Hopefully 2012 was a great year for you and your business and provided a great lead-in to another successful year. As a business owner/manager, many would have taken the opportunity over the Christmas break to assess the position of their business and identify areas for improvement or growth in 2013. However, how many of you also addressed your businesses IT goals in 2013? With technology becoming a cornerstone for many businesses it is important that you take time to identify and address ways in which your business can harness technology to improve performance and client deliverables. It's no longer a desirable aspect of a business, but a critical aspect of a business. Here are some things to consider for 2013 ...
Before continuing, I must stress that this is not an exhaustive list of technologies available, or solutions that MUST be considered - however I hope that it starts you thinking about what YOUR business may need to consider for 2013.
Cloud computing is not a new proposition in IT - with client-server architectures being a stable of the IT realm. However, the services now provided on these systems (Software as a Service (SAAS)) enable businesses to access to software that is run externally. The benefits are that you can purchase systems as required without having to concern yourself with the implementation of the software, management of the hardware or updates to the systems and software.
Are you considering migrating your current software to the "cloud" in 2013? If so, what systems are you considering?
Some key cloud systems being implemented in businesses today include:
- Accounting systems;
- Email systems;
- CRM Systems; etc.
Around the BBQ over summer, many had commented about the importance of ensuring a business website is noticed. However the key to this (in addition to SEO) is in ensuring that there is on-going updates and additions to content on the website as well as marketing to drive customers to you.
For 2013, this may mean that you look towards a blog to add content to your site and add creditability to your offer, as well as an e-newsletter, to keep customers informed of developments in your industry, as well as promote your products and services.
A big part of 2012 was the use of social media in business. Part of your marketing strategy will be to assess how (and if) your business can use any of these platforms to better promote your services and interact with your customers. While social media may not be for every business, it is something that you do need to consider.
2013 may be the year you address the security of your business systems and the security of your company's data.
Late in 2012, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) swooped on a Romanian cyber-crime syndicate believed to be responsible for the biggest data theft operation in Australian history. Essentially, the crime syndicate were hacking into thousands of small businesses (many in Australia) and obtaining credit card details associated with the business or clients of the business. However, while the crime itself was significant enough, what is disturbing is the scale of success that the criminals had as well as the ease at which the gang were able to obtain private and confidential information - suggesting widespread lack of data security in many small businesses. It serves as an important question to Australian businesses: "How are you protecting your company's data?"
In June 2012, there were 5.9 million mobile wireless broadband connection in Australia. This means that mobile wireless broadband is the most prevalent Internet technology in Australia, accounting for 49% of all connections (See Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) - 8153.0 Internet Activity, Australia, June 2012). So as we enter 2013, it is important to address how your business is accessible from mobile devices.
With so many connecting to your business's web presence through a mobile device, how have you catered for these users? Have you taken a moment to evaluate how these users interact with your business on mobile devices?
In addition to this, you also need to address how this affects the way you and your employees operate - do you have tools to allow your employees to maximise their mobile device? And do you have measures in place to ensure that these devices are supported in the workplace?
Do your staff use laptops, mobiles or tablets on the job? Are these issued by your business; or are these owned by the employee? With many organisations considering Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies to allow employees to work with hardware of their choice, businesses need to address the issues surrounding this.
Issues can include:
- Who pays for the device;
- Who is liable for "excess" charges;
- How can the device be secured; and
- What steps need to be taken to ensure compatibility with the business.
This is a rather big topic and we will look to provide more on this in further blog posts.
Do you have any more suggestions for 2013? Please share them with us!
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