Small and medium-sized businesses are increasingly reliant upon a range of technologies, most notably software. From the accounting department to marketing and everything in between, software has helped to transform the average SMB throughout decades. The fact remains that technology can indeed bolster performances in virtually any department, but only when the strategies behind those solutions are intelligently planned and executed. So many new tools have entered the equation for small businesses in the past few years, making it increasingly difficult to properly orchestrate all of the moving parts.
However, a commitment to proactively planning technology management strategies and focusing on the hard facts of investments can help these firms to overcome the challenges presented by modern IT. One of the more important matters involved is always money, but a new report argued that spending is certainly not everything when it comes to intelligent IT management.
Cost does not equal maturity
Gartner recently released a report outlining some of the dangers that accompany the flawed belief that increased spending on technology automatically translates to stronger performances. With a specific focus on IT security, the researchers asserted that many companies might not truly understand their IT security needs from the financial standpoint, and those that only use spending as a metric of protection against threats are not likely to properly defend their systems.
"Clients want to know if what they are spending on information security is equivalent to others in their industry, geography and size of business in order to evaluate whether they are practicing due diligence in security and related programs," Gartner Research Director Rob McMillan explained. "But general comparisons to generic industry averages don't tell you much about your state of security. You could be spending at the same level as your peer group, but you could be spending on the wrong things and be extremely vulnerable. Alternatively, you may be spending appropriately but have a different risk appetite from your peers."
At the end of the day, the same risks can be clearly seen in all forms of IT spend management - higher dollar amounts do not necessarily translate to any types of substantive improvements. Gartner added that certain organizations it studied which invested the least money into security also had exceptionally strong protective performances.
Guidance is key
SMBs often have relatively low levels of subject matter expertise in the advanced technology arena, and this is one of the reasons why so many have turned to managed services for their software, infrastructure and general IT strategy oversight in the past few years. Rather than relying on guesswork and inevitably wasting money on unnecessary or non-optimal technologies, managed services can help to guide spending in the right direction, boosting returns on investment in the process.
Regardless of the technology desired - be it document management and workflow automation or transaction processing and accounting - SMBs must focus on their IT management and orchestration to ensure that they are getting the most out of their technology budgets in the new year. A reliable, honest managed service provider can help smaller firms conquer the challenges involved and optimize their IT performance.
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