2019 is now well underway, inevitably bringing some (already broken!?) New Year’s resolutions along with it. We’ve all vowed to go to the gym more, eat healthier, or take up a new hobby – we believe the same enthusiasm should be extended to your IT.
2018 was a year of great change for many businesses, ourselves included, and the new year is only set to present even more opportunities for progression in the fast-moving digital economy we all now operate in. But to get the most out of what 2019 has on offer, it’s important to approach your IT with a fresh perspective.
Here are 4 New Year’s resolutions you should be making for your IT.
Digital transformation is amazing. For many businesses it is completely revolutionising how they serve their customers. Clearly, your IT is at the epicentre of this transformation and is being altered in all sorts of ways including how you consume technology, to both save you money and enhance the experience of your staff and your customers. The problem is, because “digital transformation” is banded around so much and potentially incorporates such a broad spectrum of initiatives it can feel very intimidating, but you shouldn’t let its magnitude stop you. To truly benefit from it, you need to be ready to embrace change, albeit at your own pace, and step outside of your comfort zone, which can feel scary. We find the best way of tackling this is to have a clear digital transformation strategy in place, a blueprint that you genuinely believe you can commit to for the year ahead. While your programme may evolve later down the line, it’s important to start out with realistic objectives and a vision for how you intend to transform various aspects of your IT and the business processes it supports from the word “go”. Critical to this will be the task of evaluating which new technologies will be instrumental in helping you do this, as well as how you use and pay for them. Whether your digital journey involves implementing a big data initiative to better understand your customers, deploying Device as a Service (DaaS) to put the right tech in the hands of your people, or even exploring the many advantages of artificial intelligence – whatever steps you’re ready to take will only serve to make your business better.
We frequently find that when we visit a customer about an issue they’re experiencing, we’ll end up looking at the bigger picture to understand exactly what that issue is affecting and how that technology is being used. We encourage our customers to do the same; to look beyond their singular challenge to their wider business processes and question whether IT is helping or hindering the process, or if indeed the process itself needs a rethink. This is particularly relevant as we venture into a new year, as what worked for you in 2018 may no longer be right for 2019. Because technology moves so quickly, it’s important to stay on top of it as best you can in order to make the most of the innovations available to you. Our own investment in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software NetSuite in 2018 has entirely changed how we see and manage our business processes and operations. The cloud-based ERP has been a breath of fresh air, so much so that we’ve now become an accredited NetSuite partner!
With cyberthreats now much more sophisticated than they once were, it’s critical to ensure that your data security and business processes adhere to the relevant standards, to reduce the risk of a breach. There are a lot of quick, easy wins that can be implemented to help you meet these standards, including conducting a full security audit to assess the state of your current environment. A sure-fire way of ensuring your data security is following recognised best practices is to work towards various ISO accreditations or even adopt the new government standard; Cyber Essentials. These provide a clear framework and help you put controls in place to make certain you’re consistently compliant. We’re very proud of our own ISO certifications, not just because we’ve worked so hard to achieve them, but because they’ve helped us to vastly improve the management of our systems and data security posture. As a result, we’re also now qualified to guide our customers through the ISO accreditation process, and apply the same level of care and rigour to your ISO journey as we did our own.
Cloud is mainstream, and for good reason. It can do incredible things for your IT, from dramatically reducing your physical hardware to creating a seamless user experience for your people. That’s why many of our customers have already begun to tap into the opportunities, whether that’s with Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Amazon Web Services (AWS), or one of the countless other cloud offerings out there. Harnessing public cloud services doesn’t mean you need to move everything lock, stock, and barrel, but start by selectively moving parts of your IT that are most suited or take the most time to administer. Few organisations will be all-out public cloud and thus a hybrid approach will be best for the majority of companies.
It’s also important to remember that there’s more to the cloud than just moving services out of your datacentre. Your services still require managing and monitoring to ensure you’re benefiting from the best commercials and you’re not paying for more than you need. We’ve developed a new billing engine that takes the hassle out of managing your cloud services and consolidates multiple service lines into a single administration dashboard that helps you get smarter about your use of the public cloud. It makes it far easier to review and track what you’re consuming and how, as well as highlighting whether you truly need everything that you’re being billed for. Service options can be activated and deactivated as well. Helpfully, you end up with one bill too.
Going into 2019, our own New Year’s resolution is to be as agile as possible for our customers. We want to be ready for anything, especially with the uncertainty of the 29th March on the horizon. One thing we can be certain of is that technology will play an increasingly significant role in these uncertain times, whether that means helping to reduce operational costs or capture new business opportunities. That’s why this year more than ever, we’ll be truly getting into the fabric of our customers’ organisations to determine how they can best use technology as an enabler to help make their business better.