Every year businesses are looking to technology for ways to leverage their existing workforce to drive more value for their customers, employees, shareholders, and the communities we operate in. Surveys of C-suite executives show some common themes every year, but the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 have pushed companies to focus even more on improving technology. We’ll look at some of the greatest challenges facing businesses and what organizations can do to better prepare their organisation for the future. The subjects we will cover include:
- Data Security
- Cloud computing
- Social media
- Managing Risk and governance
- Regulatory compliance
- Technology integration and upgrading
- Managing Resources
- Managing Infrastructure
- Fraud monitoring
- Business continuity/disaster recovery
Data Security is the Number 1 Challenge Businesses Face
Information security has been the greatest challenge that businesses of all sizes have been facing for decades. It has only gotten more challenging with so many working remotely and cybercrimes becoming a $1 Trillion per year threat to organisations according to Accenture’s Ninth Annual Cost of Cybercrime Study.
There are multiple standards that govern how businesses handle data security including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ISO27001, or the AICPA’s System and Organization Controls standards. Check out our SOC2 blog to learn more about the AICPA standards which are a common requirement for financial organizations. While it’s an accounting certification, it is highly focused on technology challenges in protecting customer and company data from unauthorized access.
While none of these are specific to Australia, your organisation may need to comply with them depending on your clients locations and privacy requirements. Using these standards help protect your business from a data breach and other security risks. Advances in technology software provide better solutions to control access to your systems and protect against cybersecurity risks.
One of the common tools used to help protect data is OAuth 2.0, which grants users access without sharing their password. This is an excellent tool to address the organisational technology challenges. We recently did an Oauth2.0 upgrade for one of our clients and share some of the lessons learned in our Xero Oauth blog.
With the rise of remote work forces cloud computing has become one of the major technology challenges businesses face today. With professionals working on devices outside of the office, a company has to have their tech assets available when employees need them.
If you haven’t already, you should definitely consider migrating to Azure, GCP, or AWS. We discuss best practices when performing an Azure migration of your servers and applications. If you are using multiple SaaS providers, you’ll also need to integrate the technologies together. We have a fun blog telling a story of the kind of benefits you can see when you integrate multiple SaaS providers.
Cloud computing software helps businesses utilize new technology including artificial intelligence, which is useful when processing massive amounts of data. AI can be amazing in the right scenario, but you should read our blog AI or Rule-Based to learn when it makes sense to use AI.
In addition to the accessibility benefits, the major cloud companies consider cyber security to be their most critical focus and spend millions of dollars focused on providing new technologies to protect against a data breach.
This technology provides a business with a variety of new opportunities, information, and challenges.
These sites are a treasure trove of data for businesses, but require specialized skills to leverage the data to effectively communicate with their customers. Providing support through sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and others can increase awareness and customer satisfaction of the business.
Managing Risk and Governance
New technology assists businesses dealing with the evolving challenges involving risk management and governance.
Managing risks requires planning for potential problems like a cyber attack, public relationship nightmare, or other issues that can create major issues for companies. In these scenarios, knowing how to face them is important. having pre-defined responses, dedicated staff to respond, and training are some of the important steps to managing threats to the organisation. Having solutions prepared for the big problems that occur will help minimise big problems enough that you can focus on creating strategy to ensure your team can focus on other tasks that will create a better customer experience.
Governance is a focused on defining, training, and measuring how employees should confirm to rules, norms and actions to stay with-in compliance requirements set both internally and from outside sources such as government regulations or client requirements. Adding new technology solutions to your company can ensure you are measuring how well important policies are being followed. We’ve developed content on Project Scope and Project Governance to explain how we use our digital assets to make sure every technology project generates business value for needs.
Governments throughout the world have regulatory agencies that govern certain businesses. They have been developed because business operations have shown there consistent challenges within an industry that each business needs to follow to protect tech systems, staff information, and client’s privacy.
One of the most common regulatory issues businesses face involving tech is the GDPR, which focuses on protecting consumer privacy when using their devices in Europe. One of the main principles of it is the right to be forgotten, which dictates when a company is required to delete a data from it’s systems. While this law does not apply to Australia, if you do business in Europe, you need the technology, skills, and support to know your tech resources comply.
Another common regulator requirement is financial companies must know who they are providing services so they don’t work with a business that is committing fraud or terrorism. Businesses verifying this manually will find this overwhelming on their staff especially if it is a small business trying to comply. A client used new technology from Illion to verify new customer’s identities. To learn about how this new technology integration impacted their small business check out our Illion blog.
You can find a full list of Australian regulatory agencies here.
Integrating New Technology and Upgrading to New Technologies
Another challenge most organizations must deal with is taking the time to integrate new technology and upgrading their current technology. Many small companies struggle to support this tech need. Even if your tech stack isn’t constantly evolving, it still needs to be updated to benefit from the new security features like security patches. The easiest way for small businesses to support these routine upgrades is to hire a managed service provided. We have written many blogs discussing aspects of integrating and upgrading new tech.
To learn more about integration and upgrading technology check out some of these blogs:
- Is High Quality Software Worth the Cost?
- Yodlee Integration
- How much does it cost to develop High Quality Software?
- Why Custom Software?
Managing resources is still a challenge for many small organisations. Because all organisations have a goal of making enough money to continue operations, the process of pre-planning, scheduling, and allocating your resources to maximize efficiency will always be a challenge for companies of all sizes. The best way to address this is often with technology. Small businesses can’t always afford a full-time development team so building a relationship with the right managed service provider is crucial to managing resources properly. To learn more about managing tech resources check out the following blogs:
Managing infrastructure is another way companies struggle to achieve success with new technology. Small businesses and larger organisations have vastly different struggles managing their tech assets. While small businesses might not have the resources they need to truly leverage their tech stacks, larger organisations may suffer from the overuse of tech, causing many of the features to go unused. Let’s discuss approaches for each further.
Managing Infrastructure in a Small Business
A small business should focus on developing an infrastructure that will work for them, but can grow with them. They will frequently be using out of the box scenarios that charge low monthly subscriptions. You might not have any on-site servers or in-house developers, and use a fairly static website. During this time, you’ll want to develop a plan for when to grow your tech stack and how to leverage it to provide better results.
Here’s a list of commonly used resources to use until you are ready to start focusing on integrations and custom development:
- Screenshot Monitor: Great for tracking remote employees hours.
- Xero– Great for invoicing and accounting. We highly recommend you work with an accountant and developer when setting up.
- Google Workspace (Formerly Gsuite)– Gmail, Meet, Chat, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.
As you grow, you’ll find that you start paying more monthly for your tech assets and some of them won’t truly suit your needs. Once it becomes more cost effective to be transition custom software or you need more complex integrations, you might want to hire a custom software development company to manage your technology assets. This will let you easily adjust your budget as you grow without hiring and laying people off. We normally suggest having revenue of $1m AUD ($5k/mo) before including ongoing development as part of your strategy.
Managing Enterprises and Other Organisations
Enterprises and companies with more than 50 people will normally utilise a variety of SaaS providers for different parts of the organisation, but might need assistance leveraging the information they have into results. Some reasons that enterprises might want to increase their investment in development include:
- Lack of Integration
- Workflow Improvements
- Regulatory Changes
- Database Indexing
- and more.
The focus at this level should be increasing efficiency and reducing costs.
Monitoring for fraud is crucial to protecting your business from security risks, lawsuits, loss of business licensing, and loss of customer confidence. Fraud may include money laundering, phishing schemes, or identity theft. Advances in technology can help your organisation catch fraudulent behavior quicker and avoid some of the consequence associated with fraud investigations. The Commonwealth Fraud Prevention Centre has a great website that helps you learn more about protecting your organisation against fraud.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
Covid-19 has really emphasized the importance of business continuity and disaster recovery. The emphasis should be on protecting your business when natural disasters occur. This should be driven by the executives in the organisation and implemented through all departments. Including a Chief Information Officer in executive level decisions is crucial for planning because they have experience working with technology and can provide more practical ideas of how to accomplish the disaster preparedness goals with technology. If you don’t already have a CIO, check out our blog Every Major Corporation Should have a CIO on the Executive Team.
We covered a ton of information during this blog. We hope that it gives you some ideas how to improve your organisational operations so you can evolve as new technology becomes available. We will continue updating this as a resource for strategies that can be implemented to drive your company into the future. Make sure to follow us on YouTube, LinkedIn, and our blog to keep up to date with the new technology strategies we adopt to drive our clients’ businesses into the future.