IT Competitive Advantage: 6 Qualities a Business Should Have
Technology is the current that powers all lines of business and corporate functions. As a key business driver, it can allow you to outpace your competition. When it comes to technology choices, business investments need to be cost-effective, practical, and user-friendly. But today they can be all that, PLUS allow you to achieve powerful business adjectives. Adopting these six technical characteristics of a highly competitive business can help you achieve the edge you need to leave contenders in the dust:
1. Highly Available
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 server 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 server 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
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 more than 35%. 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.
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. In a recent survey by Forbes and IBM, 78% of surveyed companies were found to face unplanned and unnecessary disruption risks for their critical applications, despite having a business continuity (BC) or disaster recovery (DR) plan in place. Only 28% of all surveyed completed monthly testing. By leveraging cloud technology and managed disaster recovery services, your business can benefit from a resilient plan to prevent downtime.
4. Mobile and Productive
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's Office 365, enabling their employees to maximize their productivity without sacrificing the security of corporate data. Today, 63% of confirmed 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 Office 365 to achieve mobile security.
According to a recent report in Small Business Trends, 43% of cyber attacks target small business; 48% of data security breaches are caused by acts of malicious intent, human error, or system failure; and 60% of small companies go out of business within six months. While most small businesses are concerned about risk, the report notes that most SMBs “feel they don’t store any valuable data.” The reality, though, is that SMBs DO store a lot of valuable data. An IDG survey pointed to data storage as the leading reason businesses will move to the cloud in 2017 for both security and efficiency reasons. Not to mention, IT departments will have to manage 50 times the amount of information, 75 times the number of files and 10 times the number of virtual and physical servers, with only 1.5 times the number of IT professionals to manage it all, by 2020. In addition to the cloud, there is now an abundance of affordable tools available to SMBs to safeguard against growing threats.
You can't measure success without tools to measure it by. SMBs traditionally struggle with gathering, streamlining, and analyzing data in order to extract valuable business information and set realistic KPIs. Enter the cloud. 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.