During these slower economic times, many companies are taking a closer look at technology to help them further improve operational efficiency, retain their best customers and meet revenue goals. Here are six ways to make the most of your IT investments in a challenging market:
1. Make Tough Decisions – Now is the time to evaluate your customer and vendor relationships to see if they are driving or depleting your bottom line. This can be accomplished through a reporting system, or KPIs (key performance indicators), that allows you to perform an in-depth analysis on the value of non-profitable customers and focus on the ones that drive profitability. Accurate reporting and KPIs also enable you to assess vendor performance, whether it’s service, timing or cost, and take appropriate actions.
2. Know Your Cash Flow – Many businesses suffer when they don’t have a clear picture of accounts receivable and payable. Consider implementing an automated accounting system to manage financials and streamline functions, and you will gain a better insight into cash flow. Accurate and timely information will give you a “live” view of business trends, overdue accounts and any other potential issues, enabling you to proactively manage your business and make better decisions.
3. Improve What You Already Have – Save time and money by automating processes currently completed manually. Most organizations don’t fully maximize the functions and features included in their business software applications. If you’re not ready for a major change, upgrades or updates to your existing accounting or reporting systems can help you leverage new functionalities and give you the edge you need to stay competitive in trying times.
4. Empower Your People – Get everyone on the same page by providing a single, integrated portal where employees can efficiently work together, manage content and share business-critical information. Facilitating collaboration across your company will help you automate and streamline organizational processes, improve business intelligence and productivity and boost your bottom line.
5. Consider Managed Services – The daily management and maintenance of critical business applications, like IT infrastructure and accounting systems, can be a drain on already limited resources. Look to managed services as a cost-effective option for deriving more value out of your investments. Managed services is best suited for companies in between needing a part-time and full-time position focused on day-to-day IT and application maintenance. So, before you hire another staff member, evaluate the benefits of outsourcing those functions to a trusted partner.
6. Save Green by Going Green – Virtualization is the ability to run multiple operating systems and applications, either locally or remotely, on a single piece of hardware. A virtual environment enables you to optimize your system, reducing the need for more physical servers, which in turn saves power and floor space. Most existing systems rarely utilize more than 10-20% of their processing capabilities, resulting in wasted capacity. With lowered electrical costs for cooling and server power consumption, your business will be one step closer to saving green and “going green.”
Whether you implement new business software applications, upgrade the systems you already have, outsource daily management functions or go green through virtualization, there are many ways you can tighten the belt without losing value and functionality. Knowing how to leverage your investments for maximum return will not only help your business survive, but thrive, in a sluggish economy.