How to Set Up Your Office Technology for Business Growth
September 12, 2022
Office technology has changed greatly over the years as new solutions are constantly created to solve common business challenges more efficiently—and existing solutions are refined to meet ever-changing business needs.
However, the sheer volume of technologies that are available for business offices can make finding the best setup for your needs difficult. How can you narrow down the list of office technologies you need to foster efficient and consistent business growth?
Let’s start by explaining some of the different types of office technologies and some tips for planning out your office tech to best suit your business’ growth goals.
Types of Office Technology
Office technology can mean different things to different people. However, tech for offices can be divided into a few broad categories:
- Hardware. This category covers all of the physical devices used in an office setting to enable productivity. Examples include laptops, desktop PCs, computer monitors, keyboards, printers, tablets, and smartphones. These are the devices that your employees use when at work.
- Software. This includes all of the programs installed on your office hardware that enable your employees to complete work or improve productivity. Software includes things like operating systems, time tracking software, word processing solutions—virtually any program that can be installed and run on local hardware.
- Cloud Technology. Cloud solutions have become nearly omnipresent for modern businesses as a more affordable and flexible solution to meeting technology needs. Cloud solutions come in many varieties such as:
- Software as a Service (SaaS). A solution for accessing software installed on remote, cloud-based hardware. The business pays the cloud service provider (CSP) for access to their software. Here, the CSP manages everything on their end so there’s less work for the business client.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS). Here, the CSP provides remote access to their hardware and an application/software platform that the customer can build and manage applications in.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). This is the cloud solution that gives the most control over the cloud environment to the customer. Under IaaS, the CSP manages the server hardware and storage, but the customer manages applications, databases, and possibly even security. To oversimplify it a bit, you would be “renting” computing infrastructure that you access remotely over the internet.
- Backup as a Service (BaaS). Also known as cloud backup or remote data backup, this is a service where cloud providers give access to data storage solutions so you can redownload mission-critical information in case of a data loss event.
- Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). A service that combines BaaS with a cloud computing environment (such as an IaaS cloud) to take over for a compromised production environment in case of an emergency. DRaaS is often used by businesses where the cost of IT downtime is especially high since it minimizes downtime. However, it tends to be commensurately more expensive than simple data backup services.
Cloud services can be further subdivided into three categories: public, private, and hybrid.
- Public Clouds. These are the types of cloud solutions most frequently used by consumers. These clouds are defined by the use of virtualization tools that subdivide the resources of a single server into multiple “virtual machines” so that one server can be used to fulfill the needs of many customers. Public clouds are often extremely affordable since the costs of managing the server are divided among numerous clients.
- Private Clouds. Unlike public clouds, private cloud environments are dedicated to the needs of a single customer. In many cases, private clouds are hosted on the organization’s own data centers, but some CSPs offer private cloud servers for business clients as well. The primary benefit of private cloud over public is a perceived improvement in security control since one organization owns the whole of the private cloud server and doesn't have to share space with other “tenants.”
- Hybrid Clouds. These are cloud solutions that combine multiple clouds into a single IT environment. This can be any combination of two or more cloud solutions connected via a network (whether it’s a local area network, virtual private network, or wide area network). However, some organizations may specifically mean a combination of private and public cloud solutions when offering a hybrid cloud, while others may be referring to a combination of two or more public clouds (or two or more private clouds). So, it’s often important to ask what kinds of clouds are involved in a hybrid cloud setup before acquiring one.
Tips for Planning Your Office Tech
So, how can you ensure that your office has the right technology to help your business grow? Here are a few tech tips for planning your office’s IT infrastructure for business growth:
1. Consider Focusing on Flexible Office Technologies Like Cloud Solutions
One of the biggest challenges in traditional office IT planning is setting up your IT to account for growth. At least, that’s the case with traditional in-house IT infrastructures. If you build your IT infrastructure to meet nearly exactly with your current needs, then you won’t have room for growth later. However, if you overbuild your IT to leave room for growth, then you may end up wasting money on IT capacity you won’t need for a long time.
So, many organizations choose to use cloud-based IT infrastructure instead to improve their IT flexibility. With cloud-based solutions, you can easily provision more computing capacity if and when you need it. Also, if demand shrinks (such as due to a routine seasonal slump), then you can scale back your cloud computing spend until you need the extra capacity again.
2. Create a Comprehensive IT Asset Map
When planning out your office technology, it can help to have a complete picture of all your existing assets. If you don’t know what’s already on your IT network, then you may find yourself adding redundant resources—potentially wasting money.
Worse yet, unknown IT assets on the network can pose a significant cybersecurity risk. This, in turn, could lead to data breaches that actively stunt your business’ growth and could even result in the business failing. In fact, Business 2 Community reports that “1 in 8 businesses are destroyed by data breaches.”
With a comprehensive IT asset map, you can account for all of your IT assets in your office technology plan. This makes it easier to craft a comprehensive plan that addresses your needs while minimizing waste.
3. Establish Your Desired Outcomes from Your Office Technology
What, exactly, do you want to accomplish with your office technology? Having a goal in mind is important when mapping out which pieces of tech to add to your office. For example, is your goal to improve employee performance by a specific percentage? Reduce time spent on a certain task? Or, are you trying to cut costs?
Setting your goals before mapping out your IT strategy is key for making smart technology decisions that drive results. Simply adding the latest tech tools without regard for your overarching business goals may result in wasted tech budget.
4. Consider Adding Remote Work Solutions
If you haven’t already, it may be helpful to add a remote work solution to your office so that your employees can work from home at least a portion of the time. In recent years, remote office solutions have exploded in popularity.
According to data from PWC, “61% of employees expect to spend half their time in the office.” Remote office solutions that make “work from home” a reality aren’t just a “nice to have” anymore—they’re a business necessity for attracting and retaining talent.
Another benefit of having remote work solutions is that they can help a business expand their potential pool of talent to include those who may live too far away from the office to make the commute on a daily basis. Now, businesses in California could potentially recruit employees from Washington, Virginia, or other out-of-state locations. This could help to make the challenge of finding qualified employees more manageable for businesses in all industries.
5. Periodically Reassess Your Office Tech
After establishing your office technology plan, it can help to revisit it once a quarter or even once a year to review your results and make adjustments.
For example, are there tech solutions in your portfolio that aren’t panning out the way you expected them to? Then you may want to check why they aren’t working and either adjust how they’re implemented or remove them so you aren’t dedicating time and money to something that isn’t generating results.
Alternatively, are there solutions that are working especially well? If so, it can help to investigate why they’re effective and to look for ways to expand on that success. This could mean investing more in that tech or finding supplemental tools that can make it more effective.
Periodically revising your tech strategy can be crucial for maximizing results while minimizing your costs.
Find an Office Technology Partner Now!
Need help making the most out of your office technology? Reach out to IT Proactive today to get started!
We help businesses maximize their IT by providing fully-managed IT services and solutions. Let us handle your IT so you can focus on your business!