We Are in a Technology-Driven Business Transformation Mode | Business Technology

Two decades ago information technology (IT) was progressing at a predictable pace. Fifteen years ago, IT was the “enabler” and it shifted in its influence and use to a new role of providing new vistas and opportunities for extensive business process re-engineering (BPR) to take advantage of every-increasingly powerful PCs/servers/networks, software and other technology that came spilling out in the 1990′s. But back then the BPR concept focused on “cobbling together” systems to provide new capabilities, not necessarily wholesale system change or replacement. Adapt, but don’t re-invent if avoidable. Ironically, we’re doing a lot of that in shifts to cloud computing.From 2000 on It’s innovation pace picked up: underlying software systems and applications began to make greater inroads with their creation, adoption, and rapid maturation. Businesses were rapidly moving away from BPR to wholesale overhauls in how they were doing business, stepping over the line from IT as the enabler to overtly using IT and other technologies as the drivers.

With the “emergence” of, and push to, cloud computing in 2008/2009, the scope of that transformation exploded to flow in every direction, from apps to platforms to data centers to energy efficiency to cost savings (we still hope), to… well, pretty much everything. New tools such as “visualization” opened up new opportunities in IT service and operations/management. Now mobile apps for smartphones and tablets are enabling and driving even more change.In essence, we’ve re-dimensioned the scale and scope of change in our business as the result of new technologies we are rapidly adopting. With all of that comes the re-visiting or inventing new approaches to issues of security in general, “system architecture,” big data, new analytic, integration of new sales tools such as social media, and a host of other factors that in the past could be planned and accommodated more uniformly and with a far less haste than today.Well, therein lies what is to me the key point: Technology is driving business transformation on BOTH ends of the “supply chain”… the sellers, suppliers, providers and service firms on the one hand who have to create, provide, manage and maintain the “products” on the one end, and the customers who have to use them on the other. Technologies beget new products, which in turn drive new business models, which lead to new market approaches and even new markets which

But what is often missing in product firms and their customers are change management plans and programs to manage the changes in culture, operations, and all other facets of the firms based on these new technologies. Ill-considered and improperly defined or implemented changes can be devastating to the implementers. Technology that drives you can be detrimental to your firm if not properly planned and exploited.All of this must be considered when planning a new product company, or adopting a new product/technology. Successful planning promotes a successful effort. Poor or NO planning almost guarantees failure… and that problem is something no business wants.

4 Steps for Managing Your Small Business Technology Costs

A few simple steps can help you make the most of your expenditures throughout the lifecycle of the technology. Servers, desktops, software, networking equipment and peripherals add up, but you do need them to keep your business running. Follow these steps to make cost-effective decisions.

1. Weigh Financing Options

Aside from purchasing, financing and leasing are viable options for a small business. Consider a combination of the three when going through the buying process. Installing and configuring the technology could also be financed and bundled into regular payments. Does the company you’re buying from provide “new and authorized by the manufacturer” sales? After you’ve got the equipment up and running, this could enable your company to get updates or enhancements directly from the manufacturer–and dealing with problems will be much simpler.

2. Warranty Wisely

Anticipate growth and business changes and decide whether or not the technology you are selecting today can carry you through these changes. Take into account the time that it will be considered useful for your business. To protect yourself when financing or leasing, align the term of the agreement with the warranty period. That way you’ll have protection direct from the manufacturer during the period of time you intend to own it.

3. Consider Total Cost

Prepare and budget for other costs to support your technology. For example, toner cartridges typically cost the owner or a laser printer two to three times the initial cost of the printer. Consider a program such as a Managed Print Service to include these costs in the monthly price. Typically this will lower the total lifetime cost.

4. Plan for Disposing of the Equipment

Considering your company’s strategy around technology disposal or recycling at the front end. There are basically 3 ways to properly dispose of technology at the end of the useful life:

Sell the equipment
Donate the technology to a school, non-profit, etc.
Formal Disposition – Certified companies will assure your computers or other hardware and software will be properly disposed of, including recycling and reuse of components. Another benefit: Your data is destroyed and made unrecoverable by professionals rather than relying on inexperienced staffers.

The total cost of ownership of technology includes more than the upfront price tag. Consider the total lifecycle costs of IT for your business, plan ahead and you’ll make sure you’re maximizing your investment.