Is your IT strategy cohesive across your entire business?
In a previous blog post, we talked about the role of IT strategy and how it has changed over time. We described how to move up from a Reactive break-fix model and through the IT Pyramid to increasingly use your IT to drive value in your business.
What happens with an incohesive strategy?
Recently, we discovered a case where part of the business was still in break-fix mode, while other parts of the business had moved into higher levels of IT efficacy.
This situation underlines the importance of having someone on your IT team that has one eye on business strategy and the other on the future. Without that, an incohesive IT strategy could be holding your company back. We talked about this role in this blog post.
Here’s a great example how a CIO, or in our case a vCIO (virtual Chief Intelligence Officer), can have a comprehensive overview of both your technology and your business to move your whole company in the right direction.
Moving on from a break-fix model
Take the example of one of our current Manufacturing clients. While this client had newer machines in their front offices, they had much older machines on their shop floor. These machines had older operating systems and had been kept alive for years using a series of band-aids and cannibalized parts. Understandably, for a long time, it was difficult for the company to justify replacing these old machines that only had one purpose or task but could still be made to work for that task…most of time.
Over time, as the technology got older, the band-aids would fall off more quickly…and what happened when those computers went down? Catastrophe! It would take many hours to get those older machines back up and running and then, the band-aids used to fix it would fall off more quickly and the machine would go down again. In the meantime, the work on the shop floor in this area would grind to a halt, causing all sorts of other issues throughout the line.
In this case, the break-fix IT strategy for the shop floor was not helpful to the business; additionally, it could hinder the upcoming IT strategy of the front office.
Looking toward the future
The front office at this client was thinking ahead and looking toward the future. They knew that, within the next few years, they wanted to move to a new ERP system that would better handle their overall business complexities. Unfortunately, the shop floor machines were not only causing issues with the current system, but they wouldn’t be compatible with future ERP upgrades.
Luckily, our service provides this client with a Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) to help them look toward the future with a complete overview of the business. Tom, their vCIO, reviewed their business and technology needs and issues. Looking at their technology with one eye on their business strategy and the other on the future, Tom was able to make the appropriate technical recommendations that would allow their whole business to continue to look ahead. His solution included recommendations for both the shop floor and the front office. It limited costs, decreased down time, allowed flexibility and, most importantly, replaced the older hardware that was causing so many issues.
Why a vCIOs role is so important
It’s easy for a sales person to push new and exciting solutions on a company by telling them this is the latest and greatest and they simply must have it. But a vCIO’s work is much more challenging. A vCIO actually listens to a client’s needs (including budgeting), puts those needs first, and devises a plan that not only works for the client today, but will also work well into the future – a solution that solves today’s problems, while getting them ready for tomorrow.
For more information on how to improve your organization’s IT strategy, contact us for a free consultation: