Did you know that around 20% of small businesses will fail in their first two years? Not only that, but if you expand your view to a business’ first five years, the number jumps to 45%. Just a quarter of businesses make it to 15 years and beyond.
Sounds bleak, but smart businesses are finding ways to use digital transformation to support longevity – and you can do the same! Read on for some of our top tips for making your IT business future-proof against whatever is around the corner.
What is longevity in business terms?
When we talk about longevity, we’re not just considering the length of time a company can stay in business. It’s all about long-term goals and progress. For example, if your goal for your IT business is to build it into something that you can sell on, then just managing to stay afloat for decades doesn’t meet your longevity goals.
You might also want to ensure the business can stay around even after you retire, in which case part of your aims when it comes to longevity will be to find someone who you can pass the metaphorical torch to when it’s time for you to step back.
How to ensure longevity goals are met
Whatever your long-term goals are, there are common digital transformation initiatives that can support sustainable growth that looks further than today and tomorrow. Let’s look at a few common approaches.
The more a company can automate, the less reliance they will have on manual and repetitive tasks. Not only do these kinds of tasks take up a lot of hours in the day, they also don’t excite technicians. In fact, they often bore them half to death. Disengaged workers often don’t stick around for long, and whatever your long-term goals, they probably involve keeping good workers happy.
In contrast, automation can take a lot of these kinds of jobs off the hands of talented IT staff, allowing them to add strategic value elsewhere. That could mean communicating more with end-customers and keeping them happy, or working on more complex IT and networking needs which require creative problem solving.
Automation can cover common tasks such as patch management, and can also help with monitoring and finding problems ahead of time, moving from a reactive to a proactive method of support. As they aren’t simply moving from firefighting one item to the next, technicians and managers can work towards mid to long-term goals, and will find they have a whole lot more hours in the day.
Enabling a remote workforce
The next item that digital transformation strategy meetings should put front and center is the idea of supporting and facilitating a remote workforce. Employees are increasingly working from home, which means MSP customers and the colleagues that corporate IT is responsible for will be working from disparate environments.
For IT businesses, being able to seamlessly manage an IT environment from anywhere, even when it’s split across multiple locations is going to have a serious effect on business longevity. Before long, it’s going to be hard to find customers who are all working from a single office at all times.
Smart IT businesses will look to use digital transformation to solve for this challenge, and offer solutions such as:
Intelligent networking: Implementing VLANs rather than local LANs for example, ensuring security and flexibility across multiple office spaces.
Remote access tools: Allowing technicians to “remote-in” and troubleshoot or make updates and changes where necessary to support home workers.
Work from Home: Empowering employees to work from anywhere, and quickly and easily access their work computers via a remote connection.
One issue that’s only becoming more prevalent in the IT world is the importance of shoring up defenses against cyberattacks. For a business to reach its long-term goals, it simply can’t afford to be hit by a cyberattack, and it certainly needs to be able to protect its customers against any signs of threat.
According to Deloitte, “the effects of a cyberattack can ripple for years, resulting in a wide range of “hidden” costs—many of which are intangible impacts tied to reputation damage, operational disruption or loss of proprietary information or other strategic assets.”
This is why so many managed service providers (MSPs) are looking to add cybersecurity-as-a-service to their tool belts. This starts with monitoring and alerting for a wide range of threats, offering intrusion prevention technology, anti malware or anti-ransomware, and email protection. Value-adds could be anti-spam tools, security awareness training for employee education, or incident response. The list is endless.
Some MSPs handle alerts and notifications directly, while others will simply procure top of the range security technologies and allow the business to handle their dashboards internally. For corporate IT, stakeholders need to consider whether they have in-house expertise, or whether this is an area that should be outsourced to ensure security goals can be met.
If you’re in it for the long-haul… think long-term
As an IT business, it’s easy to be caught up in the latest challenge, and to hope that long-term goals take care of themselves. After all, you only have so many hours in a day! However, whether you’re looking at digital transformation as a way to add productivity and efficiency, or to stay competitive in a fast-paced industry, it’s important to also think about how these technologies and advances will support longevity.
Utilizing automation, remote work technology, and cybersecurity are three core ways to stay on top of long-term goals, providing sustainability and strategic value.
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