Three IT Mindset Shifts That Will Give Your Firm a Competitive Advantage
One of the best things about modern technology is that it’s essentially as versatile as it is powerful. Your IT infrastructure can be anything you need it to be at any given moment as the possibilities are truly limitless. That can be an exceptionally exciting position for any creative endeavor like an architecture firm to be in…
… but it can also quickly become your biggest liability if you’re not careful.
In my years of experience in this business, one of the things I’ve come to realize is that far too many organizations see IT as a burden – something to be maintained and a constant source of frustrations. This is as opposed to what they should be looking at it as – an opportunity just waiting to be leveraged to create a genuine competitive advantage for yourself in the marketplace.
Luckily, as a business owner, transitioning from that first point of view and into the second for your firm won’t be nearly as difficult as you might be thinking. I fully believe you can do it with just three simple IT mindset shifts – all of which I’d like to go into more detail about today.
From REACTIVE Fixes to PROACTIVE Management
The major issue with fixing your IT infrastructure on a reactive basis is that this mentality essentially REQUIRES things to break before anyone snaps into action.
If you wait for a problem to happen and then solve it, guess what – you might be satisfied with the solution, but that problem still impacted you in a variety of ways. Maybe you lost data and have to start that important project for a client all over again. Maybe your systems went down, and you lost an entire day’s worth of productivity.
Regardless of the ramifications, know that things didn’t have to be that way if you’d prioritized proactive management first and foremost.
All of your systems should be proactively managed to get the absolute best results out of your technology, which means that your employees can do the same. When technology is operating at peak efficiency, your people can be as productive as possible. That’s when they get the most work done in the time that they’re getting paid.
So rather than waiting for something to break so you can fix it, make moves that guarantee the problem won’t happen in the first place. Spend less time on frustrating troubleshooting sessions and more time on making your computers faster and more advanced.
You’d be shocked by what a significant competitive advantage this alone can make for your firm.
From DO-IT-YOURSELF Help to RESPONSIVE Support
In no uncertain terms: the earlier you can break free from that “do-it-yourself” mindset as an architecture firm, the better.
As an architect, your time is1 incredibly valuable. But if so much of it is being monopolized by having to troubleshoot issues (either because you have nobody else to help you or your partners are so slow in their work with you), you’re again looking at a situation that is only going to get worse over time.
Instead, you need to shift the way that you’re thinking by understanding that having responsive and efficient support to any issues is absolutely the way to go. If you don’t have that set up with your business – either with your in-house IT team or with an outsourced services provider – you’re putting yourself at a major disadvantage. You’re spending so much of your time reacting to problems that you can never quite fix that not enough is going to the most important job of all: actually running your business and pushing it forward.
From UNPLANNED Expenses to a STRATEGIC Roadmap
Part of the problem with maintaining a “reactive” and “do-it-yourself” mindset like outlined above is that problems tend to compound sooner rather than later. As principals of architecture firms, taking on the burden of solving a lot of these issues yourself can lead to major unplanned expenses during a time when you can’t really afford them.
You don’t know when you’re going to need a server upgrade because you’re not really in a position to upgrade at all until your current equipment is dead in the water. This isn’t just bad for your numbers – it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
Instead, you need to have an IT STRATEGY and a BUDGET in place. Any changes that you make to your infrastructure shouldn’t just happen – they should be a part of a strategic roadmap. By taking the time to create a roadmap that will allow you to use IT to get your firm from where it currently is to where you want it to be, you know exactly when your costs are coming up, and you can anticipate them accordingly.
Very likely, you can even get to the point where you have a fixed monthly cost for ALL of your IT expenses. IT becomes an organic part of your financial budgeting for your business, and you have much better insight into what you have, how much you have invested and what is the return on that investment
Not only that, but with a strategic plan, you always know that you’re operating at the fastest speeds and with peak efficiency – which is a very exciting position for any design or architecture firm to be in.
IT is a Powerful Resource… But You Have to Be Prepared to Use It
In the end, maybe the most important thing to understand about all this is that we’re talking less about physical, infrastructure-related shifts to your architecture firm’s IT and are instead focused more on those mental shifts involving the way you as the owner THINK about what IT can do for you.
- Instead of waiting for something to break so that you can fix it, be proactive about stopping small problems now before they become much bigger ones down the road.
- Rather than assuming that you can do anything and everything yourself, don’t be afraid to enlist expert help, who will do everything in their power to make sure disruptions don’t happen, and your business operations run on all cylinders.
- Stop looking at IT as an endless source of unplanned expenses. If you use the new year as an opportunity to examine how IT fits in with your overall business strategy, you can finally transition this part of your business from the cost center to the revenue generator it was meant to be.
All three of these mental shifts won’t just relieve a lot of the problems you’ve historically experienced with IT. They can be a big, big competitive advantage for your design or architecture firm.
We feel that getting the proper results from your technology investments is right there for the taking. Just reach out and grab the opportunity.
So if you’re interested in fully embracing these three IT mindset shifts that will help create a new competitive advantage for your business, we encourage you to pick up the phone and give us a call. We will be glad to set you up for your free consultation, all so that we can help unlock the full power of IT done right to your advantage.