Covid-19 (a subset of the Coronavirus) is taking the world by storm. While not much is clear now one thing is for certain. This is having a tremendous impact on businesses. The rapidly evolving situation unfortunately caught many businesses off guard and left everyone feeling a little unprepared. So now what? We can’t go back in time and prepare for this so I think it’s best to ask ourselves this. How can we continue business as regularly as possible? The answer? Create a technology plan.
Create a Technology Plan
First and foremost, it’s important to have a plan of action for any large-scale business changes. For those that have found themselves unprepared and don’t yet have a technology plan, don’t worry. Now is still a great time to make one. Here are the top four critical areas to consider when developing your plan.
- Evaluate Your Current IT Infrastructure
- Security Best Practices
- Moving Forward and Execution
Evaluate Your Current IT Infrastructure
The first and arguably the most important step of a solid plan is to look at your existing business structure and identify the changes that need to be made. Do you have 50 employees in your office that now need to work from home? Maybe you sell products out of a store front that now needs moved online. Whatever your business, identify the changes that need to take place and establish a baseline. This can often be accomplished through an outside IT audit.
The second part of this is to start considering security holes and technology issues you may face whilst making these changes. Perhaps your now at-home workforce doesn’t have a computer to run the programs they need. Or maybe they don’t have a business phone system or access to critical data. Outlining the potential technology issues, you face will allow you to see the bigger picture and start working toward a sustainable plan of action.
Security Best Practices
No matter what your technology plan looks like, or what changes you intend to make, security should always be the top priority. Whether you have sensitive data to protect or not, we recommend creating security best practices that lay the groundwork for all decisions pertaining to your organization’s technology. These best practices allow everyone to understand what’s expected of them to keep your business operating securely. They will also allow you to quickly identify potential security issues and make informed decisions on what you need to do to resolve them. With that information, everyone can work together to implement protocols to keep your business running as smoothly and securely as possible.
Poor communication or too much of the wrong communication are two of the biggest killers of productivity in today’s workplace. We talked about this in greater detail in our 3 Biggest Workplace Productivity Killers in 2020 article. Businesses don’t have time to suffer from poor productivity. Especially in times of emergency. Consider these two areas of communication and plan accordingly. Make sure your plan outlines clear methods of communication as well as frequency.
Communicating Your Plan to Employees
Amid changes especially, but really at all times, your employees want and need to know what is going on. Whether they are working from home or from the office providing them with clear communications will increase their ability to work effectively and decrease stress. It’s critical that you communicate with your employees regularly and make sure everyone understands the business’ mission and vision. Doing so ensures everyone understands the goals and allows them to work toward those goals as a team.
Internal communication can make or break a business. Your employees need a clear and consistent way to communicate with each other at all times. For general communication office solutions like Microsoft Teams, Exchange, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Skype, and the various messengers really come in handy. When looking to boost project communication there are many good platforms to choose from such as Insightly, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and HubSpot. No matter what platforms you elect to use. Make sure your plan creates a method of communication that works for your employees no matter where they are working from.
Moving Forward and Execution
Last but certainly not least a great plan takes into consideration the future. Sure, there may be a ton of changes that need to take place now. But how will those changes impact the business 3 years from now? Perhaps additional systems will need to be put in place to ensure you’re not caught off guard again. Successful technology plans focus on reducing risk and creating strategies that prepare you for whatever life throws at you. No one can predict the future or change the past. Avoid focusing on what you should have done and don’t get too carried away in thinking about what may happen. Instead, create a solid plan that keeps your business flexible to adapt to any situations you may be faced with.
If you get one thing from this article hopefully it is the understanding that it is never to early to prepare. No matter what happens with our current Covid-19 situation one thing is for certain. Events will happen in the future that will continue test our businesses. So only one question remains. Will you be caught off guard or will you be prepared with a technology plan?