Planning for business growth involves various considerations – financial readiness, operational capacity, and staff readiness, to name a few. However, a crucial component often overlooked is the readiness of your IT systems. The last thing any growing business needs is unexpected IT capital expenses, disruptions, and challenges in delivering your product or service to clients.
Typically, what comes along with increased revenue in your business, is an increase in overheads. Here are areas of IT to consider as you embark on your growth journey:
Accounting Software: Does your current solution meet all your needs? Consider potential limitations such as licensing, transaction limit, and technical restrictions like database size. Also, reflect on its compatibility with both on-premise and hosted systems. Above all, your accounting software should enable you to operate effectively and offer features like easy report generation, KPIs, and business task automation.
Server and Network Infrastructure: Growth can occur faster than anticipated. It’s essential to have platforms that accommodate additional office locations, remote work, and hybrid work scenarios. This applies to IT but other systems too such as telephony, time and attendance systems, CCTV, and internet connections.
IT Support: Evaluate your relationship with your IT support provider. If there are doubts, consider improving the relationship or look for alternatives. If your turnover increases significantly, could they still handle all your requirements?
Cyber Security: A larger business means more data and potentially, greater vulnerability to cyber threats. Investments in cybersecurity measures like firewalls, encryption, intrusion detection systems, and staff training are critical.
Disaster Recovery Planning: The larger your business, the more crucial it is to maintain operations in the event of a disaster. Develop a clear disaster recovery plan, detailing what to do, who can help, and who to inform.
Compliance: As your data grows, continue protecting any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on your network. Remember, fines from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) are based on a percentage of your turnover. The bigger your business, the bigger the fine!
IT Director: Consider engaging a virtual IT director to prepare your systems for growth and objectively consider all these areas. Such an individual is more driven and seasoned in the IT world and can align with your business objectives without the commitment or costs of a full-time employee.
Conclusion: Preparing your IT systems for growth isn’t just a box ticking exercise. It’s a strategic move that could make the difference between seamless growth and disruptive growing pains. So, take the time to think through these areas, seek professional advice if needed, and set your business up for success.