IT Planning for the Small Business

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IT Planning for the Small Business

You’ve come up with the business plan, you’ve got your financing, you’ve set up your company, you’ve found your office space and you’re raring to go. What are you going to do about your IT needs?   Unless you are an IT savvy businessman setting up your own business, you probably haven’t thought much about how you are going to solve your IT needs.

Having set up several small businesses, I have found myself confronted with the IT dilemma. How am I going to make sure I have the right software and hosting for my business? To get a greater understanding of the problem, I decided to interview business owners to see how they resolved their IT needs. The results were somewhat interesting.

Only large scale enterprise with access to IT professionals and resources have the ability to come up with a structured solution for their IT needs that address both software and hosting issues.

Most small businesses are focused on trying to get their businesses off the ground and the IT question usually comes as an afterthought. Business owners tend to resort to a piecemeal approach, buying software on an ‘’as needed basis’’ without any thought as to whether the software purchased can be integrated. There is very little research done on software packages, which can lead to the purchase of licensed software when there may be a free open-source solution, which would prove cheaper. In addition, it may prove costly to add and/or integrate software in the future as this will often require the expertise of a software professional. You have no clear picture of your business activities, which makes it difficult for you to make the right decisions as your business grows.

Using an integrated business solution, you have a complete tactical overview and management of your daily operations:  accounting, inventory, ecommerce, human resources management, billing and invoices, etc., all integrated into a single solution with modules which are designed to work seamlessly within your business environment without costly integration or development fees.

Looking at software support issues, when purchasing a licensed package, there is usually a support package included. For example, most software packages include a basic software support package but additional integrations will require you to purchase additional support, which may prove expensive. Utilization of open-source solutions ensures continual improvements from the global community, with all improvements being approved by committee for each solution. These open-source solutions have considerably lower total cost of ownership over proprietary software.

There are also hardware and infrastructure considerations to take into account. As your employee base grows, so do your infrastructure and support requirements. Do you have the infrastructure to properly support your users? Do you have the capability to properly support your technology needs?

Turning to hosting, most small business will have an email program, a website, maybe eCommerce but often these are not integrated. With an open-source suite of applications, all of your software packages are integrated in one suite, ensuring that your data is synchonised and accessible from one platform.

Another challenge for the small business owner may come when selecting a hosting provider, unless they are tech savvy. How much memory do I need? What are my storage requirements? How much bandwidth do I require? The small business owner is often at a loss when trying to determine what his needs are. This situation is further complicated as his business grows.

In today’s business world, technology is an integral part of practically every business process. A failure to plan your IT needs properly can lead to expensive setbacks as your business grows. You’ve carefully planned every other aspect of business, so why not plan for your IT needs from the get go?  At FullStripe we can help – contact us today for your free no obligation consultation.