Recently I talked to a dealer whose internal information technology (IT) person had quit suddenly after receiving another job offer. The dealer scrambled to find someone else. He hired a small, local IT firm that soon went out of business. Once again, the dealer scrambled to find a solution.
The amount of effort and worry this dealer endured over the course of a year with regards to IT was a huge distraction to his core business. Not only that, but the level of risk his network was exposed to during this time was high. If the dealership had been hacked or suffered some type of outage, their ability to operate as a business would have been seriously impacted.
Does this story sound familiar to you? As a dealer you sell and service vehicles, but your entire business relies on the health of your information technology (IT) infrastructure. Whether you realize it or not, you're a technology company every bit as much as you're an auto dealership.
You probably have a strategy in place for how to sell and service more cars. Do you have an IT strategy to ensure your infrastructure can support those business objectives?
The number of connected devices in your dealership, and the amount of data moving through your network, requires professional grade equipment, large amounts of bandwidth and constant monitoring. Additionally, cybersecurity is a serious issue that requires multiple levels of defense in order to ensure the safety of your customer data and bank account information.
Placing all of this responsibility on the shoulders of a single "IT guy," whether an employee or independent contractor, is dodging bullets.
In technology, the term "resiliency" means having a back-up plan. Examples of resiliency include having two Internet connections with two different carriers, in case one goes down. If one network switch fails, data is routed through another network switch. If your power goes out, you have a generator. Having a resilient IT infrastructure allows you to continue operating in the event of an unforeseen disruption. In short, you're prepared for anything.
This includes having a back-up plan for the person or business that's currently managing your IT.
Unfortunately, many dealers don't have either an IT strategy or resiliency. As a result, they're not leveraging the cloud for email and backups, not keeping systems up to date, not ready for connected cars and they're overpaying for certain technology solutions. Outdated equipment is an all-too-common problem that reduces the productivity of employees, and so are networks that aren't secure against the threat of cyberattacks.
Your business is too important to trust that a single person can take care of all your IT needs. These days, it's critical to take a proactive role in managing the technology side of your business and making sure that you always have a back-up plan.