When I was in the information security business, my customers would say that projects were funded first for compliance, second for the needs of the business and third for what was the right thing to do from an IT perspective. This led to a lot of over compliance, but it is an interesting lens when thinking about best practices in technology for small business, especially during these times.
The takeaway is that starting with business drivers is usually the right approach. That said, IT needs to inform the business of what is possible because small business owners may not be aware of enabling technologies that could dramatically improve profitability. Let's take a look at some of the best practices we have discussed and map them to how business owners and IT may think about them.
What is interesting is this pattern of misalignment between the business and IT. Even with backup and disaster recovery, both business owners and IT directors would agree with the importance, but how many have taken a hard look at their full preparedness? Server and storage consolidation are great examples of IT initiatives with immediate benefits to both the business and IT, but due to a lack of understanding of this area, it is one of those enabling technologies that requires investigation on the part of business owners and education on the part of internal or external IT providers.
The uncertainty of our current economy tends to encourage a more conservative approach to expenditure and risk. This is prudent, but it would be a lost opportunity if business owners and IT providers did not engage in alignment activities to seek out those projects that support business drivers in such a way that whatever investment is required, there is a clear path to a positive return. Here are some examples:
- Server virtualization saves over $500.00 per month by consolidating server infrastructure reducing power, cooling and other operating costs
- Proactive service contract eliminates unforecasted $1,000.00 break-fix incident through registry, antivirus and event log maintenance
Some organization who have seen these types of benefits through proactive business and IT alignment may be seen here:
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