Ian Snow, MD of Central Technology, talks about the importance of IT strategy when growing your business.

IT has an integral role in the way a business operates – and as businesses grow, it becomes more and more important to develop and implement a scalable IT strategy.

Failure to do so can result in wasted hours as staff battle with outdated systems that were never designed to cope with their business’s size and amount of workflow.

CT often tends to come in to businesses when they find they have grown beyond their current IT capability. Our specialists will then audit what they have, understand the goals of the business and then develop a solution that will grow with them. Often, it’s a distress call but with the right foundations in place, it shouldn’t have to be.

Where a business’s needs have grown in its early years, we often find all kinds of bolt-on, patches and workarounds have been applied to keep the IT running. It’s very often easier to start with a fresh slate.

The key is not to start with the IT but to begin with the business – how does it work, what do users need technology for, and how might that change in the future? Once we understand that, it’s easy to implement a road map for IT in the medium and long term.

As with many aspects of business, if you can get it right when you’re small then it’s easier to scale up when you grow. Invest in hardware that has a good shelf life – up to five years – and can be easily upgraded.

Think about the workflow and how you manage things like customer data, customer relationship databases, project planning and task tracking.  SMEs also need to be mindful of security and whether they have the right IT systems in place to protect them and their customers from cybercrime.

We also find common themes run across different sectors and therefore are aware of how to plan an effective and scalable IT solution.  For example, in the manufacturing industry labour shortage has fuelled the need for automation, robotics, 3D printing and smart machines to improve plant productivity.

Many rely on outdated security systems incapable of addressing the number and complexity of cyber threats leaving many of them vulnerable to costly breaches. They require more sophisticated ways of securing their networks and educating employees on cyber threats.

CT has helped a number of manufacturing customers ensure that they have secure and resilient systems and process in place, that the latest software and technology is in place improving productivity and importantly that the investment in IT is maximised and supports the overall business growth plans.

To see how we have helped many organisations in the manufacturing, charity and, legal sectors achieve their IT goals, visit www.ct.uk

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