How do strategic advisory services drive SMB growth?

Gartner has predicted that IT spending in Australia will exceed AU$133 billion in 2024, up 7.8% from 2023. Most notably, the report forecasts that software will be the area where spending increases the most at 12.8%. These increases, which have persisted in recent years, mirror technology’s growing role as a central component of business strategy rather than just a support function.

For small and medium-sized businesses, increased IT spending requires a robust strategy guiding business growth and cyber security initiatives. How can you ensure your investments target the right solutions and drive outcomes? Working with a strategic advisor in this area is a good way to plan investments to ensure technology and security strategies align with the business goals.

Source: Gartner.

Creating a technology roadmap for your needs

An IT roadmap serves as a guide to making informed technology decisions. It is a plan created by examining the organisation’s goals, understanding the technology needed to support them, and how you will adopt it.

A roadmap ensures your investments remain relevant to your organisation’s needs and support growth without over-stretching the budget. It’s about selecting technology that adds value, enhancing operational efficiency and a competitive edge. For example, there is little point investing in the latest and greatest technology if it is overpowered for your needs and stretches your budget.

For your roadmap to support business growth, it must keep pace with changing technology. You can no longer stick to a regimented five-year plan; the roadmap must adapt to maintain your competitive advantage, ensuring that the business’ technology infrastructure continues to support its growth and success. By revisiting and adjusting the roadmap, SMBs can stay agile, making timely modifications to their technology strategy to meet evolving business needs.

Not every business will have the resources to strategise and create the roadmap. A virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) can support this journey by using their expertise and understanding of technology and business to tailor a technology roadmap to an SMB’s specific objectives. A vCIO will also regularly review and update this roadmap to help SMBs leverage technology effectively for growth and efficiency.

Building IT governance into your operations

IT governance focuses on managing and using IT systems and resources effectively. The goal is to ensure that the technology used aligns with business operations according to set policies, procedures, and standards for IT management. 

Strong governance ensures responsible and strategic use of technology resources. IT governance focuses on developing structures for using communication platforms, managing data and maintaining compliance with legal and regulatory standards. It reduces risks such as data breaches, system failures, and financial losses associated with IT investments and operations.

Without IT governance, technology use can become disorganised, impacting communication, processes, and profitability. A well-implemented IT governance strategy, aligning with business goals, supports organisational growth by ensuring technology resources support current operations and are adaptable for future needs.

Auditing and managing cyber security controls

Cyber security is perhaps one of the most pertinent topics for business right now. For Australian SMBs, it is particularly important as these businesses often become unsuspecting targets. In FY2023, these attacks cost small businesses an average of up to $46,000 and medium businesses up to $97,200. Cyber security audits can be the first step to addressing these challenges and reducing such costs.

Audits will assess compliance with relevant frameworks such as the Essential Eight Maturity Model, Defence Industry Security Program (DISP), and ISO 27001. These audits assess the business’ cyber security practices and identify potential issues for remediation. Audits take time and require specialist knowledge of the frameworks and relevant cyber security controls. Working with an external organisation, like a strategic advisory services partner, takes the burden from your team and means you can focus on growing the business.

Managing cyber security controls and updates is another element to protecting SMBs from threats that might hinder growth. Cyber security requires ongoing attention, with updates and adjustments necessary to counter new threats. In this regard, a strategic advisory services partner can provide continuous support.

Revisiting and updating IT and security needs

Finally, your organisation will struggle to grow if outdated technology holds it back. As your business needs change, so must your technology and cyber security controls. Evolving with advancements and emerging threats will enable your business to maintain competitiveness and grow. When you undergo consistent reviews that identify new needs, you can better align your business with current and future requirements.

Regular technology pulse checks keep your business updated with the changing IT and cyber security landscapes. These checks involve reviewing the existing technology and security infrastructure to identify areas that need updates or improvements. Detecting potential vulnerabilities early and responding promptly by conducting assessments ensures IT systems and cyber security measures remain up-to-date and robust.

Adaptability and proactive updates are key to maintaining a competitive edge in the Australian market. Businesses must be agile, ready to embrace new technologies and update security protocols in response to evolving threats.

Conclusion

For Australian SMBs to grow, they need a proactive and structured approach to IT and cyber security. Essential practices like developing a technology roadmap, implementing robust IT governance, conducting regular cyber security audits, and continuously updating IT and security strategies are crucial for growth and security. These practices ensure that technology investments align with business goals, improve operations and offer a competitive edge.

Netier’s strategic advisory services help SMBs grow

As a Technology Service Provider, we support Australian SMBs in reaching their objectives through effective technology deployment. Our team of project managers, systems analysts, and business process specialists can help your SMB grow. We offer expertise in developing technology roadmaps, establishing IT governance, conducting cyber security audits, and updating the IT strategy as your business grows. Our services ensure your technology aligns with your goals to deliver efficiency and security. Visit our services page for more information and to get in touch.