We have a technology columnist in our midst! That’s right, co-president Ben Tiblets was given the spotlight as a guest columnist in yesterday’s publication of the Fort Worth Business Press.
Check out the full article below or visit the FWBP site to view the original publication.
Tech Spotlight: Leveraging technology to get ahead
Once upon a time, big was best for business. Being a big company meant unequivocal buying power, and thus better access to talent and resources; the little guys just made do with what they had.
Today, our country thrives because of small companies that nimbly navigate the business world, and I believe this is in large part due to technology. Previously, tech solutions were scarce and expensive, and thus well beyond the reach of the small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Now SMBs can reap the rewards of the information technology boom, and with so many affordable options in the market, technology can be your secret weapon to compete with larger competitors.
If you’ve been in business for at least a decade, you’ve noticed a monumental shift in the way business is conducted and how we communicate with one another. Email is now the main form of correspondence. Payroll and other critical applications are web-based. With so many documents handled electronically, backup is a requirement and not a luxury. Technology and business are no longer mutually exclusive; in fact, to quote Bill Gates, “Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without talking about the other.” So, while technology has become a mandatory component of business operations, it can also be a tool to take your company to the next level.
As the owner of two IT businesses, I make my living knowing what’s available as well as what’s next, and while technology is my profession, it is also my joy. But you don’t have to be a geek like me to benefit from all that tech has to offer your business. You don’t have to read IT blogs, attend courses or haggle for hours with Dell and Microsoft. Now, as an SMB, you can make one phone call to get the right solution for your business.
Make that call. Exploit technology. A startup can use many of the same tools a Fortune 500 company does. And, unlike a larger enterprise, SMBs can deftly adopt new technology and adapt easily to market changes. So IT can put you in the same atmosphere as a larger company and your smaller size can enable you to easily leverage technology in a way that differentiates you.
For instance, if a large company wanted to give their 1,000-person sales staff that is spread across a broad geographic region the latest tablet computers, it would have to do time-consuming budgeting, resource allocation and preparation to complete the purchase, get the necessary applications loaded, train each user and so on. By contrast, if a small company wants to give the five-person sales staff iPads, it simply purchases, implements and trains within a matter of days. Making a system-wide change for a big business is like a cruise ship trying to turn around while the SMB speed boat zips on by.
Even beyond fun new gadgets, one way technology can help SMBs compete with the big guys is the cloud. Businesses constantly approach us wanting to use the cloud, whose surrounding hype has positioned it as a quick, easy, cure-all solution that allows you to access your data from any device. However, the cloud is not a silver bullet for every business’ IT woes. Any IT solution needs to be customized for your specific business needs and properly implemented by an industry expert. For example, we recently teamed up with the local architecture firm Hahnfeld Hoffer Stanford to leverage cloud technology, collaborating with Dell on a custom virtual server project. Ultimately it saved the architecture firm money and added productive work hours back into the firm’s day, giving employees more design time and the tools to compete with larger firms.
Thanks to technology, there’s never been a better time to be a small business. There are opportunities to take your IT – and therefore your company – to the next level. I advise all SMBs to assess where they are feeling stress, study what the competition is doing and consult with an IT expert to take the right steps to benefit your bottom line. Ben Tiblets co-founded Consuro Managed Technology in Fort Worth, a managed technology services company serving businesses from startups to Fortune 100 companies. Consuro delivers monitoring and support of network-based services, applications and equipment and has offices in San Antonio and San Angelo, with Dallas and Houston locations opening in 2012.