Whether you run a computer consulting, data security, or computer programming business, you have your work cut out for you adapting to changes in the tech industry. It's a cliché that technology changes all the time. But it's true. That's one of the things that makes it exciting - and it's what keeps you in business.
But IT professionals face a dilemma: should they specialize the services they offer customers, or should they try to be a "jack of all trades"? It's a tough decision for any tech professional.
If you specialize, you run the risk of missing out on lucrative markets that are constantly sprouting up. But if you do a little bit of everything, you may miss the chance to capitalize on a particularly strong market and become less competitive with other IT professionals who are specialized in one of the fields you work in.
What is an IT professional to do? Well, the most important thing is to be flexible and adaptable. Stay aware of growing trends and shifts in the marketplace. You don't want to wake up one day and find that your business is obsolete. Here are some current trends you should be aware of and a few ways to package them with your services.
How Can Cloud Sourcing Make Your Business Money?
As a computer consultant, you're responsible for being aware of the changing IT marketplace and trying to find ways that your customers can save money on their IT solutions. One growing, lower-cost IT solution is cloud sourcing.
What is cloud sourcing? Cloud sourcing is when a business moves part or all of its IT infrastructure online. A third-party company stores its data remotely so it can be accessed from any Internet-enabled device. It may also provide software and other services. These markets are growing and you're beginning to see more and more big names throw their hats into the ring. Cloud storage site Box recently launched a product called Box Notes, which will compete with Google's collaborative document editor GoogleDocs. Read "Box Launches Notes to Take on Google Docs" at Forbes.
The reasons cloud sourcing costs less are fairly obvious. Rather than having software that needs upgrades, they can work online through a service that can update whenever it needs to.
When you talk about cloud sourcing, a few concerns jump out to most IT professionals.
- Does cloud sourcing threaten the jobs of IT workers? Yes and no. Rather than having in-house options, some businesses will move their material online. These businesses will still need to have technology assistance. They will need help figuring out which services to buy, which is where IT consultants can help. As is always the case, IT professionals who can adapt will flourish.
- Can an entire IT infrastructure really be replaced with cloud technology? Maybe, but probably not yet. Many cloud solutions self-contained, vertical systems rather than comprehensive solutions. In the same way a business may hire another company to handle its HR and payroll, some businesses may use cloud sourcing to take care of self-contained areas of their IT needs (e.g., word processing, data backup, etc.).
- What do I need to know about cloud sourcing? First and foremost, you need to know that it's growing. As an IT professional, identifying these emerging sectors of the tech economy is vital for your business's survival.
How to Capitalize on Constantly Evolving Security Threats
Many IT professionals don't realize that they could be responsible for their clients' data security even if they don't offer security services. Really. Even if you only install software or recommend another company's software, your client can sue you if the products you recommended are hacked. Ouch.
How do you cover yourself? For starters you should protect your business with Errors and Omissions Insurance that includes third-party Cyber Liability Insurance. These policies can pay for a lawsuit when you make a mistake and client computers and devices are hacked. Without these policies, computer programmers can be sued for tens of thousands of dollars or more.
(Wondering what insurance for a small IT firm like yours might cost? Take a look at this free sample insurance quote for a small IT consulting company.)
The second thing you can do is make lemonade out of these lemons. Can you expand your business to offer a cyber security service? If you're liable for data security, you should consider trying to capitalize on it. If data security falls within your expertise, offer a security consulting service.
Internet security is changing day by day, which means it offers an opportunity for you to provide a high-quality service for your customers, who can't keep up with the trends and don't have your expertise. You can bundle this service with your current services or offer it as an additional service.
One way to grow your business is simply to offer your customers more options. You might find that some of your current customers want data security services, and are happy to work with you, given your preexisting relationship.
Opportunity and Flexibility: IT Business Secrets
Capitalizing on new markets like cloud sourcing or expanding your current services are just two ways you can generate new income for your business by being flexible and seeking opportunity. Pay attention to changes in the marketplace, and you may find new areas where your business can thrive.