Value Trends Are Changing the Way IT Managers think

Are your IT managers growing or going? As in, do they have the skill set to assign value chains to your company’s technology infrastructure and how it generates revenue?

Business is purely driven by revenue. How you grow your client and customer base has a direct impact on your profitability. But are you monitoring how your IT department prioritizes maintaining and upgrading your digital assets? If not, we recommend you consider retooling how your team understands their role to grow your profits.

What is Value Chain?

Simply put, value chain modeling is teaching your technology support staff to appreciate how their role impacts revenue generation. If you’re a CIO, ask yourself the following questions:

• Are my IT staffers engaged with our sales department?
• Do my marketing and sales departments have the tools to do their jobs?
• Am I overlooking ways to integrate profitability into my IT department?

The problem facing many executives is a hierarchy disconnect between revenue-producing managers and IT technicians. It’s something companies of all size suffer.

But why? Often we see this trend happen because of traditional business organizational planning. For instance, do you meet at least once per month with both IT and sales managers? If not, you’re missing out on opportunities to pinpoint how your IT gurus can enhance how salespeople drive revenue.

Change Your Communication Protocols

Too many companies follow rigid communication standards they learned decades ago. We understand it’s not easy to integrate your IT staff into your other departments. IT techs do the brunt of work keeping your network operating. Often, they work either remotely or in spaces designed to separate them from your revenue-producing staffers.

However, value chain modeling is designed to tear down traditional walls of communication. Then rebuild them to teach your mid-to-senior-level managers to collaborate for one vision: use your digital assets to increase revenue. Remember, your IT department controls how productive your sales, marketing and service agents are in their daily routines. The more you develop a company-wide mandate to share better ways to do business the better your IT managers will understand how their efforts impact users and more importantly, revenues.

Embracing value chains takes time. But more importantly, it requires an executive-level commitment to tear down the walls which separate your team members. We recommend you first start by meeting with your IT department management. Ask them for their ideas how to maximize your IT for improved revenue generation. Give them unlimited freedom to speak their minds without fear of reprisals or worse, their jobs.

Business scale and value chains are interconnected. Thus, no ideas to enhance your revenue and productivity are bad. Instead, they are precursors to develop a team approach to discover better methods to maximize your technology, production, marketing and sales departments into one collective effort to grow your organization and your revenue.

The 2015 Digital Disruption: Is Your Business Growing or Going?


A recent Forrester Research study announced some of the biggest technology challenges CIOs are facing in 2015. After discussing their findings among our senior IT staff, we developed an internal memo we plan to implement here at to stay ahead of these new trends.

Face it. If your business isn’t growing to meet consumer demands in the digital community, you’re going to lose business. What are some the trends smart CIOs and their IT teams are implementing?

Business Technology (BT)

Do your senior executives fully understand what it is? Most companies are comprised of two types of executives. First are seasoned managers who have years and perhaps decades of expertise building organizations using traditional formulas. Ones such as global business strategy and executive leadership.

The second group are executives who understand the impact technology has in consumer patterns of engagement with their brands.

Digital disruption isn’t just one trend. Instead, Forrester Research suggests it’s a combination of technology preferences your customers prefer when they interact and then make purchasing decisions.

But how do you pinpoint areas within your company where investing in business technology will provide a strong ROI?

Start With Customer-Focused Models

With the competition to not only retain your customer base but also grow it in 2015, we recommend doing a full-scale analysis of your customer experience. Start with these areas and evaluate your current processes:

  1. Engagement
  2. User experience (Continuous Business Services)
  3. Merging IT with new profit centers

Engagement & User Experience

How can you embrace new ways of using digital communication to engage your customers? Start by asking you department managers to meet twice per month.

Develop new guidelines to merge both sales, marketing and IT department personnel to improve how each of their areas of expertise can improve customer engagement.

For example, your salespeople are trained to seek out and overcome prospect objections. What if your sales managers met with your IT department to engineer better ways of educating prospects on your company brand?

With the proliferation of online video, consumers now expect your company to provide them with online video solutions. By engaging your prospects and customers using video, you also develop marketing messages which can be used for alternative new business development.

Include your marketing team’s responsibilities in your planning. By integrating these three departments (sales, IT and marketing) you will be in a better position to generate actionable digital solutions to enhance your customer engagement experiences.

Continuous Business Services

Forrester defines continuous business services as thin layers of technology which support the cadence variations every business experiences.

For instance, have you reviewed your customer follow up processes lately? Are they updated bi-annually? If not, you’re missing out on new methods of helping your customers realize they are vital and appreciated to your core business.

Need proof?

Think They not only update their customers on the status of purchases and shipments but they also provide exceptional customer service. Who hasn’t needed to speak with a live human being from time-to-time when shopping? Do you hate to wait? So does Amazon.

To make life easier for their customers, Amazon offers a call me back now button on their service page. Enter your telephone number and click the ‘call me now’ button. Seconds later, one of their service representatives are dialing your number.

Merging IT With New Profit Centers

Who hasn’t seen advertising preaching to buy local? Amazon sure did and made a decision in 2014 to invest.

Instead of relying on third-party shipping providers, Amazon developed their own distribution chain to roll out Amazon Fresh. Although only offered in select cities in California, shoppers can now order fresh produce and have it delivered by Amazon deliver the same day. Because Amazon already dominates the shopping industry, they used their marketing and IT prowess to capitalize on an under-served niche.

Are your CIOs and IT department brainstorming new markets to infiltrate? We advise you to consider tearing down your company decision-making protocols. Then rebuild them by integrating digital managers with sales, marketing and service personnel to pinpoint new profit centers to target.

If your core business and limited staff thwart your ability to grow into new markets, consider outsourcing your IT resources to free up your organization to focus on growth.


Evaluating Your IT Department? Take This Checklist!

The role of information systems professionals in the modern workplace is rapidly evolving as cloud solutions provide more affordable options. Businesses of all sizes are now evaluating their IT needs in order to determine whether they are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible.

IT expertise is more important than ever, since businesses rely on their applications and devices to conduct business each day. But automation has also made it possible to operate with minimal staff, which is good news for smaller businesses with limited budgets. As you work to evaluate your own IT department, here’s an all-inclusive checklist for your consideration.

Security and Network Support

The security of your data, applications, and websites is crucial to your success as a business. One data breach can cost your business thousands of dollars in fines and loss of customers, as well as damaging the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build. As you evaluate your IT department, take a careful look at your security as a top priority.

„       Anti-malware measures—Are measures in place to make sure your servers and devices are safe from malware and hacking attempts?

„       Employee education—Does your business actively work to educate employees on the importance of responsible online behavior and password management?

„       Disaster recovery—Is a Disaster Recovery Plan in place to protect your business?

Application Support and Security

If your employees access in-house applications in the course of conducting their work, those applications must also be protected and supported.

„       Password management—How are passwords issued and managed for your applications? Is immediate help available when employees need a password reset or issued?

„       Training and support—Is training available for new employees? If an employee has a problem using the application, is that help available? Are employees satisfied with the level of support they’re receiving?

„        Upgrades and bug fixes—Can employees report issues with the application? If so, how quickly are they resolved?

Desktop Support

Once the backbone of an organization’s IT department, desktop support has dwindled in recent years. Thanks to remote desktop software, support can be outsourced and conducted by phone or live chat. Is this support sufficient?

„       Problem resolution—If an employee experiences difficulty with a system, how is support provided? Are employees satisfied with the quality and turnaround time of this service?

„       On-Site support—When new equipment must be set up or hardware problems are reported, is on-site support available? Are employees satisfied with the quality and turnaround time of this service?

This checklist can help you determine what changes you need to make in your IT department, if any. Whether you decide to maintain current staffing levels, to outsource, or to increase the quality or quantity of your IT staff, a checklist can help decide where you’ve been and where you should go next.

CFOs and CIOs can keep up with Business’ growth with Cloud Computing, discovers Deloitte report

The latest issue of CFO Insights from Deloitte investigates the role of cloud computing and focuses on the benefits and decision-making concerns offered by transitioning to this new technology environment.The assessment from Deloitte’s report addresses technology decision-makers, notably the CIOs and CFOs, who will soon need to face the reality that they need to transition their organization’s computing technology, it services, and data to “the cloud”. As cloud computing technology attains wider usage, more businesses will soon have to deal with the decision to shift from an on-premises technology setting to a cloud based one.The idea of cloud computing has prevailed for a long time. The basic premise behind it is that the business can outsource daily management of resources on a need-only basis, identical to buying utility services, such as water and power. However, one crucial factor is that the cloud computing resources are delivered over the Internet.

The Deloitte report underlines the need to have a productive working relationship between the CFO and CIO. The decision to embrace cloud computing is broader in scope than just the information technology department. The CFO can strategize cloud computing to execute financial objectives, and at the same time create a risk intelligent culture. The CIO can increase the visibility of the technology department as an esteemed part of the organization.

Cloud resources can broadly be classified into these four categories: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Most individuals assume SaaS to be the only cloud computing resource, which involves the administering of software applications on demand. The software applications can range from email, backup and file storage solutions to customer relationship management (CRM) and financial applications.

However, there are other use cases for cloud computing. For example, PaaS is used a software development platform to develop new applications, whereas IaaS is used an on-demand hardware resource platform.

The Deloitte report advocates the introspection of relative costs and benefits of different cloud resources before taking the decision. Most organizations reserve the use of cloud computing to low-risk projects, or tasks ideally unsuitable for on-premises technology.

The most cited benefit by various CFOs and CIOs in their interviews is the flexibility that cloud computing offers; it can scale and react to technology changes very quickly. Significant reduction in infrastructure costs and IT support staff requirements are also a few of the other benefits cited.

However, the CFOs and CIOs also raised a few concerns in their interviews regarding the safety and reliability of using cloud computing. Is the data safe? Where is it stored? Is the data backed up? What should a business do when it needs to shift from one cloud technology provider to another? These are all the questions that are asked frequently an organization before embracing cloud computing.

Nevertheless, the CFOs and CIOs also reported that cloud vendors are more likely to provide higher levels of performance and better security. The vendors have to perform as their business depends on it; if they fail to provide a good service, then they will lose all their clients and reputability.

The report recommends the business to assess its technology needs in the context of its purpose and needs. As the business changes and evolves, the technology also needs to keep up with it. By evaluating the business’ administrative concerns and how the availability of cloud technology will influence the organization, the CFOs and CIOs can make sure that their business transits fluently into a cloud computing environment.

If you’re interested in learning how can help your business save money by utilizing cloud services, be sure to reference our cloud computing consulting services.

A Storm of Money Coming to the Cloud

One way to tell if something is going to get bigger is to see how large companies are willing to invest in it.  These companies don’t care about fads; they are in for the long haul return on investment.  IBM and are together are increasing their cloud infrastructure by 4.5 billion dollars.

Salesforce is buying Exactarget for a 2.5 billion dollar price tag.  The move is thought to allow the company to have a deeper reach into ad revenue on social media sites.  One study cited claims that by 2017, marketing departments will spend more on technology than CIOs.

IBM on the other hand, is buying Softlayer.  Softlayer specializes in building in-house cloud servers.  This acquisition will help IBM shore up the gap in its current cloud service line-up.  Don’t think it’s worth it?  Well, IBM think it’s worth 2 billion dollars.

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