Sales, growth and expansion are the cornerstone of business, but while they often bring increases to profit and greater scope for continued opportunities, a period of growth can also bring challenges.
Many of these challenges are unexpected and hard to manage unless you have a competent and knowledgeable team driving the change and assuring that all the relevant checks and balances are in place.
Depending on the circumstances, a company may bring in a dedicated Change Manager to oversee the key challenges associated with these periods, acting as a single contact for all issues, questions and suggestions. In other situations, this role may not have properly facilitated, meaning Managers or Directors who already have very important and demanding roles are drafted in to make sure things run smoothly.
Unfortunately while these individuals often have great experience within their role, there are many areas of this particular task which extend beyond it.
One of these areas is IT Management.
I should explain that there are three main times that a company grows. Depending on what type of growth a company is going through, their specific technology needs may vary.
- Start-up and investment. Rapid scaling required with low CAP EX.
- Large client acquisition or competitor takeover. High operational demand.
- New offices (UK and worldwide). Legal, operational and cross-border data control.
What are the IT issues associated with growth?
What’s interesting about this question, and the reason we are having a conversation about it, is that often things which seem the most important are the ones most easily solved. There are also obscure issues which seem simple to manage but can be a nightmare if not considered correctly from day one.
Considering IT alone, these factors vary greatly depending on the needs created by the specific type of growth, but they can roughly be drawn into three categories:
On-premise security, hardware and networks (including Cloud networks); Security Management and Infrastructure Protection / Updates; and Consistency of IT approach. Once these three areas are properly outlined, the process of moving through the necessary steps becomes more easily managed.
Making life simple: A rough outline of how to successfully grow your IT
The first things to consider are always practical. The key technologies required to do business must always take precedence over any projects that focus on enhancements. Of course, if this step has already been comprehensively managed, then it can be effectively skipped – but in almost all cases, there are a reasonable number of changes to the way operations happen which mean that practical changes must occur.
For example: When considering a takeover, contracts may need renegotiating with providers. While this is not always the case, many aspects of business, including comms, internet, phone lines, power, software licences, backups, encryption and security tunnel validation must be rebuilt from scratch. Depending on the size of the organisation, gathering quotes and coming to a deal can take more time than immediately recognised.
Second to consider is security. By far the biggest risk to any business which is going through a period of change is their exposure to new security risks. From physical assets and their auditing, right through to designing an effective security setup and removing or mitigating any network weaknesses. This also includes the rollout of IT policies for any new staff.
Any company that is opening new offices abroad needs to appreciate and understand the importance of that country’s data protection laws and any steps they must take to be compliant when trading. Without doubt, the management of Global IT security can get out of hand very quickly if not properly defined and administered by people who fully understand ongoing requirements.
Finally, and most importantly, a consistent approach to setup and control is the single most important factor when pursuing growth. This can be done by properly managing the rollout of HR policies accross new locations and informing users of any immediate actions they need to take, or ensure they take in the future, as well as defining clear responsibility for each aspect of change management so that users can contact the correct support teams in case of issues.
An effective approach to managing IT setups in growth means one thing: Consistency.
Consistent IT means ensuring all equipment is standardised, is setup according to best practices and managed within a structure that best fits the organisation. The foundations of an IT setup are critical to the strength of the end structure. Not only does this approach make total sense and allow any well-trained engineer to solve any problem, but also greatly reduces the time required to do anything IT related within the business.
We think of this approach as the pivotal difference between IT experts and companies who manage changes on the fly. In short, we work to create the structure that best fits the need of the organisation and meet any needs effectively, rather than rushing a change without considering the shortcomings or increased spending required for setups which are not suitable or fit for purpose.
There is also another clear advantage to this approach: Automation
Pushing Automation forwards
The past few years have seen subtle but important changes within the world of technology. One of these changes is the increase in automation in order to improve consistency of approach within a business. For instance: Rather than have to setup devices, install programs and run tests on individual machines, there are now programs which automate these processes to drastically reduce time requirements whilst ensuring total consistency of approach.
In many ways this has given many in the IT world pause for thought – especially considering many administrative tasks will more than likely succumb to automation in the future. For today though, automated processes give IT companies the ability to go above and beyond their previous limitations.
Automation allows IT setups to be tailored to a business far more successfully, and for networks to become totally watertight. This is just one of the ways KJL help our customers rapidly create a powerful IT setup that works for them when moving through growth.
While this period will never be entirely without stress, our services ensure that operations continue unimpeded, at a cost that is well controlled and ensuring an outcome that is second to none.
Thinking about growth?
As a business, we create partnerships with companies who offer great products and services, so that when companies need any of the fundamental technologies, we are able to set everything up fast without compromising on quality or price. We also consult on what improvements and automations companies want to install, making us ideally placed to manage any kind of changes that a business may be going through.
If you feel this may apply to you, please call KJL today, we are ready to help. We support thousands of end users every day and have customers who trust us completely to make sure everything runs smoothly. We guide companies through the steps to make growing pains disappear and fresh opportunities the focus of changes.
In any case we are always willing to have a chat about IT systems, so why not give us a non-formal call on 01268 627111 and we can always send you some more information.