In a world that is being transformed every day, the opportunities for the use of Information Technologies are limitless. Today it is mandatory to work on a sufficient and advanced digital model for businesses to develop and prosper.

By SERGIO SERRANO

Certainly, using Information Technology helps to differentiate itself from the competition and leverage the business in a way that allows its continuity and permanence.

Sometimes companies do not recognize the importance of a good Information Technology strategy or do not use all their capacities, for which they pay a high price, little by little their processes weaken, failures and problems appear and employees lose interest.

And now with the covid-19 pandemic and the “Stay at home” recommendation, there are definitely changes coming in the way we work and communicate.

New technologies are required to work remotely without affecting processes and facilitating employee communication with senior management, customers, and suppliers.

So the point is to create a frame of reference – a digital model, that allows owners and senior management of small and medium-sized businesses to have a guide to managing the technology.

Tips for Managing Information Technology in Small and Medium Size Businesses
  • Are business processes sufficiently aligned, automated, and connected to increase revenue?
  • Do we know our clients in-depth?
  • Do we know our clients in-depth?
  • Do the technologies used significantly increase employee productivity?
  • Are employees sufficiently trained for the efficient use of technologies?
  • Are IT people prepared to collaborate in the selection and implementation of new technologies?
  • Does the IT manager report directly to management?
  • Does the organization have an updated digital model used in reality?
  • Is redundancy or duplication of activities avoided?
  • Are the technologies up to date?
  • Do we use the services of an information technology and process consulting company?
  • Do we have an updated and known Contingency Plan that works properly in the event of a natural phenomenon such as an earthquake or flood, power failure, or a virus pandemic?
  • Do we have enough money to invest in new technology and a budget for the maintenance of hardware and software, in addition to expenses for services and training?

It has never been easy to manage and operate an Information Technology (IT) department. For IT people it is a great responsibility to keep up to date and aware of what is new that you imagine is useful to the company where you work. They must be informed and know what is new, to present to users and the impact it can have on their productivity and on the quality of information to support decision-making.

I recommend that they maintain an IT department with few people – according to the size of the company and that all services go to providers of recognized prestige. They must take care of the purchase and maintenance of computer equipment, purchase, and maintenance of software licenses, user support, take care of computer security, and technology training courses, manage the budget, and stay informed. formed from a technology news and lastly supporting management and owners in decision-making related to the area.

The development of mobile systems and applications must be carried out by an external provider.

It will also be important to move the operation of systems and applications to the cloud, to avoid investments in a data center, which involves many hardware and software purchase expenses, in addition to having personnel dedicated to its operation.

It is very convenient for the company to use a flexible ERP in the cloud such as Oracle Netsuite, SAP Business One, or Microsoft Dynamics 365, among others. And thus avoid having many systems that work separately and are not integrated into a single database platform.

To store the documents, use well-known platforms such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Apple iCloud. They all offer free storage from 5 to 10 GB.

In short, our documents, applications, and systems must be stored in the cloud.

Another very relevant issue today is information security. There are people who are dedicated to stealing important information from your business, taking control of your business computers, and asking for a ransom to give you back control, on the other hand, we have computer viruses that also impact the productivity of your business.

  1. You should always consider installing a security tool from leading vendors like Fortinet, McAfee, and Palo Alto Networks.
  1. Keeping the Windows operating system up-to-date with the latest version and the latest patch is a primary task. If you have Apple computers, you will have to do the same with macOS.

Any small or medium-sized business requires a strong internet presence. It requires a website and participation in social networks.

The page should be simple and friendly with a modern design. Include the information of the company, its products and services, orders, and the contact of prospects.

In the case of social networks, it is important to consider the same content as the website and be prepared to interact with customers, suppliers, and the general public.

In the case of digital communication, it is very normal to use tools such as WhatsApp and Apple Messages, and for video conferences, you can use Zoom and Google Hangouts, these tools work very well and save money and time.

Having a digital model is paramount for today’s organizations. It allows them to be aware of the tasks that must be carried out to transform themselves into a new organization.

Transforming a business in this way is not an easy task and requires a great deal of courage and visionary leadership. Core elements include: migrating from on-premises to hybrid cloud, modernizing financial and operational software, enhancing the customer experience when using technology, and creating a dynamic and flexible work environment. Faced with the need to implement teleworking and other isolation measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have adopted some of these elements, using technology out of necessity.

This forced deviation from what is normal business dynamics may have been the first step toward digital transformation.

These 2 technologies are the newest.

In Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms are used with the purpose of creating systems that seek to replicate the same capabilities as humans. A technology that is alien to us, but that for a few years has been present in our day to day.

Robots are an example. A good example is a personalization of services such as Netflix or Spotify and of course social networks,

It is very convenient to have a digital model and look for an IT consultant. Most likely the advantages will be many, reducing costs and will have satisfied customers in a secure information technology environment.

Sergio Serrano worked as an IT Director for one of the largest bottling companies in Mexico for 30 years.

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