It wasn’t that long ago that the head of IT didn’t have an office. Instead, he usually sat in a room in a remote part of the building, filled with IT equipment. He didn’t attend management meetings, and no one paid much attention to him unless something went wrong. His role was to keep the computers and phones working, and not much else.
Today however, things are different. Technology plays a vital role in overall business strategy. Modern companies have transformed the role of the ‘IT guy’ to a senior-level Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or Chief Information Officer (CIO), who is consulted on almost every major business decision. It is understood that intelligent use of IT and digital technology will lead to better products and services, more efficient delivery of them, and a more productive way to sell them.
However according to a PwC survey we read, not all companies have modernised to this extent. The survey reported that 28% of IT chiefs say they are not involved in setting overall business strategy, despite wanting to be. For those in this camp—here are some tips from our IT business experts on how you can make the transition from a traditional IT manager to technology strategist.
Make sure basic IT runs smoothly
If anyone is going to listen to your ground-breaking technology idea, laptops need to be working, software needs to be up to date, patches need to happen automatically, and day to day IT needs from staff need to be met. These things are usually best covered by an Managed Service Provider or an IT company with a help desk, so find one that suits your style and company’s budget – and start using them for holiday cover if nothing else. Eventually they will need to manage all basic IT.
Understand your business and its market
You are going to need to have a deep understanding of your product or service, how it is delivered and your organisation’s competitive set if you are to find technological opportunities. Get studying.
Trial sector-specific software
Beyond basic IT, your job is to equip your company with software and hardware that can provide efficiencies and a competitive edge. Trial the latest sector-specific software and make recommendations as to which may have a big impact on productivity.
Go to the cloud
If you haven’t already moved to the cloud, put this on your list. As part of having a first-class IT infrastructure, you will likely find it necessary to move many IT services to the cloud. And you need to have a first-class infrastructure before you can start venturing into overall business strategy.
Ensure you have a disaster recovery and business continuity plan
This is a very important box to tick. Any ideas you come up with will be undermined if the company’s IT meets disaster. If you don’t already have disaster recovery mechanisms in place, hire an Managed Service Provider to do the job.
Brainstorm, research & think outside the box
Finally, when all your IT housekeeping is done, find out the long-term objectives of your organisation. To contribute to the overall business strategy, you will need to know what the end game is. Steady growth? IPO? Private investment? New markets? Then immerse yourself in new technology news, blogs, start-up circles and products. It will only be a matter of time before you see something that will add brilliantly to overall business strategy.
BTA is a leading managed service provider in London, covering SMEs across the UK and internationally. With a strong focus on outsourced IT—offered in both flexible and comprehensive options, BTA is the ideal managed service provider for companies looking to gain a competitive edge through IT. Learn more at www.bta.com.