Over the past three decades, change within the IT sector has moved on at an ever-increasing pace, posing vast opportunities and challenges for almost every business. By 2018, there are few businesses which can operate optimally without a working IT infrastructure, with many totally reliant on accurate, reliable IT systems to process information and ensure the smooth running of operations across almost every department. Established in 1993, LBT has witnessed the dramatic evolution of the IT industry, working hard to keep clients one step ahead of the game. We remember the days of Acorn Computers, the dot matrix printer, Windows 3.1, floppy disks…. You name it. In our latest blog we look at some of the biggest developments for business and how to support them in 2018.
Trend 1: Convergence in Technologies
It was not long ago when telephones, mobile phones, televisions and computers existed as very separate devices each with their own individual functions. These technologies have converged rapidly, particularly within the last five years, meaning all of them can perform similar multi-functions. Over the same period companies like LBT have broadened their offering to businesses encompassing a range of services such as telephony in addition to IT support.
What to do:
It is important to train inhouse staff and ensure external contractors are able to work with multiple devices and platforms to ensure they manage effectively the relationships between them. Cost efficiencies can be obtained from suppliers who have diversified enabling them to bundle services together. Make sure your IT support provider or team is on the button to recommend efficient solutions for your business.
Trend 2: Cloud-Based Technologies
Cloud-based technologies and computing have emerged rapidly as one of the biggest shifts in business IT in the last twenty years. Internet based and providing increased flexibility for companies by reducing onsite hardware, data storage and maintenance, whilst enhancing communication and enabling software as a service models to become the norm, it is clear why investment in cloud computing is a popular choice for many organisations.
What to do:
Although important to embrace the benefits of cloud-based technologies, remember that every organisation is different and moving everything straight onto the cloud may not be the optimal solution for your business. Legacy IT systems, communication channels, legal requirements and confidential core business processes may limit what goes into the cloud, at least in the short-term. Similarly running some on-premise IT equipment may be the most cost-effective method at present, but can be made subject to periodic review. IT consultancies such as LBT can provide a balanced audit of your IT infrastructure with pragmatic, honest recommendations including cloud-based components where appropriate. Always weigh up options put forward for your business and ensure you allow time for implementation, switch overs and training on new systems which you choose to implement.
Trend 3: Strategic Thinking Vs Technical Skills
Legacy IT systems often build up within organisations as new technology is bolted on to existing equipment to keep up with the latest trends. Often the staff dealing with them come and go adding to the lack of coordination. All too often, internal IT teams and traditional IT support companies focus heavily on solving ad-hoc routine problems to keep the day to day running of the business going and their users happy, with little strategic thinking about the most efficient overall IT strategy to serve the business in the longer term. This is largely unintentional with many IT managers becoming embroiled in trouble shooting on a daily basis; they have little time remaining to review organisational processes, hardware and software requirements.
What to do:
Take a step back from the constant race to stay up to date and patching up of legacy systems to put in place an IT strategy for your organisation that will keep your business in tip top condition. An extra staff member or IT consultancy may need to be employed to work alongside your existing team with time allocated to review your system and processes, and discuss requirements with staff across the business. Once you have a strategy to follow, you may need to hire in specialist skills to ensure implementation of your changes, new hardware, software or cloud-based components runs smoothly.
Trend 4: Changing Organisation Structures
Over the past two decades the way most of us do business has changed fundamentally. The growth of high speed internet, email and mobile communications have been major factors in the ability of businesses to expand more easily across regional and international borders. In addition, it has supported different working patterns, particularly the development of widespread home and remote working. Coupled with rising rents and business rates, many companies choose to operate smaller premises and less onsite equipment.
What to do:
This largely depends on what stage your organisation has reached. If you are working from a traditional, large centralised premises and looking for ways to cut costs, an initial consultation with an IT expert to assess options may be your first step; enabling remote working practices, cloud-based and software as a service solutions may enable you to cut costs and work more efficiently. If your business has been operating using the cloud and incorporating dynamic working practices already, it can still be worthwhile evaluating areas for further improvement and reviewing security of all sites following the introduction of new legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
These are just a few of the biggest shifts in the IT sector which have impacted business over the past few decades, but the list of changes small and large is endless! At LBT we strive to keep ahead of the latest technologies and working practices to ensure we keep our customers ahead of the competition. If you need assistance with IT strategy, hardware and software implementation, regular IT support or just a fresh eye to look over your existing practices, please contact us today for a free initial consultation.