The time has never been better for a business to explore how a robust IT strategy can change everything. Whether you last updated your hardware and software a decade ago or are fighting to keep abreast of dozens of new services, the IT landscape of 2018 has a lot to offer.
High-performing IT is within the grasp of any business, with more advice and technology tailored to optimize more processes than ever. Today’s solutions bring advanced capabilities at any scale, meaning you can get industry standard IT at a price that fits your budget — and still have resources left to produce the innovation that will drive your company forward.
Moving to the cloud
The trend is obvious: more and more companies are moving to the cloud. With benefits like the ability to seamlessly access files wherever you are, the removal of large upfront software price tags in favour of cheaper, scalable costs, and better reliability, the choice is attractive.
If you’re not already on the cloud, or especially if you’re only halfway there and tied down by aging legacy platforms, the cloud offers more efficient IT operations all-round. It’s not uncommon for a growing company to have started with a couple of cofounders and an old Microsoft Office license. But what’s enough to get work done in the early stages and what’s been patched on top to keep it going doesn’t compare with a strategized productivity solution for multiple offices with more employees each year.
Switching from a patchwork collection of misaligned software to Office 365 means condensing to a single login per user, dealing with a low, scalable, monthly subscription cost, and gaining access to SharePoint collaboration tools that make remote work with colleagues simple. And that’s just one suite of cloud tools.
Prepare for AI
Artificial Intelligence may be a revolution decades in the making, but it’s arriving. You may already have spoken to a customer service chat bot you didn’t even realize wasn’t a human. On the consumer level, only 33% think they use AI-enabled technology, when actually, 77% of them do[i] — almost half of all American adults use a voice-activated assistant on their smart phones[ii] alone.
AI is set to tremendously alter many aspects of business, from breaking down the UX barrier on the web-based customer-facing side into a more automated, human-like experience, to empowering video conference attendees with real-time resource assistance and time-saving transcription records.
This is a fast-moving field with advances coming from all directions, and even though only 15% of businesses report using AI right now, almost half of digitally advanced firms have a defined AI strategy[iii]. As consumers come to expect a more immersive experience and competitors adopt technologies that enable high performance at lower cost, businesses must keep up and push ahead to sustain growth.
Anticipate the unexpected with cybersecurity and disaster recovery
Malicious actors don’t just go for the big guys: 1 in 5 small to mid-sized businesses are targeted in cyberattacks[iv]. And it’s not just hackers on the outside: it can take a company weeks to fully recover from an inside attack.
Cybersecurity ought to be a crucial part of any digital transformation strategy. Luckily, a smart approach is possible regardless of company size. Cloud solutions are often now more secure than traditional internal systems, and while the pressure might be on in light of high profile public breaches, a proactive treatment of security can minimize harm inflicted by a leak.
Likewise, taking some simple precautions with backup management and planning your architecture with swift recovery in mind make it so that you now suffer minimal downtime if something catastrophic does happen your IT. With the right set up, you should be back up and running with nothing missing.
Budget, Planning, Strategy
Above all, your digital transformation relies on smart, effective budgeting, planning, and strategizing. A business needs to understand what it needs, and IT must understand where it can do the most good with the resources it has available.
What are the problems you’re actually facing with your digital strategy? What works well, and what’s fallen behind? How do you parse all the available technologies and implement change?
The best way to understand what your business needs from an IT perspective is to inquire with the people who rely on the IT department to serve them. A digital transformation in response to pointed real-world feedback beats a haphazard stumble through irrelevant technologies.
Consider administering a survey to key stakeholders to begin a more quantitative evaluation of what you’re currently doing. Then, work from there to strategize appropriate solutions that will demonstrate value and drive business satisfaction. If you need a little advice along the way, CrucialLogics’ CIO Advisory service is built to provide exactly this guidance.
Looking to implement a digital transformation in your business? CIOs should start here.