Making IT Complexity Manageable for Small and Midsize Businesses
Information Technology is a staple in today’s workplace. Whether it’s email, connecting to the internet, business-critical applications like accounting, payroll, ERP, and EHR, or employee collaboration, it’s hard to imagine modern business without IT But, with the non-stop emergence of new technologies, comes increasing IT complexity. While it can’t be avoided, it can be managed.
What happens when your applications, servers or network goes down? Business comes crashing to a halt. Technology complexity creates several challenges, both for IT and for the business as a whole. Today’s IT environment requires responsibilities and expertise in:
Leveraging cloud-based solutions
Defending and responding to cybersecurity threats
Adhering to regulatory compliance
Monitoring and securing mobile devices
Supporting and educating end-users
Integrating software as a service platforms
Properly managing data backups and business disaster recovery
Incorporating data analytics
The topics listed about are just a handful of the moving pieces organizations need to address. These issues are especially daunting for small and midsize businesses that are often required to accomplish these tasks without the advantage of a large and experienced IT staff.
IT is never the “one thing” that leads to success or failure in a business. It takes a strong team, vision, strategy, and ultimately execution to be successful. However, I do believe businesses with an ineffective IT platform will struggle to accomplish their goals. And it is often the ability and skill to successfully manage complex IT that can separate them from the herd.
Here are three things to consider in this regard:
Identifying and describing the major influences that contribute complexity in IT – “Know thy enemy”
How to minimize IT complexity – “Manage thy enemy”
The art, science, and advantages to managing complex IT – “Leverage thy enemy”
The Enemy of Simplicity
Technology doesn’t rest, and with anything that is in constant motion, you have added complexity.
Let’s start with the end users of these systems. All they want is a “green button, go” experience. No hindrances, no issues, no mess no fuss. However, they are also, at times, our biggest challenge. End users are our friend, our customers, the reason we exist, but they can also invoke havoc at any moment with unintended behavior just by having access to a system. It’s not their fault; IT is complex.
When it’s not the end users, technology and outside influences would be my next two top picks to add instability. Technology is akin to its own separate, living, breathing nervous system -- in constant change via evolution in offerings, software, hardware, cloud, best practices, and ideologies. It is my opinion, no other industry deals with the rapid velocity and acceleration of change in products or offerings as IT professionals face every day.
The last item for constant change stems from outside influences and changes in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity spending by companies is estimated to surpass the GDP of 168 countries by 2024. This single subject consumes entire professional careers, experts, and attention of many resources around the world. With the constant change in security comes increased complexity in everything related to IT.
At its core, technology allows you to be more streamlined and efficient. However, if you don’t have a grasp on managing IT, it can create roadblocks to accomplishing your business objectives. That’s why it’s important to address the IT complexity challenge head on. For some businesses, that means augmenting existing IT teams with the right Managed IT Service Provider (MSP). For others, it means getting that managed complexity out of their environment with outsourced IT.
Unmanaged complexity will lead to many challenges that can inhibit or even destroy a business. That’s why it’s critical to have an IT plan, roadmap, and ideal vision for where your organization needs to go.
To learn more about how to best navigate these technology barriers, download the Overcoming IT Complexity Survival Guide today.