money pour

As your business strategy changes to manage growth, make sure your IT investments keep pace.   Below are three ideas you can use to turn your IT into a growth engine.

  1. Our main observation is business owners are still being given overly cautious advice from IT managers.   As a result, their IT is holding them back.
  2. Focus on high value and low maintenance solutions.
  3. Get deferred maintenance done and out of the way. We are seeing decision making cycles shift from “how much can I save if I just did the first part now?” to “How fast can you get the whole thing done?”   How fast often is limited by how much deferred maintenance that needs to be done to support the changes you want to make. Here are three high ROI investments that will guarantee you are managing for growth.

Office 365

Without a doubt, one of the single best investments a business can make these days is migrating to the Office 365 platform. Microsoft has long been the leader in business technology, and they firmly established themselves as the undisputed champ with their extremely popular software as a service platform, Office 365. Office 365 is a bundled solution offering that incorporates several best of breed solutions into one powerful and unified platform. It’s a good investment because it allows businesses to buy a bundle of products that can allow them to consolidate services. For example, one customer we have has eliminated their old on premise Exchange server, upgraded every employee to the latest version of Microsoft Office on multiple devices, replaced DropBox with One Drive for file sharing and is planning a phased migration to SharePoint which can eliminate five other software applications they use. All this for $20/employee/month.

VOIP phone solutions

As older legacy phone systems age out, some of the newer VOIP (voice over IP) solutions offer inexpensive, feature-rich solutions with little to no capital investment. Solutions like Ring Central allow businesses to leverage Enterprise-grade features at a scalable price point. Features like elegant web conferencing, auto-attendant, voicemails forwarded as wav files via email, out of office notifications, etc. A small or midsize business can easily and flexibly create a solution that makes the customer experience as robust and polished as calling a Fortune 1000. We have seen several customers save money versus their legacy system. It’s a great way to invest a little, and get a lot.

Firewall as a Service

Firewalls are infrastructure, which means they are inherently boring. But they provide real value by preventing negative effects that will cost companies productivity. Essentially a good offense becomes your defense by blocking viruses, malware, malicious threats, intrusion attempts or malicious transfer of data by employees (think of an employee trying to upload a list of client information the day before they quit.). In the past firewalls were a capital expense, nowadays they are purchased as a service, which minimizes capital expenditure and allows the devices to be exchanged as needs, internet bandwidth or headcount change. Dell Sonicwall has an excellent FWaaS program.

Most business owners recognize that technology is an important means for improving efficiency, but there is natural trepidation about making missteps or investing in technology that will need to be ripped or replaced within a couple of years. The aforementioned solutions are inexpensive to get into, flexible and well-established as sound options for stability and support.

If you have doubts about your organizations infrastructure, an IT assessment can be a good way to get your arms around what you have and where to go. Contact Upward today.