Monthly Archives

May 2019

How to Accurately Assess Your IT Spend

How to Accurately Assess Your IT Spend

By | Insight

How do you know if you are spending the right percentage of your budget on IT? It can be a tricky and deceiving line item to manage. Many companies don’t consider the risks associated with not having a comprehensive IT infrastructure in place. But how do you know what you need? Your company’s IT budget is affected by multiple variables, including protocols, compliance, current technology, and business needs. Having a complete understanding of your industry standards, current IT requirements and spend is a great place to start.

When allocating the IT budget, business leaders need to balance the requirements along with the overall needs of the business to evaluate the opportunities for digital transformation for both long term results and spend.

Today, technology is not just a business enabler. It’s a competitive differentiator. It’s important to make sure you’re at least keeping up with peers in terms of IT spending, if not seeking ways to gain an advantage through technology.

A study by Deloitte Insights found that companies spend on average 3.28% of their revenue on IT. The study also found that of high-performing companies (those that consistently outperformed the S&P), 57% increased their IT budgets from 2016 to 2017.

Benchmarking your IT spend relative to peers is a valuable exercise to make sure you’re not falling behind. A Deloitte study illustrates IT spending as a percent of revenue, by industry.

Enterprise IT has been highly resistant to change and thus forces companies to decide between acting quickly to deal with elevated risk or moving slowly to mitigate risk. But when the cost of a security breach can cost more than the value of your company, there is simply no choice but to evolve. But where do you start?

We’ll help answer some common IT budgeting questions and share insight on how to approach your IT budget.

What are you currently spending on IT?

To first understand what you need to spend you must know what you are currently spending. Many companies to do not have an exact figure on the true cost of their IT. To begin, do a thorough analysis of your IT expenses.

Your IT budget should include everything from computers and servers to software, apps, cloud services, cybersecurity web hosting, maintenance, telecommunications, audiovisual equipment, outsourcing, consulting, travel, and of course, your IT staff.

Need help evaluating the total cost of IT to your business? Contact us here for more information and a free diagnostic evaluation for qualified businesses.

Where should you focus your IT spend?

The focus on your IT spend will depend on your industry. In years past, businesses primary spend was on automating back-end systems and maintenance and upkeep of infrastructure. Today, technology investments need to align with your business goals. Your IT is entwined with every business function and has the potential to increase revenue, performance, and competitive advantage. And while there is no right place to spend your IT budget, the most common spend is on data center systems, enterprise software, devices, and communication services.

Are you comfortable with your level of IT risk?

Cybersecurity is a significant and growing IT issue. Just look at the news. Every day you can find a large company that has experienced a security breach. Most executives have a poor understanding of the risks. Do you know all of your risks?

You need a comprehensive system for managing IT risk that assesses not only the threat and cost of an attack but an understanding of how you will restore your data and get your business up and running again with minimal downtime.

Does your IT roadmap reflect the full potential of technology to improve your business?

Technology can increase revenues, reduce costs, and lower risk. By updating and staying abreast of technology advancements and mitigating threats, companies can dramatically improve their overall business outcomes.

Ultimately, the strategy that emerges from a thorough IT assessment and integrated plan should place your business goals at the forefront. An intensive, well thought out IT plan is not merely a revised annual IT budget, but a tactical plan that should provide a competitive advantage for years to come.

Spending your IT budget wisely entails IT not only provide an infrastructure to serve data but also improving your overall business. Understanding your current IT spend and how best to leverage IT for business success is key. If your company doesn’t have internal IT staff or a CIO that can evaluate solutions, consider hiring an IT Solutions Provider.

Vulnerability At Work. Your Biggest Advantage?

Vulnerability At Work: Your Biggest Advantage?

By | Inspiration

Last year, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavalier’s had a panic attack on the court. He had been struggling with the loss of his grandma and the grief overtook him. Instead of playing tough or trying to hide the fact that he was hurting he stood up proudly and announced, “Everyone is going through something.”

Kevin Love showed the world how courageous he was by simply embracing his vulnerability, something many of us are often afraid to do. But why is this?

Society has taught us that being vulnerable is a sign of weakness. It exposes our insecurities, incapacity, and fears. It is like laying all your cards on the table during a poker game, we fear that we are instantly at a disadvantage. But a new wave of thinking shows that embracing vulnerability is actually crucial to success, especially in the workplace.

Jason Fordu, CEO of Calyx, states, “Growth, both personal and professional, can only happen if you are vulnerable. It is when your team is open and honest that true innovation occurs.”

By creating a work culture where vulnerability is feared, you’ve created a culture where creativity and innovation will falter. It takes great courage to be vulnerable and have uncomfortable conversations with colleagues – but it is through the discomfort that magic can happen.

Ed Grauel, Calyx’s COO, noted that their core values – “Challenge everything. Do what’s right. Own it.” – have created a culture that embraces vulnerability. Employees feel open to express their thought and ideas, which Calyx has greatly benefitted from.

Increased Trust

Trust is a key part of a collaborative workspace, yet many struggle with trust in a professional context. Trust among colleagues is not necessarily the same as trust in a personal relationship. In the workplace, trust often comes down to accountability. If you assign a task to a co-worker, will they get it done and give it their best effort? Are people in the office willing to ask for help if needed? If you don’t create a work culture that tolerates vulnerability, your people will likely be uncomfortable asking for help.

Developing trust in yourself and your co-workers can not only increase satisfaction in the workplace but also improve productivity.

Resilience

If you are going to stand up, you risk falling. It’s a consequence of vulnerability and courage, and why so many people decide to remain in the background. However, if you create an environment where colleagues help each other up when they’ve been knocked down it increases the willingness to become more vocal and vulnerable.

Talented leaders should look for people who have failed and were willing to try again. Having resilient people on your team is essential to success.

Understandable Values

Almost all businesses have some sort of company values, but far fewer actually live them. Core values define a company at the deepest levels. Jason Fordu begins every meeting by repeating Calyx’s core values. He has operationalized his values so that his team follows specific behaviors that are observable and measurable. Core values, like Calyx’s, allow coworkers to trust, rely on and respect each other more. It allows your team to admit, accept, and learn from their failures instead of getting discouraged.

Increased Innovation

Vulnerability leads to innovation. Change and growth occur when talented people feel confident to stand up and state their opinion and challenge the system.  Questioning everything only allows for answers that create more opportunity. When you create an environment where vulnerability is feared you do not allow space for growth.

By creating an environment where employees feel valued and part of the process, your team becomes more invested in solutions and more willing to contribute.

Stress Relief

Your company is only as strong as the weakest member of the team. If your co-workers are nervous or upset, chances are others in the office are as well. This causes increased stress and decreases productivity.

When employees feel free to speak out about what is causing them worry, they can alleviate that worry simply by being vulnerable enough to articulate it. By decreasing stress in the office people perform and collaborate more effectively.

Transforming Business for a Regional Law Firm

Transforming Business for a Regional Law Firm

By | Success Story

The Challenge

A busy law firm serving three states, Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Co., L.P.A. was experiencing the pain of growing faster than their technology could support. To achieve uninterrupted, real-time, secure network access, the firm needed more than a traditional IT network solution could offer.

Technology disruptions are very cost-prohibitive when you’re talking about billable hours and prep for casework at a law firm. Now we have consistent, real-time access to our files. – Christina M. Koeth-Bidwell, CCM

Insight

Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder was looking for a permanent, scalable solution to improve productivity and enhance security. Their aging equipment and network created speed and access issues. When one location went ofine, a domino effect ensued, where all offices would lose access. Their aging systems also made troubleshooting difcult. This led to finger-pointing between the IT services provider and carrier – all while taking hours or days to get the company back to business.

Solution

The firm leveraged Calyx Network™, a more cost-effective fully managed network solution. Calyx Network eliminates issues commonly associated with complex services like MPLS, Metro Ethernet and point-to-point connects. Instead, costs are streamlined through the aggregation of commodity internet services.

As part of the transformation, Calyx also replaced all outdated equipment. If anything goes wrong in the future, it’s immediately addressed by Calyx’s support team, even carrier-related issues. Systems are fast, secure and accessible. The icing on the cake? With Calyx Network, the firm achieved a new level of agility without making a sizable capital investment. For a simple monthly fee, everything is covered.

If any problems surface, Calyx handles it. We have all new equipment and our costs actually went down. It’s a real win-win. – Christina M. Koeth-Bidwell, CCM

Impact

Connectivity issues have been eliminated. Attorneys can safely and securely access files anytime, anywhere. The team at Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder now has the peace of mind that systems across the enterprise will perform. Better still, the transition to Calyx Network™ saved the firm an estimated $250K over three years. With no upfront capital investment and an improved experience, the company can focus on growth.