Enterprise IT: An Investment Black Hole or Value Enabler?
Many businesses regard IT as a cost center, not offering any tangible returns for the dollar spend. Such reasoning may seem misplaced in today’s tech-centric age where more and more people are online, and technology creeps into almost all business processes. However, such misgivings may not be off the mark when factoring in the current state of IT in many enterprises.
Enterprises need to apply technology solutions the right way to realize potential gains from IT, with a coherent technology strategy for realizing business goals. This is a far cry from the present reality in many organizations where IT, rather than fulfilling its anticipated role as a key business enabler, is caught in a “process trap,” and a spending black hole.
Adopt these strategies to ensure IT investments create value.
Leverage Technology Solutions to Optimize Resources
It is a dog fight out there for new customers, in today’s highly competitive business environment. Most businesses are under stress to improve their margins. Margins can improve by increasing revenue, which is tough, and by reducing expenditure, which technology solutions can enable.
Automating manual tasks, doing away with time-consuming and man-hour intensive processes is among the core mandate of software. Reducing operational costs by eliminating waste and inefficiency, reducing cycle times, accurate invoicing, and more, all brought about by automation and process improvements, adds direct value, and contribute tangibly to the bottom line.
Today’s enterprises can further go beyond such basics, and leverage emerging technologies such as BYOD, big data and mobility solutions to offer technology solutions that empower the workforce to collaborate anytime, anywhere, with seamless access to data. Such interventions streamline day to day activities, and increase productivity. Marketing automation alone offers a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead. Application of technology solutions to other areas would realize similar, if not greater, gains
The cloud, with its scalable subscriptions, offer scope for big savings, sparing enterprises the hassles and costs of setting up their costly on-premises servers and other solutions, more so when demand for such resources may be seasonal. Companies could move workloads such as web and email to cloud hosts to overcome the network bandwidth challenges they face.
IT has the potential to add direct value in security and regulatory compliance front as well. Using software to cross-check whether various checks and balances are in place to ensure compliance reduces the drag on available resources. Aggregating data from various sources to generate compliance reports automatically allow the workforce to focus more on their core activities. Over and above such regulatory mandates, developing an effective network strategy, complete with encryption, network monitoring, and other protocols, as appropriate, keeps the network safe from data thieves, intellectual property bandits, ransomware gangs, and threats of various hues lurking in the cyberspace.
Non-compliance and breach can attract huge fines, besides other damages. Breaches cost global companies $3.79 million, and 60% of business closes within six months of a major data breach. Adopting a technology strategy on this front offers an effective safeguard against such disasters.
A big drag with IT is a huge slice of the budget, as high as 70% to 80%, invariably spend on maintaining existing assets, leaving very little on the table for innovation and transformational activities.
A break-out from this logjam require widening the focus to explore new technology, new products, new vendors, and new partners, aimed at identifying new solutions that enable the company overcome historic barriers of cost and geography. At the very least, focus on discovering newer cost-effective solutions and delivery channels to replace incumbent solutions. The added bonus with such efforts may be solutions to break into new markets or leapfrog competitors.
In other words, reposition the technology strategy from the usual “on-demand service provider,” to IT becoming a strategic partner in the company’s quest for innovation and growth.
Invest in Transformational Capabilities
New and emerging technologies such as cloud computing, big data, analytics, IoT, and more offer scope for not just transforming business processes, but also for unlocking new business opportunities. For instance, deploying analytic tools that generate deep insight from transaction data makes marketing more efficient, while deploying predictive analytic tools to anticipate customer needs enables marketers to go one-up on competition and increase sales.
However, businesses would also do well to be aware that there’s a lot of snake oil being sold in the form of new technologies and strike partnerships with established and credible solution providers. We offer a host of cutting-edge technology solutions that allow your business to become more efficient, and your workforce to become more productive. Partner with us to formulate a technology strategy that would ensure your IT investments truly add value, and transform your business.