You can’t spell opportunity without IT

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21Sep2010

You can’t spell opportunity without IT

  • By Andrew Garrett
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In most enterprises, IT is regarded as a pure cost centre. And while that’s true, as most organisations use it, it doesn’t have to be the whole story.

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If you’re doing things right, IT is being intelligently leveraged to help your business do what it does, better, smarter, and more efficiently… ultimately, at a lower cost.

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Let’s say you have to send out a lot of data to your clients, or maybe they have to send it to you. Something like an accountant’s office, transferring accounting system data files, or a design house, sending large graphical documents around the place. You’ve ‘always’ done it by putting the files onto a CD or DVD, and calling for a courier. At the other end, your clients do the same thing. Turn around for an update is about a day… if everything goes right.

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That’s the old school way – while it’s slow, it works, and will keep working reasonably indefinitely – but you have consumables cost, a bunch of staff time, courier charges, significant hassle in tracking movements and shipping and making sure that data is destroyed securely after it’s been used (you do dispose of your client’s data securely, right?)

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There are a few ways you could modernise this process – you could have a drop-box like service on your website, where your clients can log in and upload files, and you get notified that they’re there. Similarly, you can upload files for your clients to download. Or, you could use an on-line service like basecamp from 37 signals, which provides a similar (albeit somewhat more advanced, and with more features) service.

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Exactly what you change to isn’t the point of this post – the point is that there’s a process where you can leverage technology to make it easier and more efficient. While doing so may take a little effort or expenditure to start with, if you get your process right, you’ll recoup the costs in fairly short order, then reap the benefits from then on in.

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IT doesn’t have to be just a cost centre. It should be regarded as an opportunity centre, and there are costs associated with taking up the opportunities. You should be looking for ways to leverage technology to make your business better, not just keeping things running as they always have.

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Of course, if IT isn’t your area of expertise, these opportunities can be hard to identify.

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That’s why Pragmetric exists.

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