By Julia Deien, Microsoft Certified Professional and Jason Gotway, VSP5, VMTSP, VCP550
In 2020, 70% of United States employees worked remotely, teams and customers relied on virtual tools to communicate, and a dispersed workforce led to additional concerns about cybersecurity.
The result has been not only an increased use of technology, but also a heightened awareness of its role in driving strategic growth.
Consider the most mission-critical processes in your company; chances are they all involve technology. From client onboarding to strategic planning, tech is not simply a part of your business – it is the foundation upon which it is built; an essential part of optimizing productivity; and the glue that holds teams together regardless of where they’re working.
You should treat your tech just as you do any other foundational pillar – with strategic thoughtfulness and the expert input of business-minded advisors.
Making the Right Business Decisions About Technology: Four Key Considerations
With so many tools to choose from, finding the right ones requires a willingness to embrace innovation and the ability to marry technology to overarching business goals. When you do, technology becomes a competitive advantage: at companies that prioritize tech, employees spend 17% less time on manual processes, collaborate 16% more often, and make decisions 16% faster. Here are four key factors to consider as you make technology choices for your company:
Recent spikes in cyber-attacks have created a heightened awareness of the breadth of cybersecurity – so much so that the Department of Homeland Security launched a web page to address the challenges of increased cyber-threats.
Cybersecurity efforts should go deeper than firewalls; they should be built from a deep view of your entire environment to account for security in every possible way. Is every employee trained in how to spot cyber threats?
If not, they could unknowingly compromise your company’s security. How many offices does your business have? How many remote employees? How do they need to communicate, and how sensitive is the information they’ll be sharing? All of these questions – and many more – should be at the forefront of your conversations with your technology advisors.
As your company pursues overall growth goals, there is perhaps no more impactful IT consideration than data analytics. A consumer population that just spent a year and a half reassessing and reprioritizing is proving unpredictable, and the deeper level of understanding that data analytics can provide will be crucial to ensuring you are addressing what may be brand new pain points.
A skilled technology advisor can pinpoint the data that will help you make more informed business decisions more quickly. For our clients, we create custom dashboards to relay data about both their company and their industry at large, giving them a multi-layered analytical view of their business.
Automation can have a huge impact on labor and cost by allowing staff to devote their time and focus to the most complex tasks. In some cases, it can even eliminate the need for additional roles. With a record high number of businesses reporting trouble hiring right now, this is critical to streamlining operations and progressing toward business goals with fewer staff.
The idea of automation is nothing new for executives; it’s likely been discussed among their leadership team for years. What many may not realize, however, is how much it has evolved – and how cost-effective it has become.
It’s estimated that nearly half of all work tasks can be automated by current technology, so working with your advisors to identify opportunities to automate can have a huge impact on your company’s efficiency and bottom line.
Strategic IT consulting
Your IT team should be strategic and holistic advisors in the same way your accounting, financial, and legal advisors are. That means not only keeping you informed about the changing tech landscape, but also helping you connect IT solutions to your overarching business goals by talking to about your company, not just your technology.
Do you have plans to expand? What type of growth do you anticipate in your products or services? What do you wish you were doing better? These are the meaningful, goal-based conversations your IT advisors should be leading to make sure your technology isn’t just working in the background of your business but is actively driving it forward.
Your Tech is Your Advantage
When you treat technology as a standalone concern – or worse yet, an afterthought – you miss out on the opportunity to leverage it as a major competitive advantage. The technology your company relies on isn’t just about new tools or security or even remote environments; it’s about all of these things working in tandem to move your business forward.
Julia Deien and Jason Gotway are Solutions Architects + Technology Team Leads at Anders CPAs + Advisors. Anders has delivered full-service accounting, tax, audit and advisory services to growth-oriented companies, organizations, and individuals.
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