You already know that a thorough and well-drawn technology strategy is an integral part of any business strategy. The proliferation of mobile technology and “apps” in recent years has considerably changed the landscape for small business in terms of affordability and accessibility, and rate of such change is dizzying.
Surprisingly, too many of us think we know everything there is to know about technology. But unless your business is providing such technology services to others, it’s helpful to have let a qualified small business coach or IT professional help you analyze the tech aspects of your business vision.
Consider the following three “broad brush” types of Information Technology usage when crafting your own technology plan:
- Operational IT: You use technology, but it is not a central part of your operation. You use it to save time, administer records, do accounting, and other admin services. The technology does not set your business apart.
- Business Chain IT: Technology ties your businesses to vendors and customers. Keeping this integration clean, smooth, and error-free is vital to your continued success.
- Strategic IT: Technology leads what you do. It is at the front of your image; it’s what you sell.
Be sure your technology strategy is a deep, broad, and well-informed plan that fully considers your own technology habits. One study reveals small business tech usage suggest that 85% use social networking for business networking, 37% use LinkedIn more than Facebook, 84% have a website 33% spend 3-5 hours a week on tech problems, and 73% bank online.
Chances are, your usage habits are different, so don’t let statistics drive your plan. Take the time to do your own research. For example, if you provide B2B products or services, or find you don’t have the 3+ hours per week to spend on tech issues, you will want to structure your tech strategy differently.
Beware the risks! Another source lists the technology risk cited by most small business owners, and while each of these is a real risk, they are not all risks to all businesses, nor do they fall in the same priority. For example, if your service is virtual, then, your sales, business operations, and brand may be configured differently.
Each technology consideration requires investment and maintenance, and each requires varying degrees of advice from qualified consultants. As business technology continues to change and evolve at a rapid rate, it’s important that your planning process be not just comprehensive, but deliberate.
By Steven Schlagel