The technology habits of highly effective, successful businesses:
l Standardise your technology.
Choose a hardware brand that is well known and stick with it. Ask for a three-year warranty. It costs more, but is worth every cent. Replace the hardware every three years. If you use Microsoft software, have a look at their Open Value Subscription Model. You also get upgrades free of charge;
l Control your technology environment.
If possible, remove administrative rights from all computers on your network. The less access and freedom your users have to system settings and the ability to instal applications, the fewer problems you will have. Removing administrative rights also prevents unwanted applications being installed while connected to the Web. Ensure that administrative passwords are carefully guarded;
l Automate where possible;
Ask your network or IT support company to automate as much of the routine stuff as possible - virus updates, patch updates and so on. Make use of proactive monitoring and alerting tools. Ask your network about this. It can save you and them a lot of time. Make sure the success or failure notification of your back-ups is automated. This is critical because if you get it wrong it can put you out of business;
l Finance or rent IT.
When adopting best practice and the capex looks scary, finance it. Over three years it is a lot more affordable. Financing or renting IT enables you to allocate your cash into your business;
l Focus on real business and strategic value.
Get the basics of standardisation, control and automation right and train your staff to use the technology properly and optimally.