This month has been significant in terms of the way business leaders have come to me for advice on getting the best technology results.
As I reflect, I realize that there were two distinctly different ways in which people reached out to me.
The first was a business owner that was looking to advance his manufacturing system.
He has a great Business Analyst on staff. The young man is perfectly qualified to help take his business to the next level. He'll analyze what users are doing and implement changes in the software, ultimately making the processes more efficient. He is also capable of implementing other software, like a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, that they don't have yet.
The staff member only has one problem: He can't get to any of the strategic work because he's so busy working on the day-to-day information technology support issues.
It's awesome that the business owner realized that his company can't get where he wants it to go unless he gets IT support off of the analyst's plate. What a payoff this company will get in the near future!
The second engagement I was involved in was with a firm of about 120 users and no IT staff (internal or external). The company had been using a one-man IT support company that would react to the requests of the users, but that was about it.
IT was not a strategic department, but basically a necessary evil.
The system had grown over the last 15 years with no management or planning. The entire organization was performing daily tasks in a "work-around" fashion. I listened as the department managers explained the steps they go through just to do basic business. The business owners didn't let this IT situation happen on purpose - they just didn't know any better.
As I began explaining how to manage and advance IT, they began to see the light.
These two examples of IT value couldn't be farther from each other. One owner sees that investment in IT and IT resources can give him a competitive advantage. The other hadn't even thought about IT, let alone investing in it.
I'm glad I got the opportunity to spend time with both of these folks. What an awesome experience to see and help them firsthand.