And like that, we are halfway through the year. And I think we all can say that 2021 is shaping up to be a lot different than 2020.
The middle of the year is the perfect time to review your technology.
And while it’s easier to focus only on daily operations, a solid Technology Review will help prepare your business for 2022.
Not to mention this process is helpful if you are experiencing the following:
Your tech should be growing alongside your business. And if you’re not growing, you can use this time to see if your tech is behind the lack of growth.
Unevenness in Performance
If your business’s performance is hard to pin down, then perhaps there are some technical holes.
New Compliance Regulations
Now is the time to make sure your business is up to date with regulatory requirements.
Uncertainty Surrounding Cyberattacks
Could your business withstand a cyberattack? Or are your cybersecurity policies up to date? If unsure or the answer is no – it’s time to review your cybersecurity tools & policies.
So, what should be on your agenda during a Mid-year Technology Review? Today, we’re going to go over just that. But first, let’s talk about who should be at this reviewal meeting.
Who’s at the Table?
During a Mid-year Technology Review, it is vital to pull your fellow directors and senior staff together. But it’s also critical to have who manages your technology at the review, whether it be an in-house CIO or managed services provider.
By pulling together different departments, you’ll get a better picture of how your technology is currently serving your business and what may need to change.
Now, let’s go over what topics should be on the agenda during Mid-year Technology Review.
Before diving into strategies, start with evaluating your business’s core operations. Ask yourself how your organization effectively delivers your product(s) or service.
To get you started, here are some key questions to ask about your products or services:
- How does your business make a profit and payroll?
- How does your business meet the needs of your customers?
- Have the needs of your customers changed from last year? If so, you may want to conduct a customer and market analysis.
- Which of your products and services are succeeding? Which ones aren’t performing as well?
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis
The next step is to conduct a SWOT analysis with your team.
Take a moment to think about your business strengths and make a list of your top ones. Your strengths could be customer service, pricing, quality, etc.
Then, repeat the process but for your business’s weakness. Weaknesses could include low client acquisition, an inefficient distribution network, or low company productivity.
Now, it’s time to think about your business opportunities in the next half of 2021. Look at your target market and think of ways that your business could serve it. These opportunities might include new partnerships, joining a chamber of commerce, or attending a virtual trade show.
Lastly, make a list of threats against your business. These could include your competition or external sources, such as COVID-19 or cybercriminals.
For example, let’s say you manufacture cups for the Mid-Atlantic region. This year, a competitor opens a new headquarters in your area. That competitor is now an economic threat.
Once you’ve made your SWOT analysis, it’s time to consider your technology.
Technology meets SWOT
It is impossible to move forward if your technology is two steps behind you. Once you review your SWOT analysis, you will be able to identify your Q3 and Q4 goals. The next step is to develop a technology strategy that will help you achieve these goals.
Consider this example:
You’re at the start of your business journey. The company you founded is in its early stages, and you’re wearing a lot of hats. For now, you must handle your entire company’s accounting.
You know that handling accounting tasks is not efficient for you or your company.
And this is where a technology strategy comes into play. To improve your accounting process, you need two things: better accounting software and an employee to help with the task.
Likewise, a technology strategy can also be more customer focused.
For example, to keep up with your competitors, you may need to buy better tech. Let’s say you run a restaurant, and your competitors use online reservation platforms. To attract more customers, you might want to consider purchasing that technology.
Take Inventory of Your Tech
You can’t conduct a Mid-year Technology Review without knowing what your current setup is.
Make a list of all the technology components that your small business currently uses. Then, note whether you own or lease the item. Also, make sure you list how old it is and whether it is under warranty.
If your organization must meet regulatory requirements, then compliance discussions must be a part of your Mid-year Technology Review.
And because the compliance landscape is constantly changing, you should also check to see if there are any new requirements that your business must fulfill.
To see where you stand, I recommend conducting a gap analysis. Like a roadmap, a gap analysis will determine how close you are to meeting the compliance requirements. It shows you where you stand in comparison to the regulatory framework. It’ll identify compliance holes that need fixing within your business.
Cybersecurity & Policies
What would happen if your business falls victim to a cybersecurity attack? Could you weather the storm?
Sadly, cyberattacks on SMBs are at an all-time high. And if your IT provider/department isn’t talking cybersecurity with you, head for the hills.
At the bare minimum, your provider should offer firewalls, spam filters & antivirus solutions.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
To be secure, you also need security policies, vulnerability assessments, security awareness training, and the list goes on and on.
In addition to hardware, you should also discuss what your current cybersecurity setup is. Here are some questions to get you started:
- What security solutions do you use? Are they up to date?
- Do you have cybersecurity policies in place? How old are they?
- Do your employees understand those security policies?
- Do your employees receive cyber training? If so, how often?
If you feel like your IT prevents your business from succeeding, it’s time to ask for help.
We at MRW Systems have the right tools to help you move forward. Give us a call today at 410-751-7111 to see how our IT business solutions can help you meet your business goals.