We can’t avoid spending money on IT.
 
We can, however, avoid spending money on IT that isn’t properly supporting and advancing our business objectives.
 
Here are the top 3 signs that you aren’t getting the best value out of your IT spend.
 

1. Your CEO, COO, or CFO is spending an inordinate amount of time overseeing your IT team’s work.

In many cases, this takes the form of:

  • Tracking each and every support ticket to make sure problems actually get resolved.
  • Making their own recommendations since the team hasn’t offered any proactive guidance.
  • Actually redoing the IT team’s work themselves since it wasn’t done properly.

While some level of involvement in IT is normal (and necessary to maintain alignment), babysitting is not; this person should be able to focus their efforts on their core duties and on advancing your growth – not riding herd on your IT team (whether internal or external).
 

2. Your younger employees are frustrated with your systems, and some have even created their own workarounds to be more effective.

Contrary to what some might have you believe, your younger employees don’t whine for the sport of it. The reality is that they’ve been immersed in technology their entire lives, and they have certain expectations when it comes to the tools their workplace has to offer.
 
There are generally two sources of their frustration:

  1. Lack of mobility.
  2. Ineffective collaboration or communication.

As you can imagine, it isn’t just the younger folks who would benefit from these things; the fewer barriers in the way of your team’s productivity, the better. But this is especially important when it comes to attracting and retaining millennial employees, and preventing them from creating their own (often unsecure) solutions to these problems.
 

3. You’re not confident that you’re as protected from a cyberattack, and you certainly don’t know how you’d respond to one.

It’s smart to have some level of paranoia when it comes to your network security; as I’ve mentioned before, none of us will ever be “safe” from a cyberattack.
 
But you should have a sense of the tools that are in place to protect your data. Your staff should know what a malicious email looks like so they can avoid falling for scams or accidentally downloading malware. You should have a robust backup solution in place, and be confident that it’s working. You should have policies to address where your data is allowed to go, and what the response will be if it gets into the wrong hands.
 
If you don’t, your level of risk is likely much higher than it should be.
 

My recommendation: Don’t settle

If any of these situations resonate with you, I urge you to take action. Have a serious conversation with your IT team so they can step their game up. If they don’t rise to the challenge, make a change.
 
Just don’t let ‘tech’ become a four-letter word; if done right, your technology can make a significant and positive impact on your company’s productivity, effectiveness, morale, and revenue.
 
But sometimes it needs a little elbow grease.
 

 
As originally published in the American City Business Journals
 

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