A number of small to medium size businesses are simply scratching the surface of going digital because they consider it to be too expensive or they just don’t know what they don’t know.

At SAP’s recent TechEd conference, Steve Lucas noted that regardless of industry or company size, businesses are going digital or being left behind. The fact is more than 50% of the companies on the Fortune 500 List from the year 2000 no longer exist. The average age of companies on the current Fortune 500 list are 15 years old, meaning half of them are younger than that. There are a number of reasons why companies have seen such a quick rise and success and one of the primary ones is the adoption of the Digital Age approach to business.

blockbuster not going digital

In 2004, Blockbuster had nearly 60,000 employees in over 9000 stores. In a short 6 years, they filed for bankruptcy protection. Unlike Netflix, Blockbuster did not evolve with the times and the outcome was predictable yet preventable.

Going digital is no longer an option; it’s a necessity, especially with the growing work force of millennials. Millennials don’t just expect it to be in place already but if it is not then they aren’t even considering working for you.

This brings the simple, yet complex, question to the forefront – what is your organization’s digital plan?

Here is a 4 part guide to understanding how your organization can plan to go digital:

Is your Infrastructure Ready?

This one is simple to assess; legacy hardware scales poorly and slows deployment of applications, affecting your end users experience and ultimately affecting performance. If you are a late- adopting organization that is still using Windows Server 2003, have any workstations using Microsoft XP or are using applications that are unsupported by the providers, then your infrastructure isn’t ready to be the backbone of your digital plan.

Traditionally, infrastructure upgrading would be a capital cost that would take a large investment, but this is no longer necessarily true. There are several viable options: You don’t need to purchase your hardware, or you can consider a migration to a hosted environment. Another option is to deploy a cost-saving converged infrastructure, or simply upgrade the existing hardware to the latest versions.

DTM Server Room

Establishing and assessing an organisation’s existing I.T. structure is paramount to project success.

Additionally, there are a number of leasing options available through vendors and IT Services companies in your area, all of whom should be able to assist in assessing the best path for you.

Your organization can then upgrade their environment, using any of the above approaches, for a predictable flat monthly fee that hits your operational costs and makes transformational changes financially feasible for SMBs.

Mobile workforce

New Advances in VDI now has the capability make your workforce even more mobile and without traditional compromises.

Enabling the Workforce

Today’s workers are mobile and a number of companies have adopted the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) methodology, but that alone does not make the team digital. Unified communications and adoption of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) are the leading areas of investment for SMBs to enable their workforce. Gartner’s 2014 annual CIO survey shows that 65% of SMBs are investing in VDI and 58% are either piloting or adopting a unified communications solution.

The workplace is now everywhere and you can increase productivity by supporting ubiquitous access, seamless communication and high performing applications, all without jeopardizing security.

Protection

Security is easily the most common organizational concern across all businesses and it is directly linked to the digital age of doing business. Managing the emerging risks created by the increasing number of applications and the shift to mobile and cloud is making it harder to protect an organization’s interactions across multiple devices and locations.

Your plan needs to have a proactive approach to protection, one that is integrated with your infrastructure and allows you or your IT Services provider the ability to manage the company’s risk by having an end- to- end solution.

Empowering your Data

The volume and complexity of data are increasing exponentially and those organizations that are embracing the concept of empowering their data to assist their organizations with delivering better customer experiences and identifying growth opportunities will be set up for success. Gartner’s 2014 annual CIO survey reported that only 23% of small businesses are currently deploying analytics applications.

Data- driven decisions are becoming more accessible as software evolves to allow historically fragmented data to be collected and shared in one single view, versus the common methods that are time- intensive and filled with manual efforts just to get the data combined for analysis.

Plan Ahead

Let’s be clear, no one should attempt to do all of this at once. There is a high possibility that some of these steps are partially or completely done and it’s a matter of integrating the rest of the steps into a plan. However, if you are not currently planning to be digital, it is suggested that you start planning and take the time to collaborate with your business leaders and construct a vision of what you want the future to look like. Then engage the experts that can assist you in getting there.

DTM Systems specializes in providing meticulous and practical I.T. solutions for businesses of all sizes and industry. DTM is the only I.T. Service provider in BC that provides expertise in mission critical data, ERP deliverables, consulting, managed services and project management. Get a complementary baseline assessment by emailing info@dtm.ca or filling up a contact form.

3d27821  Tyler Cairns has been a business professional in the technology world for 15 years.  Through the years he has had a wide range of experiences that include working with the world’s largest retailers, government organizations of all sizes, non-profit organizations, education institutions and local small to medium-sized businesses. Tyler’s desire to have his customers plan for failures to help solidify their success, has resulted in his clients being able to address their business needs ranging from the basic levels of infrastructure to the complexities brought forth by cloud or adopting “as a service” solutions and everything in between.

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