With Gil Lee of Business Link
IT is a part of almost every business’ day-to-day life. It enables businesses to work more effectively or take advantage of new opportunities that wouldn’t exist if it were not for the development of new systems and services.
However, whatever level of IT and e-commerce solutions you use, it’s important to get them right. This means that you need to understand the ways in which technology can make your business more effective and how to go about selecting the right system to meet your business needs. You also need to select systems that are capable of growing as your business grows.
The IT function in every business is about capturing, processing, storing and distributing information or data. Therefore the first principle of aligning IT with business is to have a clear understanding of your business itself. Without this it’s difficult to ensure that you’ll get the most out of any IT investment that you make.
Before you consider investing in IT solutions, you need to identify the business objectives you have set out in your business plan. For example you may want to improve customer service and communicate with customers and suppliers more effectively or cut your costs and streamline your business’ operations.
Once you’re clear what your objectives are, you can then decide how technology can help you achieve them.
As well as considering the overall objectives of your business, you also need to consider what you do, and how you do it when considering IT provision. Some key factors to take into account are organisational systems, key suppliers and customers.
Another way in which you can understand your business better is to establish the ways in which it is likely to change as a result of either internal or external factors, such as legislation, regulation and business initiatives.
It is important to understand how these changes are likely to impact upon the business and, in turn, how IT will support such changes. This will ensure that any IT investment you make now is capable of supporting your business and its operations in the longer term.
Whatever your level of usage and the sophistication of your IT requirements, Business Link can help you get to grips with IT and will make sure you have all the information required to get the best IT setup for your business.
For more information on IT and e-commerce or on how to complete a business plan, go to www.businesslink.gov.uk/northeast, or call 0845 600 9 006 to speak to a Business Link adviser.