Eighty per cent of businesses expect to see growth in their IT budgets this year, with Gartner reporting an anticipated 4% rise in IT spend worldwide — an increase of over $3 billion in terms of market value.
But why is IT spending seeing such a large shift?
Digital transformation drives have accelerated. The COVID-19 outbreak has forced many businesses to evaluate the value of their digital assets, and most are starting to realise they’ve not invested heavily enough in some essential operational tools and systems.
Many businesses now identify a need to increase their IT investment, yet not all will know where their money should be spent. There are so many facets of information technology that can provide benefits for your business, but such a diverse range of options means it can be hard to narrow your choices down.
If you’re looking to invest more budget in IT, where should you start?
The digital landscape is in a state of constant evolution. Blink and you’ll miss the latest and greatest changes. Even your internal IT department can miss subtle but important developments in IT technology — many technicians are too busy maintaining your current systems and ensuring smooth day-to-day operations to have time to look at the bigger picture.
IT consultancy is an essential support asset that can drive your business growth by developing new IT strategy and tech upgrade plans. IT consultancy can take many forms, but it generally involves a formal review and analysis process that investigates your current IT system and advises on next steps.
Those already investing in IT consultancy often do so because they’re looking to find weaknesses and flaws in their systems. While this can be extremely valuable, consultancy can be as equally beneficial for identifying strengths and how these can be leveraged to improve how your business is run.
IT consultancy should be your first choice for investment when increasing IT spend. Through consultancy, you can look to define your most effective IT growth strategy and, therefore, invest the rest of your IT spend in the best places.
Remote and Agile Technology
National and international lockdowns have meant that remote working has become part of the “new normal”. What many people fail to understand is that the “new normal” is not a temporary state but the establishment of a new status quo following a major event.
In this sense, remote working is unlikely to be as temporary as lockdowns.
The majority of workers do not intend to go back to office life following the end of social distancing measures. While it has become common practice for businesses to adapt their systems for remote work in the short term, it’s actually time to start thinking about making remote operations your baseline normality and not the deviation of standard practice.
But where does that leave your business when it comes to IT spend?
You’ll want to think about how you can make your workplace as suitable as possible for remote and agile working practices.
Consider how you can help staff access their work from home, including new hardware, remotely accessible cloud services — or Software as a Service products (SaaS) — tech training and remote IT security tools.
You’ll also want to think about what kind of investments you can make in the office now that remote work is becoming more common. This may include reducing office space and using digital systems like desk booking tools to allow workers to arrange onsite visits prior to attending the workplace, as well as reducing your spend on in-house technology to funnel those costs into remote opportunities.
IT consultancy can be an important tool for identifying how best to roll out permanent remote working practice, which is why it’s recommended that you start with consultancy and work your way forwards.
Bespoke Software and APIs
We live in a strange era of digital technology. There is seemingly a solution for everything you could possibly think of — but, at the same time, there is a huge division in the accessibility of these tools.
You need separate software for everything. There is a serious lack of unification when it comes to technology solutions, particularly cloud tech. And each provider offers a very powerful but specific tool.
From organisational tools and time management applications to finance solutions and data tracking software, everything is available for your business, yet it’s split across many different channels.
Moving between these tools can impact productivity and also confuse your workforce. What would be preferable is a complete ecosystem that combines every tool you own, forming one unified system.
Sadly, this does not exist as a product you can simply buy. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it happen.
Bespoke software designers and API builders can create custom systems for you. Using your current IT products, they can bring together many of your cloud and local services under one umbrella system. These bespoke systems pull all the functionality, features and data of your IT services into a customised system that streamlines everything, from accessibility to visibility.
You’re essentially pooling your resources and allowing your staff to open up one piece of software that lets them do everything from a centralised tool, whether it’s tracking tasks, emailing clients, uploading documents, arranging meetings or paying invoices.
Investing in the best new software systems is one thing, but investing in making sure they fit nicely within your IT systems is another entirely. Custom APIs put your IT networks together like a jigsaw, meaning the whole can become much greater than the sum of its parts.