How about some IT resolutions this year?

First thing’s first…Happy New Year! Everyone at Waytime wishes you a successful and healthy 2018!

Today was the first day back for many of us after the Christmas break and if you’ve spent more than five minutes browsing the internet then you’ll have already seen several articles on how to keep your new year’s resolutions. So if you’re planning to lose a few pounds, learn to meditate, have a dry January or exercise more regularly then there’s plenty of help out there to make sure you succeed. But what about a few IT resolutions? And before you all sigh and click back to Facebook or check your Fitbit, hear me out.

Sometimes we stick with things just because that’s the way we’ve always done it. It’s easier and there’s enough to think about without having to change the basics. Maybe you’ve used that book keeping software for the last 10 years and it’s just fine and dandy – it does everything you want and you know how to use it. But is there something out there which is even better? Maybe it automates even more of the process – sending out invoices directly or reconciling with your bank account. Or maybe you have more of your team working remotely but you’re still using the same IT system that you used back in the day when everyone was based in the office. Yes, it still works but is it the most productive way of working and getting the best out of everyone?

So, here’s a question. How would you like everything to work now if you were to start your business again? It’s not a case of throwing everything out of the window and spending a fortune on replacing everything. Think about it for each department – talk to your team to find out what would make their lives easier. Here are a few examples:

  • The marketing team may complain that the rest of the company aren’t spreading the word about your new products and services. How about standardising everyone’s email signature to include your links to the company’s twitter feed, Facebook and LinkedIn pages? Also, add a line or two about a new service that you’re launching with a link to more information on your website. You can amend each person’s signature individually or if this is too much of an administrative nightmare then sign up for something like Exclaimer which will centrally manage this for you. How about adding a small advert to your invoices? There are lots of ways of spreading the word!
  • The sales team all have their own version of the company’s sales material that they show in their client meetings. It may often be difficult to get the sales team in one place but technology can ensure that all their marketing and sales material is easily accessible. If you don’t already use the cloud, try using something like Egynte or Drobox to store all these files. Make sure old versions are removed from the system so that only the latest information is available. Would your sales team benefit from iPads or similar so they can easily demo your products and services to clients?
  • New starters can’t find the information they need. If you’ve worked at your company for years then you’ll know where everything is. But what’s it like for new starters? Can you honestly say that they can jump straight in to the job and understand the way you do things? Spending some time now sorting out your server folder structure will reduce the amount of time wasted when you get a new member of staff. Also, have you thought about writing down the way you do things? For example, this is how we book time-off, this is the process when we get a new client etc.
  • The accounts team think you’ve outgrown your finance system. We’ve touched on this before but it may be worth seeing what other finance systems are available that can make your life easier. As your company grows, wouldn’t it be better to make sure your accounts team is working with the most efficient system so they can handle the increased number of clients, rather than having to add more staff to manage an inefficient system?
  • Perhaps you’re the business owner and you look after the social media. Are you in and out of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter several times a day? Is that really the most productive use of your time? Take a look at applications such as Hootsuite which will enable you to schedule all your posts. Perhaps outsource it completely – but make sure it’s with someone that understands your business otherwise you’ll switch off your followers.
  • Your supplier contracts haven’t been reviewed for a while (or ever). Have you been on the same broadband or phone contract for years? Give them a call to see if there’s a better deal. Or shop around with other suppliers to get comparison quotes. You’ll be surprised what’s available. We’re encouraged to switch suppliers for electricity at home so why can’t we do it at work as well? Here at Waytime, we managed to half our electricity costs last year by switching suppliers. A few forms to fill out and that was it – simple (and no power outages in case you’re wondering!).

It’s easy to continue to do what we always do or carry on paying what we always pay. But make 2018 the year that you take control of your IT and make sure that it’s working for you and not the other way around. Your business will be in a much better position to face the future. And good luck with your new fitness regime!