Reducing your Frustration with Technology
There is no doubt that business executives dealing with Information Technology have more than a few frustrations. That’s why we’ve identified five of the more frustrating aspects of Technology Management along with some suggestions for dealing with them.
Successful use of technology will generate great benefits for a business.
Frustration 1: IT is complicated.
This is a big field of study with many specialties and complex language. There is hardware for networking, point of sale and workers (PC/laptop/tablet/smartphone). There is software for order management, customer management, financial management, marketing, manufacturing and the list goes on.
Each of these items needs to work together flawlessly to ensure smooth business operations. The best way to do this is with software packages that connect to each other either through integrations that are native to the software or by being bundled together into a suite or line-of-business package. These software packages should be well integrated so they eliminate entering data from one system into another. Using a Cloud-based platform is one way to address the issue. These systems perform all of their operations on equipment located in the Cloud using an internet connection for access. This approach can reduce cost, improve system interoperability and increase user access.
Frustration 2: IT takes time to learn.
Learning anything new takes time. To quote a line from the Manhattan Transfer “First you crawl then you walk, scat then you talk.” The learning curve for all the technology your business uses could take years!
The best way to manage this is to have qualified IT staff (either in-house or outsourced). Finding and keeping IT staff can be expensive because the best practitioners have multiple opportunities and it is a very competitive marketplace. Additionally, there is no guarantee that the person you hire can perform all the parts of the job well. One way of addressing this is by hiring an outsourced IT firm for support and advice. They constantly train and develop their staff and are knowledgeable about the latest technology and how it can improve your business.
Frustration 3: IT practitioners speak a “funny” kind of English if it is English at all.
After all, what is a “subnet” and what do “octets” have to do with them? Why should I care if about the API and that we need to add another one? If the data cache is full just empty it, right? Technicians have their own language to describe their universe and understanding them can be difficult.
Many technicians have not developed the skills to translate technology concepts into business language. Project management skills are often lacking so many businesses now have a new position called “business relationship management” to help fill the gap. A business relationship manager is conversant in technology and its language and equally conversant in the language of business, finance and operations. This role is unique because it requires a foot in both worlds. Some companies hired a CIO (Chief Information Officer) to perform this service but smaller business would typically use an outsourced technology management advisor for this role.
Frustration 4: Security gets in the way of access.
Security is essential because it is critical to keeping your intellectual property, financial information and employee private data safe. To keep sensitive data safe, you must make it difficult to access. One approach is restricting user access by accounts, device, location and perhaps even the time of day. You may have to issue different user IDs and passwords for various systems that have different naming conventions and password security requirements. Single Sign On across multiple applications and platforms may solve the problems with multiple passwords. Another option gaining traction is multifactor authentication.
Unfortunately security can sap valuable time and resources. What frustrates executives is the fact that there can be no rock-solid assurance the business is totally secure.
Frustration 5: IT can be expensive.
Most organizations view the cost of IT as all of the equipment acquisition, licenses, leases and salaries. Costs such as operating power, cooling, the square footage used and other below-the line costs (link to Iceberg) are often not factored in. The costs that come from outages, application issues and misconfiguration errors are often overlooked too. These costs can be identified and managed with someone who understands the link between technology and business success.
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