used with permission from HP Technology at Work
The end of the calendar year is more than just a time for your business to tie up financial strings, address HR matters, and host holiday parties. It’s also a great opportunity to assess your organization’s technological standing.
Here are six things that should be on your end-of-the-year technology checklist to help ensure your organization is at the top of its technology game in 2015 and beyond:
1. Declutter network drives
Do you really need to hang on to sales correspondence with a client that went belly up at the recession’s onset, or marketing collateral from a product retired many years ago? Rid network drives of outdated documents and define a system for organizing important files that will be archived, including those required by law, such as: contracts, leases, permits, licenses, employee payroll records, and financial data. Decluttering your drives of superfluous files will make information more readily accessible to staff, aid decision making, produce cost savings, and create a more efficient, streamlined digital workplace.
2. Take a tech inventory
Count it all—from thumb drives to toner cartridges—and review the performance of key equipment, such as computers and printers. A tech inventory will identify what’s needed, what’s outdated, and what should be serviced or replaced. Specific needs can then be incorporated into the upcoming year’s budget so your business never goes without. Additionally, a tech inventory will help you identify expired or obsolete items you can recycle, such as notebook batteries, cell phones, monitors, printers, keyboards, cables, and more.
3. Assess your tech performance
Is your business technology meeting the needs of today’s demanding, fast-paced business environment? From analyzing your company’s website metrics and other digital outreach efforts such as social media, to examining the role of technology in customer interfacing, make sure your business is leveraging technology in contemporary, pertinent ways. Doing so will power performance and show customers you are a modern, cutting-edge company.
4. Examine security
While cyber attacks on major corporate players capture the headlines, small businesses are no less a target. Make sure your business isn’t a victim by reviewing its security measures. Are your software upgrades and patches up to date? Are you providing employees who work remotely the tools and education to access data in a secure way? Are you using encryption on databases as well as in-transit data? Reviewing your security policy will minimize the threat of costly—and potentially reputation-damaging—breaches.
5. Back up essential business documents and information
It’s easy to tune out such a common refrain, but disasters, whether caused by human nature or Mother Nature, happen. Using the calendar year’s end as motivation, create a back-up system that works for—and can be managed by—your business. From routine backup of key files on an external hard drive to more robust solutions, such as off-site data storage or cloud computing solutions, backing up essential business information helps ensure key files can be accessed in the event of any catastrophe.
6. Explore potential new technological investments
Technology advances at a rapid pace, affording businesses ample opportunity to integrate new solutions capable of heightening efficiencies or the bottom line. Maybe it’s new accounting software to lighten the paperwork load, a novel mobile app that eases scheduling, or new tablets with greater functionality. Investigate the latest tech and decide which solutions can boost business performance. Then, account for such purchases in your 2015 budget. Having a consistent beat on technological advancements relevant to your business positions your organization to win in a competitive marketplace.
Use technology to fuel business
By taking stock of your business technology on an annual basis and recognizing how technology drives performance, your business will not only enjoy the wide range of efficiency and profit-driving benefits that today’s technology offers, but will also signal to employees and customers that you are prepared to tackle the future.