IT a Cost Centre or Business Enabler?
IT has a habit of being looked at as a cost centre in most companies. A necessary evil so that the accounts can be entered, reports run, till systems totaled, and emails sent. This is also evident in the fact that in most SME’s IT comes under the remit of the finance department.
Finance and IT in some respects are linked in that the majority of small companies IT will mainly be used for the finance department to produce accounts and pay bills. However taking a step back you can view IT as the business enabler or indeed staff enabler.
An example of this would be to decide that instead of paper forms and signatures you move to a tablet based system with stylus to trap all this information. There is a cost in doing this for sure and the maintenance of a couple of tablets and a back-end system could run to the low four figures depending on your requirements (there are obviously systems in the much higher price bracket but that need not apply)
In the cost centre approach we wouldn’t look twice at this as it’s a cost, however if you were to look at the business enabler side you remove printing, filing, scanning, data entry, data loss all in one move. That means you’ve freed up the resources of at least a few members of staff.
What you get them to do with this time is your own choice and indeed there are a number of misguided people that wouldn’t deploy this solution in fear of leaving the staff twiddling their thumbs. But being busy for busy’s sake isn’t an excuse for any business as far as I’m concerned at least.