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Your IT manager has approached you asking for $15,000 to replace an aged and failing piece of hardware. Your staff grumble about the frequency of system crashes. Your administrative costs for phone systems, printing and real estate seem to rise at an exponential rate.
These are the modern problems of a business operator. These technical hurdles are a common source of wonder or frustration, in addition to the day to day challenges of operating a business. Technology in a business can either be leveraged as a strategic asset or be viewed as a necessary evil of the modern world. The truth is that every business should view technology as a strategic asset. Regardless of your business size there are always efficiencies to be gained in technology. A small organization of 5 people can choose to buy a physical server for their office in order to have email/calendar/file sharing or utilize cloud based services. The difference is a capital expenditure of $5,000 to $10,000, or a monthly service fee of $40. Many businesses delay or ignore planning for replacing user workstations. In a lot of ways, computers are like cars. They require maintenance. There is no reason you can't drive your car for 6 years without an oil change, but you can safely assume the car won't perform well, or at all at some point during that time. The difference is car parts are a relatively low cost compared to the replacement cost. Not so with a computer. Why would you bother to spend $300-$400 to have a 4 year old computer repaired when the replacement cost is $500-$600. An organization can choose to maintain their aging telephony system, or move to a cloud based unified communication system. The existing system comes with large annual maintenance costs, doesn't include long distance, and carries an exponential equipment cost to add locations. A cloud based phone system includes North American long distance, dramatically reduces conferencing costs, allows rapid addition of disconnected sites, and greatly facilitates tele-commuting.
Technology is like all other parts of a business, it requires, vision, planning, and execution. When properly managed, technology can shift from a burden on the business, to a strategic enabler of the business.
This is a helpful guide when choosing an IT Partner: 8 Tips to Choose the Perfect IT Partner