6 Technical Characteristics of Highly Competitive Businesses

Technology is the current that powers all lines of business and corporate functions. As a key business driver IT can position you to outpace competition, head to market faster, and deliver high quality products to new audiences. But when it comes to technology choices, your business investments need to balance price, practicality, and user experience. How do you know if your technology is truly working for your business?

Here Are 6 Technical Qualities of Innovative Businesses:

1. High Availability Workstations

Speed and urgency are critical for today’s businesses. There is no room for downtime when your employees are trying to meet deadlines or respond to customers. The failure of even one workstation can bring your applications, systems – and business – to a screeching halt. The term “high availability” refers to a system or component that assures a high-level of operational performance for a given period of time – typically measured by uptime (e.g., 99.99% availability). Technology solutions such as proactive network and workstation monitoring can track and manage performance around-the-clock to ensure continuous support. Monitoring your environment means that issues are identified and resolved before they become a problem, ensuring they remain highly available – and you remain competitive. Modern technology services that leverage the cloud can get extremely close to 100% uptime, and ensure quick recovery in the event of an incident.

2. Scalable and Agile Processes

If you’re like most companies, one of your goals for being in business is to grow. But if you are cobbling together technology solutions as you add employees and applications, you’re setting yourself up failure. Today’s cloud options offer SMBs a viable option. The benefits of public cloud services begin with their cost-practicality, which can reduce IT costs by bundling features. Cloud services also provide services that scale as your business grows, add employees, or in response to “busy” and “slow” seasons. The cloud’s near-instant delivery method opens up valuable and game-changing capabilities without the resource commitments of a traditional on-premises environment. This agility enables your company to respond quickly to shifting market and technology landscapes.

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3. Responsive and Recoverable

Have you ever tried contacting a business whose systems were down? It can be extremely frustrating and the last position you want to put your customers, partners, or employees in. The most competitive businesses have effective and tested plans in place for responding to and recovering from a disruptive event quickly. A recent Business Wire report found "14% of all business data is not backed up and 58% of recoveries fail", leaving business vulnerable without a business continuity or disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan in place. By leveraging cloud technology and managed disaster recovery services, your business can benefit from a resilient plan to prevent downtime.

4. Mobile and Productive Users

Today’s mobile technology offers flexibility and productivity benefits to your employees. Your mobile staff need convenient access to corporate systems, applications, and information – and require business-class, cloud-based technology solutions to do so. The most competitive businesses are leveraging tools like Microsoft Teams, enabling their employees to maximize their productivity without sacrificing the security of corporate data. A large portion of data breaches involve leveraging weak, default, or stolen passwords, so it’s more important than ever to secure your users’ devices and identities. Thousands of competitive businesses are already leveraging the Enterprise Mobility + Security services in tandem with Microsoft 365 to achieve mobile security.

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5. End-to-End Security

While most small businesses are concerned about risk, many believe they don't store any valuable data. The reality, though, is that SMBs DO store a lot of valuable data. Data storage has been one of the most powerful drivers behind our shift to cloud technology, for both security and efficiency reasons. Now, smaller IT departments have to contend with rapidly proliferating cloud data, and need dynamic tools to manage. Resources such as a Security Operations Center-as-a-Service provide dynamic network monitoring for users, workstations, edge devices, and cloud applications.

6. Big Data

SMBs traditionally struggle with gathering, streamlining, and analyzing data in order to extract valuable business information and set realistic KPIs. Cloud-based data tools, such as Microsoft's Power BI, give businesses of all sizes a streamlined, single view of their most critical business data. An affordable and dynamic analytics dashboard powered by the cloud allows you to monitor the health and progress of your business, create rich reports, and access data remotely. Having this data at your fingertips empowers team members to make quick, confident decisions and lets you collaborate with key stakeholders to ensure that everyone uses the right data. For more information about these solutions, reach out to iCorps for a free IT consultation.

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Editor's Note: This blog was originally published in 2017. It has been updated for accuracy.