What are the Biggest IT Mistakes Companies Commonly Make?
As the need for better, more sophisticated IT strategies has grown over the past few years, it seems as if more and more businesses are making poor mistakes, oversights, and errors. Unfortunately, the ramifications of these mistakes aren’t always immediately obvious (which can inflict long-term damage). Being able to identify these mistakes sooner may allow your company to get back on track.
Stop! Are You Making These Mistakes?
Have you ever been trapped in your office with a fly? You sit at your desk and try to concentrate, but the constant buzzing distracts you. So you roll up the nearest newspaper and enter into attack mode. However, as soon as you get close to the fly, it zips off in another direction.
It isn’t until you change your strategy and slowly approach the fly that you’re successful. As soon as you get a few inches away, whack! Despite having 360-degree eyesight, the fly never saw it coming.
You might find this phenomenon confounding, or write it off as the fly being dumb, but you really aren’t all that different from the fly.
If you’re a parent of a young child, or have raised young children in the past, then you know how slow, yet fast they grow up.
From day to day, nothing seems to change. You feel like you’re stuck in these ruts and cycles where the progress is virtually nonexistent. But then you look up and significant time has passed. You look back at a picture, video, or memory from three months, six months, or a year ago and can’t believe how much your child has changed.
The funny thing is that, if you were to take a 10-day vacation away from a 9-month-old infant, you would return and immediately notice how grown they look. Yet, when you’re with that baby for every second of every day, it takes you months to realize that anything is different.
Both of these illustrations – sneaking up on a fly with a newspaper and raising a child – show just how powerful the concept of incremental change is. When something happens suddenly, it’s easy for a fly, a human, or anything else to notice. When the change is incremental, not so much.
The problem is that many modern businesses fail to give the proper attention to their IT departments, systems, and processes. They keep one eye on things, but because of the way in which technology gradually evolves, they never really notice things are changing. As a result, issues that should be isolated and corrected become big mistakes that hurt the organization’s ability to be successful in the future.
Every company has its own issues – and you’ll have to step back and conduct your own comprehensive analysis to understand which problems plague your organization – but here are a few of the common IT mistakes businesses unknowingly make.
1. Repeating Last Year’s Plan
In years where it seems like most everything has stayed the same, businesses will often implement the same IT strategy from the previous year. Sure, they may tweak a couple of small aspects of the plan, but most everything remains.
Even if your big-picture objectives are consistent from the previous year to the current year, the environment in which you’re executing has evolved. A failure to respond to this changing context will reduce the efficacy and relevancy of your strategy. Make sure you revisit the IT strategy and implement changes to avoid becoming obsolete.
2. Failing to Properly Budget
Overspending is a problem that most Americans deal with in their personal lives. Nearly half of all consumers say their expenses are equal to or greater than their income. For consumers in the formative 18-to-25 range, that proportion is an astonishing 54 percent.
Budgeting inefficiencies and oversights in our personal lives often spill over into how we manage money in our businesses. This may be evident in your IT department.
A failure to properly budget IT expenses might seem like a small issue, but it can have major ramifications down the road. According to Marcus Turner of Enola Labs, the best way to ensure you come in under budget – or at least have flexibility throughout the year – is to budget resources at 80 percent allocation. This 20 percent cushion leads to agility.
3. Waiting for Something to Stop Working
As a culture, we’re highly reactive. When something goes wrong or stops working, we step in and try to find a solution. The problem is that this approach doesn’t translate very well to IT. Waiting for a server to go down before you fix it can prove catastrophic.
If you have a reactive maintenance strategy, you’re playing with fire. Thanks to today’s suite of predictive solutions and artificial intelligence, it’s often possible to know when something is going to happen before it happens (or at least when it’s likely). Make sure you’re utilizing these resources to adopt a proactive approach.
4. Ignoring the Human Element of Data Security
You’d have to be totally out of touch with reality not to understand the need for investing in advanced security solutions, updating your protocols, and safeguarding your organization against major cyber threats. But it’s not the technical side of data security that most organizations get wrong. It’s the human element.
“Although security programs can do most of the protection work for you, they still require a human element,” Digital Edge explains. “Thus, it is vital that you train all staff and users on how to correctly use the systems in place. Without proper training it can be easy for data to be misplaced or incorrectly stored, causing massive issues for your company as this can easily create lost data.”
Get Your Business Back on Track
Because of the way incremental change works, you might have trouble identifying these exact mistakes in your organization (even after briefly reading about them). If you’re afraid that you’re blinded by your own biases and experiences, consider bringing in an outside consultant to look at your processes and identify problem areas that need to be addressed. Your business can recover, but something needs to change soon!