Musing 2014 #3 – Sum of the Parts

Today, we will talk about leveraging the overall Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and a change in thinking.

The traditional view of IT (people, equipment, services, etc) has to change. Computers are not a necessary evil, they are a tool. The more ways you can use a tool, the more utility you get from it. So, for example, if you use a computerized accounting system, and you have done so for many years, when was the last time you called up data and looked at trends? Average sale size, most active clients, sales per month, monthly volume trends, etc. here is a goldmine of data just begging to be used.

Now, I acknowledge that my industry is partially to blame. IT people generally have a break/fix mentality and there is a place for that. However, at HardSoft Systems we go a number of steps further and ask questions and suggest technology that moves our clients businesses forward. We don’t wait for a client to ask about technology, we proactively meet with them, understand what their business is and develop technology roadmaps that build up their technical capability in a manner that often creates a competitive advantage for them.

Sometime the advantage is speed. Sometimes it is helping our clients understand their clients needs. Recently we examined the website logs of a number of our clients to understand what percentage of their website visitors were visiting from mobile platforms (Smartphone, tablets etc) in any case where the % of visitors was greater than 10% we talked to each client about making their website mobile friendly. This is not a case of a built it and then they will come, the fact that they already had mobile platform visitors means they are serving the needs of their customers or prospects. In one case, in the first month after the website was modified, our client saw a 15% rise in web sales, and when we re-ran the statistics on web visitors VS sales, all those sales were from mobile devices.

Lets take the two ideas above and combine them. What if we were to find out product sales trends from our accounting system and combine that with promotions on our website. you could either run the promotions when sales are slow to even out cash flow or run them during peak times to increase volume and therefore volume discounts from suppliers. or, lets analyze from our accounting system what our traditional customers purchase together and send follow-up offers to clients who have made website purchases suggesting the same groups of items? The list goes on. has your thinking about IT as a cost centre changed yet?

Having said all this, yes, there is a base cost to providing IT services that are current, flexible, have room for growth, secure etc. But, by having an IT plan, as parts are added/ upgraded etc and by contracting with a company like HardSoft Systems Ltd looking for ways to help you leverage your technology, you can turn your IT cost centre into a driver of sales, a profit centre, an innovation centre, a competitive advantage, or maybe all four.

Call us today @ 1-800-263-8433 FREE and we can get you started.

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