As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact businesses across all industries, business owners are being forced to reevaluate all aspects of their operations and are relying on technology now more than ever before.
Many businesses that had been taking an informal approach to IT strategy have discovered that their systems are not as robust and scalable as they’d hoped. Some may have lost ground competitively as fires were put out and employees got back up to speed in an altered working environment.
To keep your approach to technology relevant, it’s imperative to regularly reassess your IT processes and assets, and this is more important than ever as we navigate the new normal.
Here are six key questions to ask:
- What are our users saying?
Every successful IT strategy is built on a foundation of continuous user feedback. Talk with (or survey) your employees about what’s happened over the last few months from a technology perspective. Find out what’s working, what isn’t, and why.
- Do we have information silos?
Most companies today use multiple applications. If these solutions can’t “talk” to each other, you may suffer from information silos — when different people and teams keep data to themselves. Shifting to a more remote workforce may have worsened this problem or made it more obvious. If it’s happening, determine how to integrate critical systems.
- Do we have a digital file-sharing policy?
Businesses used to generate tremendous amounts of paperwork. Sharing documents electronically is much more common now, but without a formal approach to file sharing things can still get lost or various versions of files can cause confusion. Implement (or improve) a digital file-sharing policy to better manage system access, network procedures and version control.
- Has our technology become outdated?
Along with being an incredible tragedy and ongoing problem, the pandemic is accelerating change. Technology that may have been at least passable before the crisis may now be falling far short of optimal functionality. Look closely at whether your business may need to upgrade hardware, software or platforms sooner than you previously anticipated.
- Do employees need more training?
You may have implemented IT changes over the past few months that employees haven’t fully understood or have adjusted to in problematic ways. Consider mandatory training and ongoing refresher sessions to ensure users are taking full advantage of available technology and following proper procedures.
- Are your security protocols being followed?
Changes made to facilitate working during the pandemic may have exposed your systems and data to threats from disgruntled employees, outside hackers and ever-present viruses. Make sure you have a closely followed policy for critical actions such as regularly changing passwords, removing inactive users and installing security updates.
Technology has played a critical role in enabling businesses to stay connected internally, communicate with customers, and remain operational during the COVID-19 crisis. If you have questions about how to reevaluate and implement changes in your IT strategy, leave a comment below, or feel free to contact me directly, I’m happy to help.