IT Support for Franchise Operations
When the general public thinks of franchises, they envision fast food, car dealerships, and fitness studios. In reality, there are many more versions of this concept, mostly falling under the categories of business format and product distribution. For instance, there are franchises in fields such as audio production, film/video production, news broadcasting, event management, and private education. While your business model may offer franchisees the key to success, there is one area that franchisors neglect to streamline in the package offering – IT support services. Below is a breakdown of why IT support is essential to growing and maintaining a successful franchise operation.
How Outside IT Services Are Critical to Managing a Successful Franchise Operation
Essential to Setting Up Physical Locations
Whether a retail shop or production studio, IT services are required to connect hardware to operations and even assist in the evaluation of potential locations. IT consultants can help you establish required consistencies between brick and mortar spaces, ensuring optimal conditions for electric wiring/cabling, WiFi connectivity, development of on-premesis server rooms (if needed), and so forth. They can make recommendations for (and manage installation of) IoT devices to replace traditional forms of HVAC, lighting, security systems, and telecommunications in addition to those that apply to your actual operations, such as audio/video production workstations (for example) and more.
Essential to Training Management and Staff
Franchisors must offer franchisees and the management/staff that they bring in to manage a franchise optimal training platforms. Since this often cannot be carried out (and most certainly not maintained) in an in-person setting, especially when there are geographic variances, training must be conducted remotely. This is where IT support is extremely effective. Leveraging cloud-based communications platforms, IT can bridge the gaps and bring franchisors together to collaborate with all staff and stakeholders in a virtual environment to provide pre-launch and ongoing training.
Essential to Ongoing Collaboration and Communications
The same tools used for training can be employed to ongoing team collaboration. Software as a Service (SaaS) such as Microsoft Teams is a perfect example of a cloud-based communications and productivity tool that can be integrated franchise-wide. It can be used for franchisor-to-franchisee meetings and strategy sessions, but also used as the go-to collaboration tool for individual (store, office, etc.) operations.
Essential to Securing IT Systems
All that it takes is one weak link in a chain to bring down an entire franchise operation. A cyber attack on one franchisee that results in the compromise of sensitive consumer data can produce crippling public relations backlash (and punitive measures from PIPEDA) especially in sectors such as finance, health and medical, private education, and media-entertainment. That said, no industry is removed from this risk.
An outside IT consultant can ensure that all franchisees are held to the same highly-stringent cyber security standards. An expert consultant will recommend and ensure effective installation of enterprise-strength security tools that leverage AI and machine learning. This will keep all-involved one big step ahead of advanced malware and phishing campaigns. Your consultant will also ensure that SaaS security features (i.e. Microsoft Secure Score) are enabled, and that updates are made automatically so that corresponding security patches for newly exploited vulnerabilities are put in place, in real-time.
Provide your franchisees, and your entire franchise operation, with a scalable and truly sustainable shot at success. If based in the BC Lower Mainland, contact SAV Technology to schedule your consultation.