Modern business only runs efficiently with the proper tools, and technology is a chief component. It was just seventy years ago that our most sophisticated contrivance was analogue targeting-computers on naval ships, while nowadays, it’s rare to find any piece of equipment that is not computerized in some way.
Consider the early part of the 20th century when Henry Ford gave us the assembly line. He unknowingly spawned a problem for himself that no one had experienced before him: keeping up with the speed of production. He essentially had to invent MRP (Materials Requirements Planning) so that he didn’t run out of radiators or front left fenders, for example, in the middle of the week. The tool didn’t exist; therefore, he had to create it.
One of the greatest benefits of information technology is that it yields the potential for creativity, which leads to productivity. Here, we will explore why and how this is possible.
Since there are thousands upon thousands of technological solutions that we can use to our avail, the actual problem we may encounter is choosing the correct solution, or solutions; and that is where we start to run into problems.
These problems begin when we’re just starting out. Some people use Mac™ laptops and others use Windows™ based systems, so that even if they use MS WORD™ on Apples, the files have different colors, fonts, paragraph styles and, most annoyingly, captions mysteriously disappear from beneath images for no apparent reason, whenever files are shared.
CONSISTENCY IS IMPORTANT
Before the advent of Big Data, SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, and all the other of their kind, business management enforced the notion of “Everybody uses the same programs, no matter how inadequate they are for the task”. The alternative was “Everybody uses the best tool for the job, and we’ll cope with incompatibilities later”. Obviously neither solution was ideal.
New companies starting up, now have the advantage of hiring a consultant who can decide “Brand ‘X’ is the best solution for your situation”, where brand ‘X’ is a complete suite of ERP tools which is designed to share information seamlessly. You simply choose the discrete components you need to get precisely the tools you need. When you need a new module, it integrates perfectly. Let’s look at some of those acronyms from the previous paragraph, and their impact on your business.
For however long you’ve been in business, you have been collecting information. When you draw all of that information together, and sort through it, it is possible to discover trends about the future that would otherwise be impossible to ascertain.
You can see staff retention/loss; you discover exponential growth in a sector that’s invisible in the beginning, which will form 25% of your business in five to ten years; and retirement trends of your most productive people jump out at you, but warn of a failure to hire replacement people in time to learn from them before they go. Figuratively speaking, it gives you the ability to “predict” the future. Would you turn down that power of prescience?
Software as a Service, for a monthly fee, provides your entire organization with a uniform cloud-based version of a program. For example, let’s say it’s an office suite with word processing capability, spreadsheets, presentation software, etc. Whenever someone wants to create a document on whatever machine they are using, they are all using exactly the same version of the program.
Sharing the final product with anybody else in the organization is simple, has no incompatibilities, and works for every single instance. The real time-saver is that machines don’t need to be individually upgraded; the upgrade happens at one location, and the next time they use the program, they’re using the new version.
Infrastructure as a Service, frees a new startup from spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on servers, racks, air conditioning, IT maintenance staff, and all the associated impedimenta. By using an outside agent to act as your pseudo-hardware, all your business requires is a high speed Internet connection and laptops, or local dumb terminals.
If your needs increase to demand more computing power or more storage space, the provider allows it to expand automatically. When you use less, it can shrink automatically, thus saving you money.
More importantly, your information is stored on secure servers in multiple sites. If your office burns down, all your data is safe. If one of their buildings burns down, all your information is duplicated in another site. Security of information is accomplished through redundancy.
One other important note: This provides protection against Ransomware. If criminals penetrate your server and encrypt all your data and then demand money to return access to it, you can simply erase everything and download a fresh, clean, current copy.
Platform as a Service is excellent for software developers. They can set up a virtual environment to test their software. If things don’t work as intended, and it corrupts the system, they just delete the environment, start with a brand new, fresh environment, and preset to the starting conditions they want, all within a matter of seconds; rather than having to reconfigure a local computer system to a neutral state to start over again. It can save thousands of dollars in development time and expense.
Automated technology enhances an already efficient operation, and the opposite can also be said for an inefficient system.
What you choose to use will directly affect your profitability, competitiveness, efficiency, customer appreciation, market share, employee satisfaction, and overall security of your data. This is by no means a trivial decision.
The very future of your business is in your hands right now. Research, study, learn, and reflect. Just don’t take too long, since your competition certainly won’t!
Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200