If you’re taking advantage of the spring to sort out your office, clean up your paperwork, and get your admin in order, don’t neglect your IT systems.
It’s a good idea to review some key areas of your computer systems once every 12 months or so. Revisiting these five crucial aspects shouldn’t take long, but will give you confidence that you’re up-to-date and not spending more on IT than you need to.
1. Examine your IT inventory
Having an up-to-date record of all the IT equipment and resources in your business is useful for all sorts of reasons. Vitally, it helps you keep track of some of your company’s most valuable assets. For instance, are you paying for any hardware or software but not using it? Could you redistribute these resources more usefully?
2. Reassess your IT support
It’s common for smaller companies to have a close working relationship with a local IT support firm, rather than relying solely on IT expertise within their business. If your IT supplier knows your business then terminating the contract to make a small saving is almost certainly a false economy.
However, it’s still a really good idea to reassess your IT support requirements once a year. For example, have you invested in any new equipment or software that isn’t covered by your current support contract? When you run into a problem, does your support provider respond in good time?
3. Revisit your internet service provider
These days, you probably rely on your internet connection almost as much as your electricity supply or the telephone. But unlike the electricity we take for granted, when it comes to business broadband there can be big differences between packages.
If your company has expanded in the last year or started using more online services – like cloud backup or hosted CRM – you could work more efficiently by moving to a faster connection. In any case, as providers often offer deals for new customers it can be worth switching – or at least threatening to – if you’re out of your contract.
4. Evaluate your web hosting
The world of web hosting has changed considerably over the last few years. Prices have dropped and packages have become more powerful, with lots of new apps and capabilities available. This alone makes it well worth re-evaluating your hosting service if you haven’t considered it in a while.
You should also think about how your hosting has performed over the past 12 months. Have you been happy with the service? Are you running close to the storage or data limits? If you start to push these, it’s best to upgrade early rather than waiting till you do finally max out the service.
5. See what your employees think
To really establish how to improve your computer systems, you need to ask the people who use them day-in, day-out. Even if things are running smoothly overall, there are probably ways to make things easier for your team.
Your staff might raise the issue of bring your own device (BYOD), which sees them using their own IT equipment at work. Or it might just be a small thing, like changing your password policy or improving Wi-Fi coverage in the office. These little improvements can make a big difference to productivity.