INFORMATION and communication technology support specialists at SuretyIT have identified a worrying trend: Business decision makers are increasingly ‘sticking their heads in the sand' over the health of their critical IT systems.
SuretyIT director Geoff Stewart said the trend has become so prevalent that he has prepared a free whitepaper on the issue which he wants to share with business owners and leaders around Australia. He said healthy and secure IT systems were vital for Australian business trying to recover from the tumultuous financial and market conditions of recent years.
"It is really surprising when I have a conversation with business owners or decision makers that the conversation starts off with ‘Yes the systems are healthy' and by the end of the conversation the opposite is correct - because actually when they start thinking about it and we start drilling down into the detail, they've now started to think about and question what is actually going on," Mr Stewart said.
"With financial health you can see clearly what is happening from the information your accountants provide you with.
"With staffing issues you usually get a good sense of the morale within the business. How do you know your IT systems are healthy?"
Mr Stewart said IT should be viewed as an investment, but many businesses considered it an expense. It is one of those areas in the businesses where, unless something drastically goes wrong, he said, many business owners and decision makers don't have a great deal of visibility.
IT is 'lifeblood'
"It is the lifeblood of the vast majority of businesses and without their IT systems companies cannot operate successfully," he said.
"As a business owner I know how difficult and uncomfortable it is to deal with issues that I don't have experience in and it's so easy to get caught in the ‘she'll be right' or ‘if I ignore it, it will go away' mindset," Mr Stewart said
"Being an IT business owner I find this a lot from talking to other business owners and decision makers about their IT systems. I can see them taking on the ‘ostrich' pose, burying their head in the sand because they are not comfortable and don't really understand what is happening.
"Many tell me that ‘as long as I can log in, everything is okay'."
Mr Stewart said some of the vital questions business owners and leaders should be asking of their IT systems include:
Are your systems fully documented or inside someone's head?
Are projects completed on time and within budget?
Are you provided with a clear and concise monthly report regarding the health of your computer systems?
To help business leaders to get a better insight into what is going on and what they are actually currently paying for with regards to IT support, Mr Stewart has produced a whitepaper on what questions they should be asking current IT support people, "to help de-mystify what exactly is going on, plus common misconceptions about IT systems".
Mr Stewart has used his current Australian experiences, plus a long career in creating stable IT systems for companies of all sizes in the UK, to prepare the whitepaper report.
SuretyIT is a current member of Queensland Leaders, the organisation helping to develop the next generation of leading companies based in Queensland.