Business has become so dependent on technology that it’s hardly feasible to operate without it. But ensuring that your IT is a service and not a burden means ensuring that you’ve scaled your network and systems to your business. Your technology needs to keep up with your growth, so it’s important to recognise the signs that you’ve outgrown your IT infrastructure.
5 signs you’ve outgrown your IT infrastructure…
1. You have to run reports after business hours so you don’t slow down the systems.
You might have originally decided to run reports after hours so that you could spend the day talking with customers or focused on marketing. If you’ve reached the point where running analytics is such a strain on system resources that it has to be done outside of working hours, then you are in danger of putting yourself behind your competitors. Whether you need reports for your marketing strategy, or to provide customers as part of your service, you need an infrastructure large enough to handle these tasks from 9 to 5.
2. Users have shared access to systems rather than having individual secure userIDs and signons.
As a startup, limiting user licenses makes sense as you watch your budget, but having individual access and security is critical for growth. Monitoring and mitigating risks becomes more and more important as you get larger, and being able to audit your staff and your data is tantamount for dealing with cyber-threats. Additionally, being able to segregate sales, contacts, and production will help you know who’s contributing what to your success
3. Waiting two to three minutes for a system response has become “normal.”
One of the dangers of not right sizing your systems is that you can become complacent about performance. As you grow your data, the slower response time may not be apparent at first, but can become unbearable if not addressed. If your staff are adjusting by performing manual tasks while they wait for the system, then you’re not taking advantage of automation. Technology is meant to make the job easier. Make sure your infrastructure is large enough to accommodate.
4. Business users are frequently asking for upgrades for functionality, for data storage, and for faster access.
An easy way to know if you’ve outgrown your infrastructure is to listen to your staff. If they are regularly requesting more storage, or a new or upgraded software, than you’ve possibly reached the tipping point with your current systems. If you bring on staff from other companies and they make note of your antique systems, you should pay attention. Technology is a tool meant to support your business and keep you competitive.
5. Your support or admin staff spends hours a day trying to find and make more space for new files.
While there is value in cleaning out unneeded files, your staff shouldn’t be spending an inordinate amount of time on the task. Both your systems’ databases, and your email storage should be large enough to handle daily requirements. Email’s usefulness for storing more than communication has grown exponentially – contacts, calendars and metafiles are part of standard email systems and need to be supported.
Fixing your IT infrastructure
Once you’ve recognised that you’ve outgrown your infrastructure, commit some time and resources to getting it fixed. No matter the size of your business, your IT infrastructure needs to be scaled to support you today, and scalable enough to grow as you do. Perhaps it’s time to evaluate your current IT support and whether they can help you get to the next stage.
“Making Do” is usually a false economy
SME’s often succumb to the temptation to postpone any expenditure on IT infrastructure until it is absolutely necessary, there always seem to be more important uses for the cash, and after all the staff are coping with the current problems. Its easy to just accept the way things are and ignore the potential costs in lost productivity from staff and lost opportunities because the IT systems were not doing their job. Consider, if a staff member was performing like your IT systems do currently, would you keep on employing them?
Having an IT Roadmap document with provisional budgets can be a useful tool to help you plan for your business’ IT requirements in the future, and make sure you allocate sufficient funds to develop it alongside other critical areas. After all, there is no point in a big marketing spend to acquire new customers if your IT systems will handicap the service you can provide them with.
Can your incumbent IT support provider keep up? Follow our free interactive questionnaire to find out…