Whatever the economic realities may be, technology is an integral part of majority of business operations the world over. How do you maintain your tech-reliant operations in the midst of a challenging business climate?
Most global businesses depend on technology and business partners to run their operations smoothly while improving margins. In all economic climates, businesses that engage the specialization of the best technology and service providers are also best positioned to establish their brands and build customer loyalty. In the first place, what they can save on support operations and product development can be re-invested in improving market reach and further innovation.
So how can business leaders maintain their tech-reliant operations going and remain profitable? By recession-proofing their IT operations. Here are some of the steps:
1. Adopt business intelligence smarts. Any enterprise that has a significant IT workforce or is engaged in technology services knows the importance that data consolidation—or metrics—plays in the success of a product, a service, or of the enterprise. These numbers are the most reliable way to look for trends, medians or any deviations from the norm, and upon which big decisions are made. Consolidate your data. Get a business intelligence system that allows for easier data collection and consolidation, and reports management.
2. Consolidate technologies. Technologies should help the enterprise conduct its business, not get in the way of productivity, and more so, of profitability. Due to the sheer size of their operations, many large enterprises employ multiple applications and systems to conduct almost the same services. Are you using multiple content management systems when one will be enough to handle firm-wide communications? Do you record your project hours separately from your timekeeping application? Is your ERP system composed of too many modules run by too many vendors? Maybe it’s time to let go of some of your clunky systems that take too much time and effort to maintain, update, and consolidate. Opt for the best solutions that can serve the enterprise’s most important and only necessary computing and communication needs.
3. Go virtual. SaaS, cloud computing, and virtualization are some of the most popular buzzwords this year, thanks to businesses finding new ways to trim IT budgets without necessarily trimming operations and lowering the quality of their services. Barring security breaches, software-as-a-service is the option for small and medium size enterprises because of its speed of implementation and flexibility for small- to medium-scale operations. Cloud computing, on the other hand, is a by-product of Web 2.0 practices and excess computing and storage capacity. Lastly, thanks to the global scope of many enterprises, virtualization is not just a buzzword but an operational reality among many project teams, service providers, and even top-level executives.
4. Standardize processes; adopt agile methodologies. Time, money, and your clients’ patience are finite resources. Work with a service provider that can help you at every stage of product development–from requirements gathering, to product or technical design, to development, to implementation, and to product release. Choose a service provider that specializes on agile development that allows for incorporation of improvements at every release of the product whether it is meant for the outside market or the organization’s internal operations.
5. Outsource, and outsource intelligently. Don’t just engage a service provider, whether offshore or nearshore, based on cost-savings alone. Look for long-term benefits from a combination of cost-savings, technology savvy, methodologies, consulting skills, and management culture of the vendor.