IT Strategy in Small Business Growth
Growth in your business is usually the best case scenario, but often brings with it many challenges. Previous targets, systems, purposes, and goals can quickly be overcome by growth and require regular revision and refinement. The business strategy changes as market share increases and the customer base grows. The current and future plan for office or retail space, team size, equipment, and connectivity must grow and change with the goals of the business.
There is no “set it and forget it” way to build an IT plan, especially in a dynamic business environment, but there are several common aspects that growing companies should keep in mind when developing their strategy.
Progress brings challenges
Most business communications, processes, and interactions rely on large amount and variety of data: communication with customers and business partners, financial records, employee details, internal documents, customers’ purchasing behavior and more. The more your business grows, the more difficult and complex communication and data management becomes.
Opening a new location or locations is the hallmark of a fast-growing company. Today, globalization, telecommut
ing, and automation make this much easier than it was 50 years ago. These efficiencies that allow faster expansion at lower risk require technology and that tech requires proper set up and support for the business to take full advantage as they grow. New offices must be integrated with the corporate network. IT support is likely to become 24/7 with multiple locations as connectivity becomes more important and business may become spread across multiple time zones.
New products and services
Diversifying products and services is a common growth step and an indicator of success. Still, it inevitably drives the need to revise your IT strategy. For example, a company will need to modify internal databases, update the channels for customer interaction (add functionality to customer websites and apps) and resort to new effective IT tools for marketing and online sales. Data collection and customer demographics are hugely important as this information when collected and analyzed well informs decisions about these new offerings. Ensuring the right data is collected and managed securely requires the right software and hardware tools. A solid data management plan ensures that nothing is lost and everything is organized and usable.
Mergers and acquisitions
Enterprises often buy other companies to enter a new market, get competitive advantages or broaden the range of products and services. Mergers and acquisitions bring with them new customer base, and integration of all processes and equipment. Growing companies that merge to join forces must fully integrate to ensure success. As companies bring on lawyers and accountants to help with mergers, so too must they hire IT consultation to make sure that all business processes are successfully integrated.
The role of IT leadership is to help the organization maximize its competitive advantage with an effective strategy for communication, data management, and digital business processes. These processes must have deliberate planning, support, and redundancies in order to be effective.
Opportunities and Threats
As your business grows, you are likely to uncover new opportunities. Each opportunity comes with risk as well as potential benefit to growth.
Enterprises are getting overloaded with data from various sources: customer service points, operational & transactional systems, media and more. A growing company can employ big data analytics to get meaningful insights from these data: to monitor market tendencies, understand competitor strategies, identify early signs of potential problems and reduce risks.
You may get new valuable ideas with IT consulting services. IT Consultants like ABN Savannah bring experience in multiple industries to the table and can inject valuable new ideas and possible solutions, however this process isn’t a magic button for success. At ABN, we work to get to know businesses and understand goals in order to take advantage of opportunities and help businesses avoid risk.
Align IT and business
A good IT strategy is developed to support a business strategy. This assumes that the business strategy is set, and that IT support is a fully discussed and analyzed part of the strategy. The Information Technology plan should assess where the business is and the growth path it is on. Good IT infrastructure and active support from a managed service provider like ABN Savannah takes into account current needs and expected future needs through growth to ensure that new opportunities are taken advantage of fully.