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.

6 Critical IT Operation Mistakes A CXO Should Avoid

A CFO friend of mine, Robert, just told me that he lost two senior IT managers to their largest competitor two weeks ago. The story was no different than the ones we hear from many CXOs struggling to retain highly-qualified techs. It’s a trend many human resource people know all too well. After listening to Robert describe his manpower dilemma, here’s what I’d like to advise for CXOs-alike to consider for IT staffing and operation.

Ignoring Lurking IT Recruiters

Every CXO understands the pressure of maintaining qualified technicians to manage their networks. But one of the biggest mistakes I see all too often is companies under-estimating the global demand for seasoned techs.

With aggressive head hunters actively recruiting IT contractors to help companies of all sizes fill their job positions, even your most senior techs are one offer away from giving their notice.

I recommend you invest in creating an outsourcing back up plan. It’s far easier than you think. Many of our clients have begun migrating some of their infrastructure to third party providers to protect their networks. Don’t forget your biggest asset is people. If your senior IT managers are whisked away by better pay and benefits, you’ll no doubt suffer months trying to vet qualified replacements.

Giving Your IT Department A Mulligan

I know what you’re thinking. How can you hold your IT staffers accountable for network problems if you’re not well-versed in how technology drives your business?

Essentially, ignoring the capital you invest in your technology is no different than writing a blank check. Too many technicians consider themselves exempt from cost controls and financial accountability.

Instead, I recommend meeting with your IT department managers. Ask them to develop quarterly capital expenditure projections. Next, track their progress every week. Are there vendors they can shop for hardware and software offering better discounts? You need to stop paying full retail every time your IT gurus advise you to invest in upgrades.

Buying Technology

Smart CXOs are beginning to understand how technology is no longer considered an asset.

In Robert’s case, they were investing more than $25,000 per month in technology upgrades that became obsolete within one year. Many companies experience similar issues as most hardware and softwares have a shelf life of 18 months. Although some organizations invest in Apple OS products which offer better operating value (3-5 years), they commonly do not employ Apple-qualified technicians.

I advise my clients to consider leasing technology rather than owning it. Yes, you’ll probably invest more money long-term. However, you’ll benefit with far fewer tech problems. For instance, instead of investing in a web server (hardware and software), securing it, creating regular backups on another server, etc, choosing a web hosting service will provide a cost-effective and more secure solution.

Isolating Your Accountants and IT Departments

Years ago my partners and I had an idea. What if we schedule monthly meetings with our accounting department and IT team? Our goal was develop an open line of communication between them to develop strict technology cost controls.

Next, we formulated a negotiation protocol to leverage lower IT costs from our vendors. It takes time. However, I promise you it can help you cut expenses.

Ignoring Cloud-Based Opportunities

Does your company have an IT plan written in stone? If so, consider trashing it. Too many CXOs stick with one game plan how they manage their technology resources. Big mistake.

For example, converting your user-based demands to a Cloud system will free up resources. It’s ideal for companies with more than 10 employees running multiple softwares.

Banking Outages Won’t Happen

Last June, suffered a one week outage crippling their business. An external denial-of-service (DDoS) hack rendered their systems useless. One day after discovering the problem, hackers causing the security breech tried extorting money from executives to restore their systems. Read the full story.

Put an outage recovery plan on paper. Meet with your IT managers and core executives to discuss a restoration plan. It’s not if it will happen but when.

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.