It’s time for a little word association. When you see the words below, which comes to mind first – “Investment,” or “Expense?”

Home.  Car.  Office Lease.  Commercial Real Estate.  Employees.  Subcontractors.  Attorney.

If you’re anything like me, you found both places for both words in the list above. While homes and employees often create much more value than they “cost,” rent and subcontractors may be more on the necessity side and appear as expenses that we must control and minimize. Over the course of this year, many of us have taken long, hard looks at cutting costs and maximizing our investments.

Given this consideration, how would you say you look at technology? Computers and networking equipment certainly don’t go up in value, but they are a necessity. Websites and custom software may be an integral to your day-to-day operations, but they also require consistent maintenance and upkeep or they will become relics and money pits.

Your approach to technology during a crisis demonstrates how you view its importance to your business. Over the last 4-6 months, have you invested in work-at-home technology for your team, or asked them to lug computers back and forth to their home offices? Have you scrutinized every request for new tech or given your team freedom to get what they say they need to get the job done?

As we have pressed onwards with clients this year, we’ve seen stark differences between those committed to “getting through this” and those seeking to truly “grow through this.” This may not be an increase to the bottom line or a decrease to expenses, but the pivots we have all had to make this year have certainly provided opportunities to re-tool, re-think, and re-focus our efforts, and technology plays a big part in the execution of those plans.

As we slowly come out, or perhaps even sink back in, to a pandemic-driven way of life, it’s up to us to find our way through it, and it’s my opinion that those paths are best walked with trusted partners. Whether it’s a team of employees who you remind to take days off or an attorney whose opinion you still seek even when you could probably make a decision on your own, we need each other. A good technology partner is no different, and they should always be looking to communicate and explain how the tools you use will add value to your business and those you serve.

Technology, when viewed as an expense alone, will cost you dearly. When considered with an open-mind as an investment, however, it will open up doors to new opportunities and ways of doing business that you may never before imagined.

Written by Chet Cromer for publication in the Business Leader