If I suggested you run a marathon, without training or preparation, could you do it? Now, let’s make it interesting … hypothetically, would you bet your daily turnover x 5 – that’s a week’s worth of sales – on your ability to run a marathon without training?
Assuming you are not a top athlete and you are a smart business owner (you are, aren’t you?) you would probably turn down this hypothetical wager and I don’t blame you. I have run several marathons and I know the hours that go into preparing yourself mentally and physically for the challenge ahead.
Now, what if I told you there is a strong possibility that you are placing a similarly risky wager every day in your business. ‘No chance,’ you say! You wouldn’t do it – right? The thing is, you might be taking that risk – you are just not aware of it. Let me explain …
Almost every business on the planet relies on communication and IT services. It is the infrastructure that underpins customer service systems, e-commerce websites, order processing, sales, finance and more. Every department in your business relies on systems and processes just to get the job done.
Don’t believe me? Simply ‘walk the floor’ in your business. Ask your team how they would sell your products or services if the CRM and ordering system was offline. Can they check your stock? Could you provide a customer with a price without looking it up on a spreadsheet? Ask someone in finance if a customer has paid, without a computer or the Internet?
The scariest part of this is that it is a reality for businesses every day. You see, most of us have very high expectations of IT systems – they should just ‘work’, right? What we can easily overlook, however, is the effort and commitment needed to ensure they are on top form, 24/7. You see, we don’t just ask our systems to be marathon-ready – we ask them to run a marathon daily, without rest, and to win every time.
Injury is one of the biggest worries for runners – months of training can be lost by neglecting the warning signs. A twinge here or ache there can easily be ignored, until a doctor tells you to put your running shoes away for weeks to prevent permanent damage. However, early action can avoid all of that.
Your IT systems can be injured, too. Perhaps this sounds familiar – the marketing team have been complaining about how slow the system is. Surely, they’re just making a fuss, they all had new PCs less than a year ago. Finance are working overtime to make up for lost files when the system crashed – it is a cost you had not anticipated, but it just has to be done. Sales are reporting low numbers for last month – apparently email was down for two days and some orders were lost. My hope is these are not familiar scenarios for you and your business, but I urge you to consider whether that is down to luck or good planning. Preparing IT systems for their daily marathon is easier than you might think and, in my experience, prevention is far better than cure. If you’d like to talk to our experts about how to maintain marathon-ready systems, give my team a call on 0845 437 9555.