Insource, Outsource or Cloud
Building technology strategy for small businesses
With the advent of the internet revolution, technology is no longer a supporting function, it has rather become a driving force for business growth in any sector and of any size. Small businesses in non-technology sectors find it a daunting task to formulate a technology strategy, rather, most do not even have it. Not only are these companies cash-strapped, they have minimal or no internal capabilities and limited access to expert guidance on technology. Not having an effective technology strategy can drain a company’s resources, push them behind the competition, or they even cease to exist. This article provides basic advice for small business owners on where to get started. Below are some factors to consider when creating an effective technology strategy.
Legal and public compliance
Planning technology that keeps the company in line with legislation and regulatory compliance comes before anything else. The last thing a company wants is to become distracting from the core business and go bankrupt by contesting lawsuits. For example, a restaurant company must have planned technology for VAT, PCI compliance and employee time tasks, etc.
Core business and customer experience
Technology that facilitates the core business and customer experience comes next. It is what generates direct revenue and it is the services that the customers pay for. This is the area a business needs to plan and allocate funds for. For example, for a restaurant business to succeed, it must have good technology to take customers’ orders, execution in the kitchen and service. If customers do not get what they have ordered or are late, it will affect the restaurant’s business. While providing free WiFi internet can help improve the customer experience.
Marketing and digital reputation
In order for a company to attract customers, it must not only announce its existence to the customers, but continuously buzz to stay ahead of the competition. Effective marketing is a very critical factor in the success of any business. In today’s internet savvy world, most customers research about any service or product on the internet before purchasing it. This makes it very important for any business to have and maintain a good digital reputation on the internet. This is what one business should plan for the next and allocate appropriate funds. For example, a restaurant business might have a website that informs customers about the restaurant and the menu. For marketing and digital reputation, it must create and actively maintain a presence on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Yelp, etc. Using Internet marketing over traditional marketing channels can be more effective as they enable reaching larger audiences at significantly lower costs.
Operational efficiency and effectiveness
The next thing to consider is planning technology related to improving operational efficiency and effectiveness. Technological investments in operational efficiency can help reduce costs, reduce waste, and significantly improve the bottom line. Wherever the savings achieved through improved efficiency exceed the cost of technology, it is worth the investment. For example, a restaurant business that has technology for inventory and material planning can significantly reduce inventory costs and food waste, thereby directly increasing profitability.
Insource, Outsource or Cloud
Once you’ve figured out what you want, it’s time to plan how to get those options. Most non-tech small businesses have minimal or no internal capacity, and hiring non-core business staff can burn holes in their pockets. So unless the company has existing employees who have technological skills, insourcing may not be a good strategy. Most of the best technologies, both platforms and software, are generally available in the cloud today and should be considered as first preference. From a small business perspective, Cloud is not only cost-effective, but also allows companies to stay focused on their core strengths. Only if something is not available in the cloud can outsourcing be considered.เทคโนโลยีที่ดี
Data strategy and security
After planning what is needed and how to acquire, it is also important to research and plan data storage, storage and security strategy. It is important to have data storage in accordance with state laws of physical location, retention period, encryption standards, usage and other factors. Agreements with cloud service providers must be reviewed before deciding to purchase their services.