While the age of information has brought immeasurable benefits to businesses of all sizes in every industry, catapulting growth and streamlining operations, not all businesses have had a smooth sailing adopting the new technologies such as new business software. Small businesses, in particular, still face enormous challenges, in many cases finding these new technologies more of hindrances than they are solutions to their problems.
As you would expect, when things are not going well with technology, running a business in a competitive market quickly becomes more frustrating and expensive than profitable. Here are five main reasons why small businesses are facing technology problems.
1. Poor strategic IT planning
A decade ago, any business manager or entrepreneur with minimal knowledge of computers could invest in computer software and hardware and have an easy time incorporating them into their processes. Today, however, proper implementation of latest technologies in a business require extensive planning and careful selection of the right systems. It does not help much that IT and business leaders are so disconnected. Small businesses have problems adopting new business software into their operations for obvious reasons such as failing to align business objectives with their chosen software before attempting integration.
2. Integration problems
As new technologies are unleashed upon the commercial world, most of them do not play nice with the older applications and systems. In most cases, small businesses using outdated systems are at a disadvantage because there is rarely ever a simple way to integrate their existing data and businesses into the new and better technologies. Problems caused by poorly planned or forced integration almost always lead to wastage and inefficiencies, which hurt struggling small businesses even more. Proper and extensive strategic IT planning is necessary to avoid such problems.
3. Security risks
As business software and tools become sophisticated year in year out, so do hackers, the greatest threats to the well-being of a business. Small businesses do not have huge annual budgets dedicated to protecting their digitized trade secrets, confidential communication, HR records, or customer information unlike large corporation. The sophistication of technology increases the risk of such data landing on the wrong hands, but businesses are forced to invest in the tools and software they need to ensure that such information is protected from hackers and other threats.
4. High initial costs of implementation
New technologies entering the market demand more powerful computer, sophisticated communication equipment, and more importantly, require users who are willing and ready to upgrade their skills to use them. All these requirements have costs associated with them. Therefore, even businesses that upgraded to the latest hardware and software five years ago may find it necessary to buy new and more powerful computers and improved software. In addition, businesses may spend more time and money training their employees to use new business software entering the market today just to update their business processes and systems. Many businesses fail to prioritize these costs during budgeting and that is why they are always playing catchup.
5. Lack of specialized knowledge in technology
Many small businesses do not have an IT department and rarely ever consult a technology specialist in their industry. Hence, they constantly find themselves patching technology-related problems rather than investing in solutions that permanently prevent such problems. For instance, businesses that use outdated software are comfortable with it until something breaks before they consider upgrading to a new version. It is often at such point that they discover they need better computers to be able to run the new business software they just invested in. When the machines are set up and software installed, they discover that they have to train staff to use it.
It is justifiable to say that the tech world is driven by commercial technologies. They are evolving faster than ever before and businesses that catch on sooner have greater advantage over those that still have problems with it. If you are an entrepreneur, you now know which five major technology problems your business should not be dealing with today.