Technology has always driven business success. When starting a new company, it is always an exciting time, and the possibilities for integrating new and powerful technology into your growth strategy, financial projections and business plan are always numerous and ambitious. However, it is easy to sometimes mistake overpriced and hard-to-manage technology for a set of useful tools. Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of your business technology investment.
The Latest May Not Be the Greatest
Technology is subject to the same kinds of limitations mechanical devices are. Sometimes the latest Navy ship needs quite a few more adjustments, bug fixes and repairs before it can be declared combat ready. Meanwhile, the Navy ship that put to sea ten years before is running as smoothly as a ship can.
The same goes for technology. Just because something has been in use for a while doesn’t automatically make it less useful. In fact, many old and even ancient technologies can be very powerful if used properly. A good example is the TeX typesetting system invented in the 1970s. It is still being used today to format new books for print around the world, often by authors who weren’t even born when it was first put to use.
Re-purpose Instead of Re-purchase
With cloud services on the minds of most IT professionals, it is very tempting to pour enormous sums into server hardware and a superfast network to bring it all together. Most business owners would be amazed, however, at what can be accomplished with the strategic use of older hardware and the right software.
In many cases, the support contracts for new servers can be more expensive than two complete sets of replacements for an installation of three-year-old hardware some other company spent too much on. The cloud doesn’t care how much you paid for those servers, and you’ll find spending more on the right parts is better than spending more on whole machines.
Spend on the Network
If you have room left in your technology budget, the biggest benefit comes from increasing network reliability and speed. Services like Bcsatellite, VoIP and company-wide video conferencing depend on wide bandwidth, low costs and the right combination of software and hardware to provide your company with the best value at the lowest possible price.
Diverting funds from other areas to making your network better is almost always the best option. This is especially true if you make use of mobile technology in your company. The ability to integrate mobile, desktop and devices across a solid network benefits the entire enterprise.
Don’t Chase Trends
The value in technology is what it does for your business. As most entrepreneurs know, making money and building growth are both very mechanical processes. There is very little creativity involved in putting together a revenue positive business plan. The product might be innovative and exciting, but the business model has to work, or it won’t succeed.
This is why you should be wary of the latest trend in technology. Trends get replaced, and if you build your foundation on fickle, shifting distractions instead of proven technology and business models, it won’t turn out well. The key to success is keeping the money part as boring as possible while putting all of the color and sound into the public-facing products and services.
Technology is not a solution to your problems. It is a tool, no different than a shovel or a set of pliers. When used properly, a tool can amplify your abilities in very productive ways, but that won’t justify overspending. Take the time to find the right balance between cost, capability and long-term value and you’ll be well on your way to integrating useful business technology better, faster and more often.
Author Bio: Jeremy is a tech and business writer from Simi Valley, CA. He’s worked for Adobe, Google, and himself. He lives for success stories, and hopes to be one someday.