Technology is often an intimidating force within companies, rather than a source of enhanced productivity and improved morale among employees. The problem is that “technology” encompasses many things, some quite specialized, involving a separate form of communication and purpose that is foreign to most executives.
In this regard, technology is the exclusive domain of a handful of experts, who are fluent in code, proficient in a language all their own, as they operate in seclusion – as a matter of fact, and as an example of a breakdown in office culture – from a company in its entirety.
Simply stated, this scenario removes the information from information technology (IT). Solving this challenge by emphasizing and revealing the importance of IT, while simultaneously saving businesses money to run this practice (without compromising quality), should be a top priority for all companies.
This exercise makes technology the ally of information, which allows executives to manage this process by assigning independent experts to provide managed IT services. Meaning: Technology is no longer confusing, complex and time-consuming; it is, instead, a gateway to efficiency, savings and a symbol of leadership.
Concerning the last point, an executive leads by choosing when and where to act. So, if technology is not his or her area of concentration, the best thing that executive can do – and the most effective way to maximize the power of IT – is to defer to a managed services provider.
I offer these words (which are the basis of a previous column) from experience and my own professional expertise, where I am the Founder and President of My Instant Guru (www.myinstantguru.com), which delivers managed IT services and other forms of vendor support.
Emphasize the Information in Information Technology
My emphasis on IT is not about savings per se, though that it is a welcome reward (to business owners) for selecting the right managed services provider. Rather, my interest, which is independent of any financial pursuit, is a personal one: I am a fan of technology – it is my passion and a constant throughout my life – so I believe every so-called expert must explain the value and necessity of technology in general and IT in particular.
This responsibility is a duty for executives and IT administrators alike because the former must become conversant in this critical area of business, while the latter (either as in-house employees or managed services providers) must make the informational component of technology, well, informative.
And therein lies the universal principle every executive should honor and every business should promote: Make information intelligible, so a company understands the value of a particular service and clients appreciate the existence of a specific resource. In a word: Educate.
Education is also a sign of respect, something every customer wants, and the most immediate display of a company's values. For, a commitment to knowledge – the dedication to information – proves that a business takes nothing for granted, that its most senior executives take the time to explain the purpose of each investment and decision. These individuals translate the complex into the commonplace, giving us a popular vernacular we can appreciate and share with others.
Which brings me to an addendum or a qualification, of sorts. While I encourage executives to defer to the expertise and convenience of a managed IT provider, I do not mean to suggest deference is a synonym for surrender or dismissal and indifference. On the contrary, a leader must explain – and defend, if necessary – his or her policies, since “Because” is too terse and arrogant to be a declarative statement worthy of acceptance or respect.
Making IT the “It” Thing to Do: Explain, Repeat and Respond
If IT is to move beyond the physical outskirts of a corporate office, and if it is to assume its rightful place at the forefront of a company's online visibility and brand identity, then IT must become the “it” thing for executives to do. In other words, the onus is on business leaders to become great communicators: People who can educate and explain, converting the language of technology into a story about success.
An executive must take all those ones and zeros, which, collectively, constitute the tapestry of the Internet and the manner by which IT operates, and make this material relevant and exciting.
A managed services provider is the answer to savings and increased productivity, but the passion for IT — that must be a passion for everyone. It is mine, to be sure, but to make it something more, something better; that passion emerges from education, explanation, repetition and responsiveness. Always inform your audience, so you may always capture their attention. Show them the technology, but highlight the priceless information technology possesses.
That formula is a guide for business success and executive leadership for every company.
Michael Hosey is the Founder and President of My Instant Guru(www.myinstantguru.com), a leading provider of managed IT services, innovative technology solutions and other customized vendor resources.
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