Investing in the right technology can help a business boost efficiencies, stay ahead of competitors and achieve organizational goals. However, when it comes to budgeting for an upgrade or evaluating opportunities to improve current systems, technology can often be an afterthought for businesses. In this Countdown to 2024 article, we’re covering the top considerations business owners should make when assessing their technology at year-end. If you missed the last article in our series, we discussed what areas of a workforce should be evaluated during year-end to meet growth goals and achieve sustained success.
Are Your Systems Working?
Technology’s overall purpose is to make a job easier, not create additional stress. Year-end is a great time to review your current technology stack and determine if an upgrade is needed for a particular business area. Whether you use technology for HR, accounting, payroll, sales or something else, here are a few essential questions that can help you gain clarity on overall system effectiveness.
- Does the software allow for automation, or is manual work still present?
- How scalable is the software? If your business were to increase twofold tomorrow, would the software be able to keep up?
- Are there key features missing that you’d like to see?
- Does the software integrate with other systems, or does data feel disjointed?
- Can you pull actionable data and reports from the software, or is extracting data a timely chore?
There may be other factors you want to assess, but the questions above provide a great baseline for identifying the systems that are lagging behind.
Does Budget Allow for an Upgrade?
Budgets for the upcoming year are typically set during year-end. If you’ve determined you’d like to make an upgrade, it’s crucial that proper funding is allocated toward the purchase for the best possible outcome. New technology is often expensive and should be seen as a long-term investment, not purchased on a whim. A budget plan for new technology should factor in the following:
- Growth goals for the company and employees
- Implementation and installation costs
- Ongoing system maintenance and support
- Potential risks, such as cyberthreats or a provider not working out
Before deciding on new software, it’s also important to spend adequate time assessing what features and capabilities you want to get out of a new system, and researching what options are on the market. That way, you can make the best purchase that aligns with your budget plan.
Is Your IT Team Meeting Your Needs?
A business’s technology is only as effective as the IT team that supports and maintains it. As you assess your organization’s technology this year-end, also consider the current status of your IT workforce. If you’ve experienced trouble with staffing, support ticket response times or just an overall lack of resources and expertise, you may want to consider partnering with a managed IT provider. Partially or fully outsourcing your IT operations is a great option for businesses looking to get the most out of their IT without overextending their internal team and network. An IT team that’s stretched too thin can open the door to a range of security and compliance risks and technical issues. Review your IT function annually to avoid these risks and determine if your future tech-related goals can continue to be achieved in-house or if it’s time to seek help.
How Secure Are Your Systems?
Are you confident in your business’s cybersecurity measures? Many businesses want the latest technology but fail to invest in the proper security measures to keep their systems and data secure. In addition to evaluating your current technology, budget and IT needs during year-end, you should also make it a priority to review and update your security measures. Here are some basic protocols that your business should be following to protect against cyberthreats:
- Having an incident response plan on hand to minimize the business impact of an attack
- Purchasing a cyber liability insurance policy to cover the costs of a potential incident
- Implementing firewalls, VPNs and other network security programs and regularly assessing them to identify any new gaps or vulnerabilities
- Hosting required employee cybersecurity training throughout the year
If you feel your current technology doesn’t support your business’s long-term goals, Creative Planning Business Services is here to help. We offer a range of technology services, from managed IT services to cybersecurity and enterprise software implementation, all designed to innovate and protect your business. Schedule a meeting with our team today to learn how we can transform your technology stack for the new year.
Stay tuned for the final installment of our Countdown to 2024 series, where we’ll recap the major takeaways of each article and explore whether outsourced options make sense for your business.