You’re onsite at a customer’s business and they have a specific challenge that your company is well-equipped to solve. How do you present your solution quickly and effectively?
Your team of service technicians rotates among your customers based on availability, meaning the same customer may see several members of your staff over time. How do you make sure each service technician can provide uniform assistance?
Your business relies on self-service workstations to serve your customers. How do you make sure each of them has the same experience, regardless which workstation they use?
You are preparing your budget for next year and want to change the allocation of your investments to help procure more business. How and where can you shift monies to enhance your marketing efforts?
In each of these scenarios, one factor can mean the difference between business as usual and improved productivity and efficiency. That factor? Standardization in your IT environment.
Common Benefits of Standardization
IT environments are a constant concern for many small and midsize businesses. Keeping equipment and software up-to-date is often a delicate balance between business growth and budgetary concerns. Standardization eases the path for timely updates and equipment purchases and helps you to more accurately plan your IT budget.
We’ve examined some of the benefits of standardization in this space before, including:
- Scheduled updates
- Rapid resolution of issues
- Monitoring and troubleshooting for common problems
- Quicker recovery in the event of a disaster
- Proactive improvements and upgrades
- Balanced monthly costs
These benefits are compelling reasons to standardize your IT environment, to be sure. However, there are other advantages to consider, as well.
The Often-Overlooked Benefit of Standardization
While it’s true that standardizing your IT environment can translate into more efficient use of your budget as well as allowing your staff to focus on their job responsibilities, let me challenge you to look at it in a different way. How can standardization give your business a competitive advantage?
Let’s examine each of the scenarios above through that lens:
When a customer has a problem that your business can solve, what’s the best way to handle it? Do you have the ability to assess issues on site, or must you return to the office to review your capabilities before you can provide a proposal? A standardized IT environment allows for faster time-to-capability.
Standards serve as a baseline from which each technician can provide uniform service. Your customer can be assured that their level of service will be consistent no matter what. When you have a team of service technicians in the field, it shouldn’t matter which one shows up to assist a customer.
For businesses that utilize technology such as self-service kiosks, consistent customer experience is important. Businesses that operate a virtualized environment provide employees with a consistent experience, as well. Standardization provides stability and uniformity for all users. Troubleshooting, if needed, also becomes easier and lessens the potential for customer or employee frustration.
Better Allocation of Budget
This is perhaps the biggest benefit of standardization. When you eliminate the effort and expense of maintaining an IT environment with compatibility issues, you gain the time and money to invest in the things that truly matter for your business. Boost your marketing efforts, provide your staff with training and education opportunities, and focus on growing other areas of your business.
It’s not unreasonable to consider standardization as a significant factor in making your business more competitive. In fact, when your business is operating in a standardized environment, it’s likely to be more productive, more effective, and more profitable.
By standardizing your IT environment, you simplify and streamline your service delivery. You greatly reduce decision-making and largely alleviate significant purchasing and maintenance costs. Standardization can open the door to innovation in many ways that can affect your business across the board. Let Lieberman Technologies help you to develop a standardized IT environment – contact us today!