Updating Your Business IT: Planning and Budgeting

Let’s assume that everything we’ve said in our last article about upgrading your technology resonated with you, and you agree 100% — now what? Well, decisions have to be made. What kind of hardware will you be using? What about the software? When do you plan to make changes, and what’s your budget? Do you plan to hire new people for this undertaking or do you plan to use a vendor? But perhaps the most crucial question of all is, who will make the final decision?

While this might seem like an odd question, the truth is that many offices don’t have a go-to person for these types of decisions. Or maybe the person who is currently in charge of this may be too busy, too distracted, or not the best person to do so.

 

WHO IS YOUR DECISION MAKER?

One of the biggest problems with a lot of medical practices is that they often don’t work like your typical business. While most traditional companies might have an owner, a president, or simply a manager, this isn’t always the case when it comes to doctors.

Many professional services companies, for example, typically use a partnership model where they may have more than five or six partners who own the business and are in charge of making most of the larger decisions. While it’s true they often use office managers, these position holders usually handle the day-to-day operations and aren’t given the authority to make decisions for large purchases or contracts. But even if there’s only one person at the top, the decision may still not be an easy one to make.

A question of qualification

There is no doubt that you are qualified to do your job. Even so, that expertise may not extend to understanding technology in your office, nor should it. Plus, there is a lot more to IT than simply understanding computers. For instance, understanding budgeting is an essential part of any IT decision.

Even if you have the money, just buying everything there is does not a good IT system make. Having a thorough understanding of the specific needs — including future needs — of the office is crucial before spending a single penny.

 

HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW

It’s no secret that technology is moving at breakneck speeds these days, so if you’re not making efforts to keep up, you can fall behind in a blink of an eye. New solutions for storage, operating systems, and security are being developed almost daily. Also, there may be a need to upgrade systems for other reasons, such as when it’s becoming clear that your needs are growing or evolving.

This process is difficult for any business, and putting it off for as long as possible is common. A major reason for this is a lack of guidance, with people being unaware or unsure of what needs to be done to upgrade.

This can cause major problems down the line as the most common solution to this problem tends to be a piecemeal replacement process. A computer here or a printer there may seem like a reasonable way to get things done, but the fact is that it ends up costing a lot more than replacing all outdated equipment at once. Additionally, it can make migrating files and systems much more complicated in the future since all these different pieces of equipment will be running various operating systems or in other ways be non-uniform.

If you find yourself in this situation, it could lead to security breaches, lowered employee morale, and downtime that will lead to a loss of efficiency. If the problem started because there wasn’t a single person taking charge, it would be a lot more difficult to resolve these issues.

 

A STREAMLINED SOLUTION

The best way to get your business on track is to make a formal decision as to who handles IT across the board. While you may want input from the various departments, a single, qualified person should be pulling the lever on these decisions.

Since offices tend to be such busy places, many have chosen to go with an outside vendor to provide these IT services, such as us. From our experience, when having a single person or group meet with us to address the needs and current status of the office, we’re able to quickly work out a solution. Not only are we able to make sure that the needs of everyone in the organization are met without all the hassle usually needed to maintain such a system, but that system ends up being well within their budget.

If you find yourself being the person responsible for making these decisions, contact us to see how we can be of service. You’ll be amazed by the positive atmosphere you can create with just a few changes to your IT.  But don’t worry – we’ll let you take all the credit!

 

IS COST HOLDING YOU BACK?

Managing expenses is one of the core tasks of any business owner or manager. Nothing is free, so if you want to keep the lights on and your office staffed, you need to know what’s coming in and what you’re paying out.

But to run operations profitably, you might find yourself having to prioritize your expenses. When you do that, what gets bumped up-front and what gets pushed to the back? A mistake that many businesses make is to give IT a lower priority.

Why such a low priority?

Many types of businesses think nothing of dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars on machines or specialty equipment, yet they drag their feet when it comes to upgrading outdated computer terminals. In all honesty, this shouldn’t come as a big surprise as CEOs often have an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. After all, how often have you been to a doctor’s office and have seen a scale that looked like it was manufactured during the Nixon administration?

The high cost of low budgets

With many types of investments, including IT purchases, the less you pay upfront, the more you’ll pay in the future. In the example mentioned above of the old scale, as long as it’s accurate, it doesn’t matter how old it is since it does its job. But if you’re running older computer systems that don’t have modern safety protocols, for example, your system is exceptionally vulnerable to attacks.

While hackers wanting to steal credit card numbers is no surprise, what is surprising is the apparent value of medical records being sold inside the dark web. In last May alone, there were 28 reports of hacks stealing more than 500 records from medical systems nationwide. HHS’ Office for Civil Rights reports a 59% year-over-year increase in these sorts of attacks, with much of it blamed on outdated systems and hardware. While medical records are particularly valuable, these stats are accurate across industries. Companies holding valuable data on multiple businesses, such as financial and legal firms, are a huge target as well. Not only is it difficult for the clients whose privacy has been violated, but it also opens up businesses to a sea of liability.

In addition to security risks, you may also face the risk of being left behind. Clients across industries are now accustomed to a higher level of service than ever before. Instant responses to questions via the customers’ preferred communication method are expected (and you’d better offer them all!) Phone apps and digital services, online ordering, 24/7 service, and more are becoming the norm. Businesses who prioritize and innovate based on their customers’ requests will easily beat out any lagging competitors. Remember Blockbuster? They didn’t pay attention to trends, didn’t listen to their customers, didn’t upgrade their technology, and as a result, they were quickly pushed into obscurity.

Lastly, modern IT just makes everything move faster. Whether it be billing, filing, scheduling, or any other aspect of running a business, there’s no doubt that the fewer resources that are dedicated to non-core tasks, the better and faster your customers can be served.

 

MODERN SOLUTIONS TO MODERN CHALLENGES

Even with all these benefits made clear, the challenge is still in the acquisition, implementation, and upkeep of a modern IT solution that will work best for your operation. With so many options at so many price levels, it can be a major undertaking to know what will work best for you.

That’s where a quality Managed Service Provider comes into play. MSPs do all the IT work for you, allowing you to get back to taking care of your clients. We go over what you currently have and work within your needs and budget to see what will make your office run at top efficiency. If you’d like to explore working with us, request a consultation.

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Written by Lauren Morley

Lauren is the Chief Marketing Officer at Techvera. She travels the country full-time with her husband and dogs. When she isn't coming up with marketing strategies for Techvera, you can find her playing games, exploring nature, or planning her next adventure!

March 24, 2021

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