting might take a back seat at the start of a business.

Many SMEs start out doing IT themselves

For a while, new and small companies will get away with doing IT themselves. Sometimes, the founders of a start-up are IT-savvy from a consumer perspective and they believe this is sufficient to manage their own business IT. However, business IT is very different from consumer IT.

At Nimbus Blue, we have worked in business IT for over 8 years and we still haven’t seen it all. We constantly learn new things about managing IT in business.

Start-up founders eventually have an IT challenge that is beyond their capabilities or skillset. The challenge could be an IT problem, lack of time, or lack of resources to support their IT. At this stage, they might look for external help.

Calling IT works for a time

Most companies adopt a break-fix model when they come to the end of their (or the founders’) IT capabilities. They pick up the phone to somebody. That person comes into fix the IT problem - and then leave.

This break-fix model works to a point and allows the company to solve the current IT issue. However, this approach does not progress the company because:

  • The company has unpredictable costs when they call in IT companies sporadically;
  • They are not building long-term relationships with the IT company to allow a deep understanding of their overall business requirements.

As a company grows, it will be forced to match its ambitions to its internal capabilities. There will be changes required in the business to jump to the next stage of growth. IT can often be a key factor in the growth of a company. It could be that the systems or processes are hindering business growth.

 

The Role of IT in Achieving Business Growth Quote SQ 1

 

Is pretty good IT enough?

Soon, the company owners might find that they are calling IT more and more. Beyond helpdesk services, the IT company is unlikely to provide strategic support that drives the business forward towards operational maturity - and ultimately, its business goals.

Employees could start approaching the business owner when there’s a problem. Therefore, the business owner becomes a bottleneck in the system, unable to give the time to fix all the issues. The primary role of the business owner will start suffering if they spend most of their time-solving IT issues.

Companies need to decide if they are happy with “pretty good” IT or whether they want to get the best they can for their organisation. It often takes a horrendous incident such as hacking or long downtime for companies to make the choice.

 

 

Nimbus Blue Role of IT 1

 

Benefits of Strategic IT Management

Once a company makes the leap to engage an IT company at a strategic level, the difference becomes apparent. This change removes bottlenecks in the organisation.

Though the IT company continues to provide helpdesk support, they also become embedded in the organisation. They will be more than a helpdesk as they work closely with the board of directors through a mutually agreed management rhythm.

A company can expect to have continual alignment within their business and support in the following areas:

  • Effective IT systems across the organisation;
  • Protection from cyber attacks through heightened cybersecurity;
  • Aligned IT strategy with current best practices and standards;
  • Increased staff productivity as improvements in systems reliability boosts morale and work practices.

IT will not only keep pace with the organisation as it is - strategic IT propels the organisation to where it wants to be. This ensures that the IT strategy is aligned with the business strategy.

Consequence of growing without strategic IT

There are consequences of not migrating to strategic IT during a period of growth. Yet, IT can be perceived as an expensive resource. The investment in strategic IT needs to be spent where you can recognise the return. Otherwise, IT does become costly.

To understand the impact of IT on your organisation, ask your staff how much time they lose due to computer issues e.g. delays in opening or finding files and systems performance.

If you have 10 staff and they each lose 15 minutes a day due to system performance issues, you can work out the monthly cost to the business.

Therefore, you can justify spending at least that amount to improve your systems. IT operational maturity becomes part of the toolkit for achieving business growth.

To find out about our Pro-Cover managed IT service, please contact Jamie on (Aberdeen) 01224 608190; (Edinburgh) 0131 202 1541 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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