Business Technology

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Five key questions to ask about your IT set up

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Making technology decisions can be difficult for IT departments, but when you don’t have technical expertise and have to make these choices, they can be downright scary. You know that investing in this area will help your business, but where do you start?

There are so many different tools claiming to be the best, brightest or fastest, so you need to know what really matters when buying technology. 

There are five areas to focus on that will help you obtain the efficiency you need as you start on your quest for new technology.

1) Where is technology crucial for your business?

You know, as do most businesses, that you need to invest in technology, but it’s hard to articulate exactly why and where. Ask yourself questions such as “which parts of my business need to work better?” in order to narrow down your thinking. Beyond email, most people use applications differently, so figuring out your areas of need can prevent you from wasting your funds.

Additionally, consider your demands for technology. Do your employees only need systems from 9-5 with minimal to low usage outside those times? Did you know that certain applications, especially those that deliver services directly to customers, always need to be on? Understanding your needs helps you know whether to seek guarantees about downtime.

These may seem like technical areas, but really they’re business questions – and that’s the key to buying technology.

2) How can the people in your business work better?

Once you know the systems that you need, you should work out how your employees will use them. Are they typically remote workers, or do they spend all of their time in the office?

Managing a mobile workforce requires different tools than managing one that occupies desks. Either form of management can be done with equal simplicity for you if you have the right tools in place. But you need to get the design right–from the technology infrastructure down to the specific applications.

One of the crucial things to think about is the level of control that you want to maintain over authorised mobile devices, such as phones and tablets. Specifically, how do you plan to maintain a level of security over your important documents? Mobile Device Management (MDM) applications let you have a final say over the information on a device, including remote wipe if you think that it’s been lost or stolen.

3) How important is access to and storage of your information?

This may seem like a strange question, but actually the laws around document management, security of information and cost are all affected by the answer.

Knowing how often you need to access or backup your documents will determine what type of storage you need. If you have paper documents, would you put it in a safe or a shoebox? Would you keep it in your office or in the garage? You can apply this same type of logic to determine what type of digital storage you need. Maybe you can store important documents on-site and store other not-so-important documents in the cloud.

Then there are legal requirements for document storage: seven years for bank statements, three years for payroll, etc. You may also have industry specific laws, if you’re in financial services or the legal sector, for instance. And just one document missing could cause hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage.

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