The Business of IT
Posted on: January 5, 2016
IT Goal Setting as a New Year’s Resolution
Posted by: Phil Stalnaker
Well, friends, 2016 is finally here. Time to reset, refresh, and resolve to do things better than last year. This is the time of year when the word “goals” come to mind a lot, often so much so that it is common to push it back with a few glasses of wine. The problem with that, however, is to stay in line with your resolutions, you have to go to the gym that much more to make up for the extra wine. What does that have to do with the IT goal setting in your business? Why all this focus on goals? Most of the time they become these guilt trip reminders living constantly in the back of your mind and are causing stress on you even into the summer months, though by then you can’t remember what they ever were.
A simple internet search for the word “goals” makes it clear that 1) it is a popular subject and 2) there are a million different theories about how to create and reach them. That is not the point of this post. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big believer in having goals, but I don’t think that is the right place to start, which often ends in a failed resolution. What I am hoping to help with it the understanding of why and what you need as goals, specifically as it relates to businesses and their information technology.
How Maslow Relates to IT Goal Setting
As part of my Master’s Degree, I extensively studied Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. While it is certainly not the be-all-end-all of human motivation philosophies, it can certainly provide a few insights. In essence, it all comes down to need. What is it that you absolutely need as you move forward? From Maslow, what section of the pyramid are you in? Once you are secure in your current level, then you start looking to fulfill the next one up. In order to bring about change, the motivation to change must be stronger than the motivation to stay the same.
Take, for example, the Chicago Cubs. For anyone who has visited a game at Wrigley Field, the truth is clear (even though you may not want to believe it) – the stadium is horrible. It is incredibly old and outdated, the seats are too small and the rows too narrow. It is not a comfortable place to sit and watch a game, especially for the price of a ticket. Yet, year after year, the Cubs sell out nearly every game and those seats are filled, even during day games. Traditional logic would say that if they built a bigger, nicer stadium, then they could get even more visitors and money. But that doesn’t seem to be on their radar. Why not?
Because Wrigley Field is a very old stadium and building a new one, especially in the Chicago area, would be incredibly expensive. With the mortgage long paid off (I assume), all those consistent guests at the park have created a cash cow in the stadium that time forgot. There is no reason for the owners to spend money upgrading something that continues to sell out every day. In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. To the Ricketts, the motivation to stay the same is very strong. People may be wanting it (or may not want it), but it will not be happening anytime soon – not until there is real reason to build a new one. They are free to spend their money on “more important” things like a better team (?).
Proper IT Goal Setting
In regards to IT goal setting, this is a dangerous place to live. Waiting until something is broken can spell disaster and potentially bankrupt your business (depending on what information you are storing). Something as simple as a power surge can spell financial ruin if files are not properly backed up. What if you are running a software that needs constant up time? A power outage could leave you in shambles without the proper hardware in place to keep things turned on during the storm. Simply put, it is not profitable to wait until something breaks to plan for your next IT purchase. The best time to do that is now, when everything is still working.
Take an inventory of your hardware. How old is each piece? When did you buy it? Are there service plans on any of them? Budgeting for your hardware and software now is a great way to plan and prevent any surprises heading your way. There are many technology consultants out there that can help you determine what is best for your planning, but you need to plan. An ounce of prevention now can belay thousands of dollars later in fixes and even lawsuits. Take stock of what you have, be mindful of what you need, and be prepared to replace before things break. If you don’t understand what you have or where your shortcoming are, it is impossible to properly set any goals.
At B2 Technology Solutions, our goal is to help your business thrive by making your technology demands a system that can work on its own without your constant interference. When it comes to your IT goal setting, take the time to sit down and go through all of it and making sure you have what you need to survive. This way you can focus on what you actually need and are ready to face the unknowns that will inevitably come during the course of your business.