What Does It Mean to ‘Future-Proof’ Your Business IT?

The term ’future-proof’ is used a lot in business today, particularly in sectors where the IT investment is higher and there’s a need to keep systems updated and well protected. But, before we go gung-ho on upgrades and cyber security, it’s important to ask a few questions up-front. Such as, whether the technology you have is fit for purpose? And if the tech starting point is right?

Business leaders and IT management have a responsibility to make the right technology choices to make a business run more smoothly and everyone’s lives easier. That means implementing IT strategies that save time and money and leave enough resource to look ahead and dabble with innovation to keep your IT infrastructure up to date.

What is the starting point for future-proofing your IT?

It’s important to think about the market you operate in, how it’s evolving and whether your proposition is keeping pace with industry change and the competition.

A thorough review of your IT system will help you assess how efficiently you run right now and, coupled with any ‘wish list upgrades’ in the pipeline, you’ll have a starting point for where you are and where you need to go with your IT roadmap.

If you don’t have IT experts in-house, an outsourced IT service provider or IT consultancy can help you make that assessment and talk you through the options for protecting what you have and moving things on at the rate you can afford.

Don’t worry if there’s a sizeable gap between where you are and where you want to be. Every business sits on that trajectory to some degree and the rate at which you can (and should) move up it is relative. Even small businesses can avail of affordable IT to help them grow. There’s a comfortable path for every business, and understanding what that is, is the first step.

There are a number of key questions for business owners and management teams to ask of themselves, to really get inside the nature of the business, the market and what future development might look like:

  • Is the core product my customer buys changing (e.g. movies in video format to online streaming)?
  • Are the core technologies of production changing (e.g. 3D printing)?
  • Is the competition changing (e.g. new entrants claiming market share)?
  • Is my relationship with the customer being disintermediated (e.g. search engines)?
  • Is my industry undergoing regulation, deregulation, or re-regulation (e.g. have my responsibilities around data protection and information security compliance changed, as they will with GDPR)?

When you know the answers to these questions, you will be better able to decide what IT upgrades you will need to not only meet current operational demands, but those that will shape the future of your business. For instance, acknowledging that your server is in danger of becoming outdated may mean a move to the cloud is advisable, while an increase in IT demands may require considering hiring a virtual CIO or the support of an IT service desk to handle the day-to-day tasks that are getting in the way of you focusing on running the business.

You might also find that as your business grows and more clients come on board, project information management within your current set-up is becoming cumbersome, with file loss or duplication and a lack of accountability becoming a real danger.

In such a scenario, you may have to think about upgrading your IT architecture with enhanced project information management software so you can keep on top of all files and important emails to increase efficiency and enhance the service you provide.

By staying on top of these issues and knowing what plans to put in place, a business can help minimise the impact of change, focus their energy and IT budget where it will benefit it most and future proof in a much more complete sense.

Discover how effective project information management is just one way in which you can future-proof your business.