Every business, no matter how small, has a budgeting system in place for various functional areas. Consider a department like marketing that is viewed as a direct contributor to revenue. Marketing campaigns exist to pull attention to the business. By ignoring such an area, there is a risk of hampering the ability of the business to conduct transactions with clients who are interested in the offerings, and possibly have no idea that the firm even exists.
The contribution of the marketing department, while difficult to measure, in seen as a direct contributor to revenue, and so the value of the department is somewhat easily discernable. This results in the willingness of a firm to budget well for and do necessary spending on that department.
Information Technology (IT) is unfortunately, not given such a privilege in most businesses. The contribution of IT systems is less easily measured and so the need for them is not as clear to non-IT individuals. Even in the year 2019, when the role and necessity of IT systems is greater than ever, this continues to be the case. The major reason for this is the fact that the decision makers in companies are usually not technically inclined, and so they don’t see the need to invest in things such as replacing systems that appear to be working perfectly on their end. Consider these factors that indicate why IT is important to businesses.
On an almost monthly basis, there are notable incidents of businesses of various sizes falling victim to exploits of system vulnerabilities. The attacks on businesses usually come in the form of information destruction, encryption, or leaks. While financial systems are targeted at times to directly access funds, attackers have realized that targeting business information is a much more lucrative strategy.
The reason for this is that attackers are aware of how most businesses treat IT. Financial institutions understand the risks and usually make heavy IT investments in systems that are hard to penetrate. Most other businesses, however, take the approach of making an investment when a system breaks down.
Old and unsupported systems typically do not get security updates from their vendors. This results in an easier target for malicious entities. Unfortunately, IT security is an afterthought and adequate spending doesn’t usually take place until an attack is successful and remediation is needed.
It is highly unlikely that a business is running efficiently today without the support of a single IT system. Efficiency demands these systems and they play a huge role in effective operations. However, as previously indicated, business decision makers take the “set it and forget it” approach to these systems.
This means that even when the equipment is way past its end of life and no warranty is available, there is no effort made in securing adequate replacements. This is even more concerning when you consider that many of these systems are mission critical. This means that their failures are crippling to the operations of the business.
In a similar manner as security, adequate spending is typically done when there is a major incident such a complete system failure of one of these critical systems. At this point when productivity and profitability are hampered, then the required considerations and decisions are made by the business’ decision makers.
IT systems are the underlying facilitators to many business operations. This makes it impossible to effectively carry out business functions if they fail to work. With such a role, businesses need to move from the mindset of addressing failures as they occur, to one of proactive monitoring and willingness to take necessary action as needed when needed.