It’s that time again where we plan and set goals for the year ahead. But one thing that often gets forgotten or put on the back-burner, is the powerhouse that runs your business. That’s right, your technology stack, a crucial component of your business, should also be considered. Not only from a maintenance perspective, but also to see how you can leverage technology in 2019 to help you achieve your business goals and outcomes. 

Here are 5 things you should do if you want to ensure success in 2019: 

1. Review Your Security – understand your obligations 

Yeah, I know, we sound like a broken record when it comes to security, but it’s something that simply can’t be ignored. Legislation was introduced in 2018 (GDPR in EU and NDB in AU) to protect all kinds of data, which means you are now obligated to take reasonable actions to continually review and improve your security. After all, the information that you store will likely include your intellectual property, financial information, customer details and other kinds of sensitive information. You can learn more about Security Reviews in one of our previous articles. 

2. Integrate Your Systems – Automation is a game changer

A significant cause of inefficiencies in a business is lack of integration between systems. This could be as simple as integrating your CRM application through to your document management system or configuring your phone system to log information into your CRM. Connected systems allow for better automation, which ultimately means lower administration overheads and better profitability. Whilst implementing these changes may mean an initial investment, often the payback is achieved rather quickly. 

There are many companies developing industry specific tools to help bring commonly used systems together in effort to bridge the inefficiency gaps. There are also tools like Microsoft Flow and If This Then That that allow for simple automation with reasonably quick turnaround. Plus, if you’re already using Office 365, you may find Microsoft Flow is already at your disposal and definitely a tool worth taking advantage of.

3. Set Technology Goals – Planning is key 

As technology is ever changing, it is important to plan and stay focused on your technology goals. Work with your IT Team or Managed Service Provider on mapping out the next 12 / 18 / 24 months. Not only will this provide some direction towards the ongoing technology changes, it will also allow you to adequately budget for any expenditure rather than hitting your cashflow unexpectedly.  

It’s also important to consider the lifecycle of any software or equipment which you may have. On average, a PC or laptop lifespan is around 3-years, the same goes for physical servers. This is generally when the warranty expires and you will start feeling a performance lag, or notice the machine simply doesn’t work like it once did. Additionally, vendors such as Microsoft continuously release new versions of software, which means terminating support for legacy versions. For example, Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 are due to be affected by this within the next 12 months. Is your business prepared for this?

4. Understand ‘The Modern Workplace’ 

We all have more things fighting for our attention daily and as technology improves, we are expected to do more in less time. But how can we do that and achieve a work-life balance? Enter stage left, the concept of ‘The Modern Workplace’. Whilst the name sounds a bit cliché, the meaning behind the concept is quite profound.  

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft was quoted saying “Productivity is the engine of human progress – it is what propels our society forward. The promise of technology is to help us get more done, with less effort”.  

So, with that said, the presence of a ‘Modern Workplace’ unlocks the ability to achieve a work-life balance. As an employer, wouldn’t it be empowering to encourage your staff to go home on time and to do so yourself? As an employee, what would that mean to you? More time with your kids or the things you enjoy doing? 

And as I’m sure you’ve figured by now; the Modern Workplace is largely facilitated by a technology stack. You’re able to free up your time by reducing risk against threats, maintain access to up-to-date software and tools, allow you and your team to work from anywhere any time, and increase collaboration and communication.  

5. Become Millennial-ready – are you prepared? 

With an ever-growing portion of the workforce now being millennials, and an estimated 3 quarters of the workforce to be millennials by 2025, it is important to adapt to the imminent landscape change. Exposure from a young age to social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, has introduced a new breed of individuals who are focused on making an impact to the world. But the catch is, the way we’ve always communicated in the past just won’t cut it moving forward. 

Tools like Microsoft Teams and Yammer not only increases your ability to collaborate across an organisation but it also aligns with the changing workforce and enables better collaboration across all parties, even your clients. Yes a few of us old dogs may need to learn a few new tricks, but without adapting to this way of communication you will impact the success of your business. 

So where to from here? 

There are a lot of things to consider about the future, and whilst having the latest and greatest technology is nice, it’s more important to understand how you can utilise the technology to accelerate your business and make your life easier.  

Your systems need to work, but it’s what you do to really enhance your stack that will give you the edge in 2019 and beyond. 

If you would like any more information or a free consultation with a member of the team to learn more about what you can achieve with your business next year, get in touch 

We can’t wait to help you get the most out of your 2019!