The information technology landscape has experienced quantum changes in 2015. From IoT to IoE, the shift from SaaS to IaaS and DBaaS. Dell’s acquisition of EMC to continuing mass cybersecurity breaches. (Don’t worry, we’ll define all that alphabet soup shortly.) The last word in today’s business world is that IT is the foundation of doing business. And as such, it’s now very much the realm of the CEO, not just the IT manager, Director of Technology or CIO.
While the head of the company probably doesn’t need to examine every technology purchase (unless of course, you’re a small business owner and you hold the simultaneous roles of CEO, CIO, CFO, and a half a dozen others), there are some areas that should be on the radar. Regardless of size, organizations are finding that the way they manage their IT and the impact it has on the company is a critical factor in their ability to compete and thrive.
Perhaps chief among the impacts to the company is security. A number of top IT news outlets suggest in their year-end round-ups that not only will cybercrime and breaches increase but that this will result in greater turnover of CEOs and increased scrutiny of CIOs. Top security firms are beginning to advocate for adopting an ongoing mitigation mind-set, understanding that it’s not an if but a when scenario when it comes to breaches. This type of crime certainly impacts the company in terms of lost revenues, cost to mitigate and potentially fees or fines as well as the cost to make your customers whole. However, it also impacts your customer’s loyalty and confidence in the company and can cripple employee morale.
On the flip side, the right technology investments can yield gains in productivity and efficiency, both increasing profit margins and gaining customer confidence and loyalty. Often, we think of customer loyalty in terms of consumer dedication to a brand product. However, we can also think of this in terms of shorter delivery times for manufacturers, greater access and security to health records in a clinical setting for physicians, nurses and patients, and accuracy in billing for an attorney, among others.
The right technology investments can also boost the productivity and morale of your staff. By creating streamlined access to the tools they need to be effective and compete globally, IT is able to empower workers.
So when technology is so crucial to the success of a company, where does the CEO come in? The CEO should be asking the right questions and turning the strategic vision of the company towards technology. Here are a few of the right questions:
Has IT investment kept up with the industry? Is the company protected from the latest threats? Have we positioned ourselves to compete globally? This question isn’t about obtaining the best piece of software that your competitor just rolled out. This is a question of vision and preparedness. Technology changes. Fast. If you don’t stop and consider how you’re leveraging your existing infrastructure and look at improvements for the future, you could get left behind.
Does our network serve our customers? Our employees? Our business? Technology is not a complete solution to a need. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve invested or how new the server is. If technology doesn’t serve your business goals, your customers or your employees, it’s getting in your way. This may be a time for introspection – what are the business metrics you most care about? What is critical to the business and to your customers? The answer to this question is likely your guiding network star.
Does the investment we have made serve our core business and function? It can be easy to get swept away in the latest and greatest. But it’s likely not the network you have in place that made your organization great. There is some core function that sets your business apart. Is your IT infrastructure customized to support that function, or have you had to change elements of it to serve the technology?
Does this increase our ability to be efficient? And does it position the company to grow or scale? Just being in the cloud isn’t enough. And not all clouds are equal. What do your customers need from you to meet their business objectives?
As we look at the coming year, we can be certain that technology development and adoption will only accelerate. However, the successful organization in today’s landscape is the one with leadership that asks hard questions not just about what technology the company is using, but why and to what end.
If you would like to know if you’re asking the right IT questions contact SymQuest today. Our Virtual Chief Information Officers will work with you to navigate the common IT hurdles every business faces.
Oh right, we promised to define those acronyms at the beginning, didn’t we? Check out this glossary of common IT terms for definitions.