Yes, it’s true! It actually costs real money to provide a solid IT infrastructure. And the corollary is that it actually costs real money to support an IT infrastructure, as well.
I have been in the biz for over 30 years and while I was willing to cut people slack way back when in terms of what their expectations were for costs for IT (let’s face it, these computer “thingies” were all new and shiny back when gas was 30 cents a litre and it was all a brave new world), that willingness has vaporized in recent years. Computers (and tablets and smart phones and all the rest of the toys), and the infrastructure that supports all of their functionality, are now a “given” part of the structure of business; you would no more find a business today running without the benefits of IT as you would find a business running without any sort of accounting. So why is it that so many businesses feel they can get away without putting any sort of investment into their IT infrastructure? I have lost count of the number of businesses I have talked to over the years that say they cannot spend any money BUT they also cannot afford to have any downtime, they cannot afford to lose any data, and they need someone to provide some enhanced functionality but for no cost.
People, I am here to tell you that you have to pull your collective heads out of your behinds on this one. Just as it costs money to provide the means of production and just as it costs money to attract and keep the best talent to help run your business, it also costs money to obtain, install, configure and maintain the various IT tools that you may require. And this is true whether those tools are being obtained for on site installation or if you are using Cloud-based services. As a wise man once said, there is no such thing as a free lunch and that is particularly true of IT.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there are no short-cuts, a $9.95/mth website is worth exactly what you pay for it. A backup system cobbled together out of tools built for your home system is not going to save your corporate keister in an emergency situation when you’ve lost the systems that power your “paperless office”. Trying to keep 10 year old PC’s in place as front line systems is not going to make you a competitive player. And having your systems supported by a guy you can never get hold of but who works “cheap” is not a recipe for success.
You have to take the “long view” with your IT requirements just as you do with any other planning for your business. You also have to invest properly in your IT. This does NOT mean that you have to simply throw money at IT; rather, it means you have to invest in IT. Don’t view IT as simply a cost, view it as any other means of production within your organization and look to how your spend on IT can help to enhance your overall productivity and success. Look at those companies that always seem to be out ahead of everyone else, almost all of them have leveraged their technology to give them an edge over others in their fields. And their investment in their technology usually mirrors their investment in other parts of the organization, it is not a “grudging” investment nor is it viewed as just another cost that has to be borne. Rather, it is an investment in the long term growth of the company.
And while we’re discussing the need to invest in your systems, you also need to consider investing in the support of the systems. It matters not one iota if the systems are on premise or in the Cloud or a mashup of both, what matters is that you ensure you have the right people providing you with the support and the advice that you require. And, surprise, surprise that’s going to cost, too. You don’t look to some kid out of high school to give you a critical analysis of a complex business problem; you look to someone with training and credentials and experience and all of that costs considerably more than the high school grad. The same is true of the professionals that you need to help you with your systems and technology. Yes, there are legions of whiz kids out there that can make technology do amazing things but to borrow a metaphor from sports, you need “depth on the bench”. You want a team and you want the team to have depth.
So, what is the ultimate point of this rant of mine? Simple: you truly get what you pay for in the world of technology. As I said earlier, there are no shortcuts. Good, solid systems cost money. Reliability costs money. Redundancy costs money. Good design costs money. Expert support and service cost money.
Doing it right costs money.
Doing it wrong costs more.