Making All the Right Moves With Business Technology

Chess is a brutal mental game. So is business. You need to make your moves carefully.

These days, information technology is at the foundation of almost every business. So, what is a smart business owner to do?

Know the phases of the game and have a plan

In chess, people often talk about “first mover advantage.” More important is the last mover. You have to be durable. Many businesses start out small, with just a small number of computers. In the beginning, perhaps only basic email, word processing and simple accounting is needed. However, over time, the company grows and the IT needs usually grow with it. This growth needs to be planned and carefully implemented to ensure its operations during good times and bad.

If the computer system is down, a myriad of outcomes could result. If a single user computer is down, the impact could be similar to the loss of a pawn in a game of chess. Lose your entire IT infrastructure and it could be “checkmate.” Forty percent of businesses fail as a result of a major disaster.

Food for thought: From chessmaster Peter Thiel’s lecture War and Peace, “A good intermediate lesson in chess is that even a bad plan is better than no plan at all. Having no plan is chaotic.”

Know the relative value of your pieces

In chess, the queen is the most valuable piece on the board. When it comes to computers, it’s tempting to lump all applications together, but really there is a whole set of gradations.

Some applications provide basic functionality, e.g. a basic contact database, while others will provide full business process automation. When developing your IT strategy, it is important to understand and know the value to the business so that a good move can be made when selecting technology. For example, many businesses will stick with a separate accounting program (e.g. QuickBooks) and a service management system rather than moving to a single full-featured application. The result: Double data entry, workflow inefficiencies and potentially inaccurate decision making.

Similar inefficiencies can result from a poorly architected cloud computing strategy. If multiple cloud solution providers are used, it may be difficult to integrate and share information between them.

Food for thought: From chess grandmaster Danny King, “You can’t take your moves back. Once you play your move you could be stepping into some horrible trap.”

Know how your pieces work best together

The correct way to play chess is to use every piece (chess is a team game)! In IT, at its core, there are users and there are applications. The power users will really use the applications and the information it makes available to them to improve their efficiency and productivity. Others need basic functionality that is very easy to use and very reliable. It’s important to match up the right user with the right computer with the right application. You have to strike the right balance. By using all the pieces effectively together, your IT infrastructure can help make your business great.

Food for thought: From Bruce Pandolfini, one of the world’s greatest chess teachers, “You want the bulk of your moves to be objective and analytical. But being good at chess also requires being good at reading people.”

By practicing chess strategies in your business and IT planning, it can help your business grow and to be more profitable and proficient which will have a huge pay off. I am not a professional chess player, but my IT Radix staff and I love thinking about strategy, especially in IT and how it relates to your business. Today’s the day to start developing your IT strategy in the game of business!