The 'road' to success - Is investing in IT worthwhile?
‘A necessary evil’ is a phrase often used to describe the need for IT within a business and the sentiment generally comes from either a lack of understanding of this seemingly dark art, or worse still, a distrust of the IT supplier.
Developing a positive culture towards the use and dependence upon IT with a business can boost productivity through efficiency as well as profitability through business agility.
Embracing and investing in IT will bring benefits to businesses where the leadership actively promotes its use, management and development. Such investment should not be viewed as simply relating to the system hardware and software, leveraging the richness of the data held within systems is key to maximising productivity and profitability.
The experience sought by IT users is not too dissimilar from their expectation of driving a car from A to B. The car is expected to: start without hesitation; perform without issue throughout the journey; be easy to control, simple to understand, indeed completely intuitive; and to arrive ready for the next journey.
Making sure that the complete IT solution is suited to the business requires more than simply buying a PC on price. Arguments over Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) are commonplace and the upfront cost generally equates to around 25% with the balance related to maintenance costs over the life of the PC.
That said, the PC is at the start of the journey. It relies on the network infrastructure, essentially the road network, to complete the user experience.
And then there are the on going changes which occur all the time with operating systems and application updates being pushed through the system – sometimes without the user knowing much about it until their PC slows down unexpectedly.
Controlling these changes is vital to maintaining the smooth journey for the user. All changes can be managed and tested beforehand and then delivered to the user – out of hours. Sometimes these changes are down to the users themselves – and by restricting the changes users can make you can further ensure the reliability of the system.
Firms of accountants recognise the importance of IT within their businesses and need the day-to-day journey to be smooth – but this only comes with strategy, investment and controlling the changes, and all three require commitment from the top.