When clients undertake an ICT project, we help them understand the options that exist, associated costs, the process and help them create a strategy for board or other necessary approvals.
Many companies for example, are concerned about their security infrastructure, we provide much needed support throughout the process. We conduct network audits and assessments and develop strategies with accompanying solutions to chart the way ahead.
A consultant can assist in bringing your digital transformation ideas to reality including strategic network planning, design, technical implementation and more.
Northpoint Consulting has acknowledged that strategic network planning has evolved from the basic capacity planning and rollout of traditional ICT resources, to encompass changing business models being driven increasingly by the need to deliver digital services. The speed and scope of innovation in technology and digital business models is increasingly disrupting established business models in both the private and the public sector. The business community and the general public in Barbados and the Caribbean region expect to use and benefit from more digital services. From our perspective, what we have seen is that the businesses and agencies we support in the Caribbean now need to focus more on strategies to transform services using current and emerging digital or ICT capability and less on management of ICT assets as this is now a more mature discipline based on the evolution of frameworks such as ITIL. The digital and ICT strategic planning framework depends on new planning techniques to strengthen the development of digital or ICT strategies or plans, roadmaps, initiative proposals as well as implementation plans.
Digital and ICT strategic planning processes and its outputs provide our clients with:
- improved alignment of digital capability to business strategies and needs
- optimization of digital resources and capability to achieve business goals
- a focused work plan to expand digital service capability across the business
- measurement of the success of implementing business as well as digital and ICT strategies
- improved understanding of the impact of digital and ICT on the business
- identification of areas for cost reduction, risk reduction and leveraging opportunities in a business’ digital or ICT portfolio
- increased visibility of digital investments and initiatives
- expanded strategic planning capability.
To this end we work with our partners to:
- Address how services can be transformed to support future business needs and consumer expectations; and document likely benefits, costs and risks.
- Create visions, roadmaps and plans that link digital investments to business strategies.
- Find digital approaches to exploit business opportunities and solve problems by leveraging knowledge of enterprise architecture and of ICT innovation, support effective delivery of services, and support future service design activities.
- Provide plans that are critical input to the investment governance process. These investment plans provide decision makers with a forecast view of digital investment opportunities including benefits, cost, risks and the incremental transformation of services with sufficient detail to support strategic and tactical investment planning.
The modern business environment is defined by rapid change. Customer expectations about the minimum service levels they will tolerate are escalating. Threats from competitors are more focused and come from both local and global sources. Businesses can struggle to be noticed and to stay relevant above the “noise” in dynamic marketplaces. And business-enabling technology is also changing at a dizzying speed. Caribbean-based enterprises cannot afford to be caught unprepared by the intensity and effectiveness of global competitors in the local/regional market, enabled by the ubiquity of the Internet.
In this environment it can be hard for a business just to keep pace with the change in its environment, far less make progress.
What are some ICT essentials in which Caribbean-based businesses should invest to give them a chance to compete effectively?
- A Speedy Internet Connection – a productive office environment is unlikely without enabling your employee’s access to fast internet services. A responsive Internet service facilities communication with customers, partners, remote team members, etc. Your business internet plan should provide adequate bandwidth to support the operations of all your individual employees. What we have also seen and learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that online collaboration is indispensable – your bandwidth must be sufficient to allow easy online video calls and other collaboration tools to work smoothly.
- An Effective Communications Platform – If you can successfully streamline work communication, you can ease work stress for yourself and your employees and enhance workplace productivity at the same time. The key to this is a Voice Over IP(VoIP) platform/service that allows you the facility of a PBX for inter-office calls without having a physical PBX, and that works seamlessly whether members of the team are in the office or not. Integrating the VoIP PBX with online collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams is also a key capability. Make available multiple portals for communication for the best results from your communication enterprise tech network and infrastructure.
- Flexible Work Solutions – If you’re starting a new business or even planning to upgrade your existing business, you need to invest in enterprise tech tools to enable for remote work. Generally, these will be cloud-based tools which you can procure on a monthly subscription basis. They allow you to share virtual workspaces and files and employees can review the same file irrespective of their medium of access.
- Improved client-focused network and systems – You need to be able to provide quick resolutions to any customer/client concerns and investing in technology and tools to enable efficient customer service will pay dividends. You also need to generate leads and convert them into paying customers/service users to make a profit. A cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software tool can help you manage your business’s relationships with both potential leads and existing customers. The possibilities to enhance your systems are endless and highly customizable to suit the business needs.
- Online presence – Your business website is one of the most valuable tech tools at your disposal. This is a space for you to provide consumers with critical information about your business, such as products and services offered, prices, and opening hours. By optimizing your website and online platforms to suit your business environment you can avoid customer and team frustration and spend more time on your next innovation instead of your current spate of user performance issues.
- Cybersecurity capability – To protect your investment in the tools noted above, and by extension, your core business, the final key ICT ingredient required in any modern enterprise is some means of defending your operation from cyber-attacks. ICT tools are tremendous business facilitators, but they also invite new threats. Cybersecurity is a serious concern for any business owner. You must ensure that sensitive company and customer data is protected and that your network is not hijacked, and data corrupted or held to ransom and of course that the integrity of any payment systems is preserved.
If we consider the network as the ICT components that provide the underlying infrastructure that facilitates the seamless flow of information between the enterprises’ stakeholders (staff, suppliers, customers, etc.) to meet business objectives, then it becomes important to consider why and how the network should be designed and built as robustly and with as much resilience as practical.
A poorly designed network can trigger many problems which can hamper the operations of the business: slow data rates, security breaches, inadequate support for remote workers, and even complete downtime affecting the entire office location. A thoughtful network design should incorporate features that will mitigate the risk of these common types of network impairment, or make service restoration much quicker, including: redundancy in core network elements, automatic failover between key circuits, designing with capacity growth in mind, centrally managed security infrastructure, etc.
For customized network designs that are optimized for maximum resiliency within your budget, contact Northpoint Consulting.