5 Reasons a Smart IT Strategy is Essential to Business Growth

If you’re struggling with your business IT strategy, you’re among millions of company owners worried theirs isn’t built for scale. Perhaps you’re skeptical why you should be implementing scale strategies into your IT planning?

We recently surveyed some of our clients. Their top three concerns in the coming year are:

  1. Developing advanced cloud-computing technologies into their current systems. It’s no surprise savvy IT departments have discovered the benefits of network more of their systems in a Cloud-based structure.
  2. Migrating more of their systems to third-parties. The cost-savings are obvious. Based on our internal research, more of our clients see the value in outsourcing their security risk prevention to experts.
  3. Analyzing their current IT manpower expenses to pinpoint wasted expenses.

Reason #1: Evaluate Your IT Expenses

Think about buying IT services rather than products. For example, invest in learning the benefit of running application softwares on Cloud servers. The capital investment will be far less than purchasing licensed software for each of your users.

Reason #2: Open Up to Open Source

Smart business owners are beginning to see the benefit of using open source software products. What’s striking is many of these applications mimic ones that can cost as much as $695 per user.

Many companies now use open source word processing and spreadsheet software such as Open Office. It’s bundled with many additional programs similar to ones offered by the costly Microsoft Office.

Reason #3: Internet Telephone

If you haven’t migrated your telephone services to voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), you’re missing an enormous cost reduction in your monthly communications expense. You will be impressed at the savings by converting your telephone services to an Internet-driven broadband connection.

Reason #4: Lease Services Rather Than Own

Give up investing in hardware assets. Instead, consider purchasing Cloud-based server space from one of the hundreds of leading providers. Many CFOs are evaluating their on-site tech-related expenses only to discover it’s becoming cost-prohibitive to own technology.

We recommend taking a hard look at your annual hardware/software investments. Then compare your expenses to renting Cloud server access. You will find the cost is far less than investing in your on-site technology.

Reason #5: Globalize Your CRM

New business prospecting has been transformed over the last five years due to online management services. For instance, migrating your CRM database to SalesForce will give you global access to prospects rather than relying on clunky, outdated in-house software.


Tools of the Trade: CSS

Cascading Style Sheets or CSS is the language in which web pages built upon.  There are a lot of tools out there that work with or in conjunction with CSS.  Here’s a breakdown of a few that might be of use to you.

1.  Firebug

Firebug is an add-on for Firefox.  Open sourced and free, this add-on allows you to inspect code.  Whether you are veteran web designer or new to the game, this tool is great for viewing how things might look in production.  The ability to add and remove code to see how the changes appear on the front end is essential to staying on top of bugs

2. CSS Menu 3.3

Menus are a time eater.  CSS Menu 3.3 allows for quick menu creation, allowing you to easily visualize how menus will look and behave.

3. CSS3 Button Generator

Buttons!  Buttons are a great way to add polish to a website.  They are used to draw attention, generate sales, or make statements.  CSS3 Button Generator is free, though we do suggest that you donate to help support the creators, CSS Portal.

Nothing Beats Free: Part 2 of an going series

When doing business nothing is better than free.  So, what’s good out there that’s free?  There’s plenty out there for business owner on a budget.

For Your Security: Windows Defender

For Windows 8, Microsoft combined its anti-spyware and real time anti-virus scanner into the Windows Defender. It’s not the best security suite around, but it’ll cost you nothing.  If you’re on a budget, just keep your Windows Defender up-to-date and you should be mostly secure.

Human Resource Management: Orange HRM

Orange HRM is an open source database software.  It helps keep track of job applicants, organize employee information, and assign permissions at a touch of a button.  It sounds complicated, but this software has a low learning curve.  There are paid SaaS (software as a service), but they are not necessary for most small businesses.

E-mail Marketing: MailChimp

MailChimp has several tiers of service. However, the free one is pretty generous.  It lets you send up to 12,000 e-mails to up to 2,000 e-mail addresses. With it, you can create quasi-customized templates to create a fairly unique look for your business.  The free version also has analytic data on your e-mail marketing campaign.

And of course, if you need IT support you can find that here.


FundaGeek: Financing the Future of IT

So you have an idea for a great app.  What now?  You need capital to get started with development.  A bank is an option, but you’d probably get laughed at when you explained your idea.  Apps are very high risk ventures.  You could try Kickstarters.  But you’d probably be drowned out by all the movies and bands looking for funding.

Now there’s Fundageek.  This site focuses entirely on connecting micro-investors with projects. One aspect of the IT world that can really benefit from crowdsourcing is open source software.  Small groups and individuals can now seeking funds for working with open source.