Technology Investment Boost
At the time of writing, the federal government election is in full swing. The budget is offering Small Businesses incentives to invest in ICT solutions. As with all government handouts, it will be up to the applicant to examine the detail and watch for the ‘gotcha’s’. I remember being able to get a grant of $5000 for first home buyers over five years when I bought my first home in 1988. But I was only eligible if my income was less than $10,000. Even in 1988, no one was going to buy a house while on this type of income. Fortunately, they counted this on the previous year’s income (when I had been studying IT, so I qualified).
“The Government is providing $1.0 billion for a new Technology Investment Boost to encourage small businesses to go digital. Small businesses with annual turnover less than $50 million will be able to deduct a bonus 20 per cent of the cost of expenses and depreciating assets that support digital uptake. This includes portable payment devices, cyber security systems or subscriptions to cloud-based services. The boost will apply to the eligible expenditure of up to $100,000 per year, incurred from Budget night until 30 June 2023.”Liberal Federal Budget Announcement 2022
This is not yet law and will be subject to consideration by the incoming government.
It is very tempting to jump into technology spending, but without looking at what technology upgrades are suited for you, and which are not. Having a clear vision of what you want your technology to do, is an important first step. This is where IRIS IT can help. Failed technology projects (and there are many of them) result in a lot of shiny and expensive equipment not being used. This can also interfere with employees’ normal work and cause a great deal of frustration.
The way to prevent this is to follow a project management methodology. It does not matter which project management methodology is followed if it keeps the project on track to achieve set outcomes. The first and most critical phase is the Requirement Analysis:
This defines why you are undertaking the project, and what the outcomes are. It may be an increase in efficiency, decreasing the time to achieve functions, or an increase in resilience knowing that your business can be recovered in case of disaster. It may even be upgrading current equipment to decrease the rate of failure. Whichever way the analysis goes, without a clear and measurable goal of what is to be achieved, the project will never end. If you don’t know where you are going, you will never get there. There will always be scope creep, as employees think of more benefits they can get from a project, but when scope creep becomes scope gallop, it needs to be reined in.
Who is responsible?
There was an adage my grandmother told me – a shared pig will surely die. It is only recently I understand the wisdom of this. If people are not allocated responsibility and accountability, actions will not occur. Action requests need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). Levels of responsibility need to be assigned. One method is via a RACI matrix (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed). This ensures everyone’s involvement is clearly defined.
Start and Finish
It is often joked about that a consultant is someone who borrows your watch and tells you the time. There is an element of truth to this, in that any project starts with knowing where you are. An “As Is” report is needed (the good, the bad and the ugly). This needs to be as objective as possible, as improvement cannot be measured if you don’t know where you are starting from.
At this point, you will know where you are and where you want to be. A project plan is now needed to define how to move the project forward. Some lessons I have learned include
It is much easier to get people to support you if they are involved and engaged – particularly if they believe the project, was their idea.
Deadlines are set for a reason. They cannot be changed because someone in management asks that they be. Some things need to happen in order – you cannot make a baby in one month with 9 women.
There is a range of different methodologies for controlling projects. There are many methodologies. Personally, I like Prince 2, but the important thing is that there is a methodology and that it can be adjusted to the size of the project.
- Project Overview
- Project Definition
- Project Initiation
- Project Planning
- Project Execution
- Project Monitoring and Control
- Project Closure
Note that you do not “do” anything until step 5. This indicates the importance of knowing what is required before diving in.
A little different to my early days of programming, where I was given a five-minute discussion and a page of notes to write programs that often took a month or more to code. Not surprisingly, many programs were written multiple times before release (and re-release).
Taking advantage of government offers will go much better knowing what you want, how it will benefit you, and what is needed. This will help prevent you from getting a grant for a “shiny” piece of equipment that does not actually do anything, or worse still, ends up costing far more than the grant.
IRIS IT have expertise in running projects, both large and small. We pride ourselves in supplying the right equipment and operating systems for the right purpose. We can assure you we will never sell any equipment on the basis that it is “shiny”.
.au Domain Name Changes
There is an adage in IT that if you successfully “idiot proof” any piece of hardware or software, the universe will create a better idiot. We have always tried to think of every contingency.
The problem with this is that things become more and more complex. This complexity should always be applied to make the user interface simpler. It is a bit like the development of motor vehicles. Early motor vehicles were complex to drive, with timing advance switches and crash manual gearboxes, but relatively simple underneath. New cars have automatic gearboxes, and most drivers have no concept of ignition advance/retard, much less being able to adjust it as you drive. They are much more complex underneath to make driving simpler.
The same happened with domain addresses. There were originally only a few types of domains (.com, .org, .net) optionally followed by a country indicator if needed. There are now more than 520 domain extensions.
In Australia, you can now apply for a much simpler domain extension of “.au”. This means that you can simplify your website and email addresses to just “yourcompany.au”.
This has been available since 24 March 2022. It is assumed that if you have a business domain in Australia, you will want the .au version. All domains are on hold until 20th September, and the current owners of yourcompany.com.au will have priority access to .au.
What this means is until the end date, you will have priority over your Australian registered domain having the .au
If you do not act before this time, your domain name will be available to whoever wants it. This could result in people searching for your business and being redirected to your competitor’s site or even more reputation ruining sites.
IRIS IT can arrange for the registration of your current Australian sites to the .au sites. Whether your domain is registered through us, or you need advice on how to proceed, do not hesitate to contact IRIS IT.
This domain registration costs about $26 a year, (plus our time to set it up), but this is imperative for your reputation.