CIO and CTO leadership can help improve IT management and standards in organizations of any size.
The approach to problem solving and solution delivery directly tie to credibility. I mentioned that much of this within IT is as much an educational challenge than anything. What do I mean? Well, when a network admin is attempting to function as a business analyst or software evaluator, this is out of their knowledge area and comfort zone. The network admin may have no understanding of formal project processes, not see any need to follow any process, and not have any desire to do so.
In small businesses, IT is stretched to cover many areas of expertise. So in our example, a network admin may be asked to develop programs, run a project, and evaluate software. These three items require, at the very least, a slowed down, organized thinking, documented approach before delivery. Remember, I mentioned that IT is much like the medical industry in that there are many areas of expertise. You’re not going to see a podiatrist (foot doctor if you don’t know) for a heart-related issue. Yet, in small businesses, we ask our IT folks to assign the podiatrist to a cardio issue. That is the reality of small businesses and IT within small businesses.
In our small businesses, we may hire network admins and call them IT managers. What is often missing is the manager piece. We ask and expect these folks to be managers but in many cases, they are not equipped to do so, simply because they have not had the experience at that level. It doesn’t mean they can’t and don’t learn, but the learning may be slow because of the number of opportunities that are presented. The manager must have a broader understanding of IT and how it relates to a company’s day to day operational needs. This is especially true for small businesses and mid-sized businesses.
How can this be rectified? What are the options available to small businesses that can help overcome this challenge? Well, most of these small companies cannot afford full-time IT leadership. In other words, the executive level and vision cannot be supported on a full-time basis. These companies need someone to assist in this area, but at an affordable price structure. They need the strategic vision, leadership, to help move their IT into a lean organization and provide experienced leadership much needed for the small business units. They need someone to lay that foundation for their IT organization that can be used across all knowledge areas of IT.
What is available is CIO and CTO leadership through managed services. What is available is the sharing of this leadership across many companies which keep the costs at a minimal for the small businesses. These folks develop a strategy for your business organization, develop improved IT integration throughout your business organization by having a strong business knowledge, and the knowledge of how IT can provide improved working environments and processes.
As businesses are required to do more and do more with less, on a global scale, they must look to how they can source their business needs, yet keep their costs at a minimum. Managed services, and more specifically, executive level of CIO and CTO managed services, delivers on that requirement. YOU can have a BIG IT capabilities, yet with a small IT footprint. You can have your technology needs met every day, yet without hiring that full-time staff to deliver functionality at every knowledge area within IT. Small businesses today must consider having that strategic IT assessment of their organization, allowing their business to shore up the weak areas and broaden the knowledge areas in support of business growth, thus taking the business to the top of its game and into the future.