With technology constantly improving, many small business owners struggle when it’s time to upgrade to new software. Below are some tips to help you, as a small business owner, to avoid some of the biggest IT mistakes.
- Minimize Customizations:
When an owner is looking to purchase new software, it would seem like it would be in any company’s best interest to tailor generic application software to fit their business’ specific needs. What company wouldn’t want software that was built to their company’s specifications? However there are pitfalls with customization. With every update comes the need to re-customize the application and undoubtedly with every rewrite comes another invoice. Customization comes with a price tag which can have major implications on the overall cost of an IT system. Understanding the cost/benefit relationship between using general vs. customized software is important for any business owner looking to buy a new system.
- Avoiding Hype:
Talk to any tech sales rep and I’m sure they will tell you about the time, money, and resource-saving capabilities of their software. However, what many reps won’t tell you is that some of the features they are describing may still be in development or testing. It is important for business owners to be as specific as possible when asking sales reps questions about their software. Owners should evaluate the system based on its current features and its ability to integrate with the company’s current technology.
- Standardize Components:
It is important for business owners to standardize hardware and software components when they are looking to upgrade. Owners that overlook standardization are left with complicated troubleshooting, repairs, and, in some cases, end up with components that are incompatible. Business owners can overcome these issues by working with IT consultants to leverage their knowledge and vendor relationships.
- Untrained employees:
All too often small businesses spend thousands of dollars on top-notch software and overlook investing in their employees training. After all, the software a company buys can only be as efficient as the people using the system. It is estimated by www.techrepublic.com that “office staff understands less than 20% of the available features in the software applications they use. That means 80% of the features, time-saving capabilities, and cost-reducing functions remain unused!” To maximize the capabilities of the software, businesses need to invest in their employees. Some IT consultants suggest that up to 20% of an IT projects budget should be allocated to training.