Information Technology: Asset or Distraction? |

How many hours a day do you spend on email, messaging, social media and other digital communication? What about your staff? Add it up. The answer may surprise you. Technology can be a great asset to your business, but it can also be a distraction.

Information technology is expected to increase dramatically in usage over the next two years. The numbers below represent the expected increase of technology usage one year and two years from now.

  • Mobile 33.60%, 39.10%
  • E-mail 38.40%, 34.20%
  • Texting (SMS) 30.70%, 32.20%
  • Social networks 26.50%, 26.20%
  • Desktop video 12.80%, 26%
  • Instant Messaging 18.60%, 21.30%
  • VoIP calling 12.10%, 21.30%

Source: Skype (December 2010)

At What Cost?

With the steady increase the question that begs to be asked, “When is actual work getting done?” When is technology a useful tool in your business arsenal, and when is it a distraction?

Growing with Technology (Without Losing Productivity)

Technology for technology sake is a waste. Determine if the technology makes sense for your particular business and for that particular employee. Here are a few ways to evaluate and apply information technology and if it’s right for your business.

  1. Instant messaging and texting. Weigh the pros and cons. On average it takes someone four minutes to get back on track after being distracted (up to 15 minutes if working on a detailed project). For many, the distractions that instant messaging and texting create are not worth the communication value.
  2. Social media. Consider blocking social media sites from employees who do not need to access them in the course of business. Software is available to block sites based on a user’s unique login.
  3. Policy and best practices. Inform employees about your policy for email, texting, social media, etc. If you do not know your policy, it’s time to create one.
  4. Smart phones and mobile technology. If your employees utilize mobile devices, spend the extra time and money to make sure that they have quick, easy and problem free access to all of the information they need. Consider using mobile in new ways such as accepting credit cards, obtaining customer signatures, providing proofs, etc.
  5. Video. Consider utilizing web video for marketing, training or product instruction. A short video has a much higher comprehension rate than written text. Enlist the help of a talented employee. On the flip side, make sure your employees know your policy for watching web video on sites like YouTube.

How To Market Information Technology Effectively |

Marketing information technology is no different from marketing any other type of business; it’s all about determining what makes your business stand out and getting that across to potential customers. Why should customers want to hire you to handle their IT needs and what can you bring them that nobody else does? The answers to those questions are the keys to effective marketing and that is where your marketing strategy should begin.

You need to position yourself as the go-to solution for your customers. That means showing them exactly what you can do for them and how you can help their business to run more smoothly. Make sure you communicate clearly the importance of information technology to any business. In today’s technological age, without properly using internal computer systems, online marketing and other means of data sharing, a business cannot hope to remain afloat.

Understanding and managing information technology can be a huge issue for many businesses. They may lack the tech savvy to handle this part of their business themselves, but they can still help themselves by hiring someone who is able to. Your job in marketing information technology is helping them to understand that the resources they need do exist and they just have to know where to look to find them, starting with you.

Once you’ve gotten their attention, then you have to make a good impression so that they are inclined to hire you ahead of the competition. That essentially means selling yourself; your particular body of knowledge, your skills and your ability to handle all aspects of technology to help your clients’ business thrive and grow. Make sure you don’t overlook anything, no matter how trivial it may seem. And don’t forget to emphasize your flexibility, so they know you are willing to expand to meet their needs.

Another important part of marketing information technology is demonstrating that you remain in step with the latest technological developments. Your clients may not be able to understand the newest social media network or smart phone, but if they know that you are up-to-date they’ll be able to breathe easier knowing that their business is not falling behind, which can be deadly in today’s market.

And don’t forget that one of the best ways you can demonstrate your ability to keep up with the trends is by utilizing the latest technology in your marketing strategy. What better way to prove that you know how to sell a business than by producing your own website, blog, video or other vehicle to get your message across effectively and excitingly?

Never assume that IT is such a dry field or such a complicated one that you can’t properly sell your IT business. Marketing information technology is not only possible, but if done properly it can make a huge difference in terms of setting you apart from the competition. Potential clients are out there and they need the IT expertise you have; it’s up to you to make the right impression through marketing so that they’ll want to put your skills to work for them.