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Technology for senior executives

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The days of accountants and business leaders defining and driving company strategy is behind us. Success in business depends now more on being aware of technology opportunities and on making the right decisions with regard to technology investment – as well as having the correct technology guidance and support. All too often, my experience with many clients is that they come to me to supply a chosen solution to meet their needs.

On assessing this, I often find that either the solution sold to them is not appropriate for what they want, or that there is a better solution fit out there. Both of these scenarios point to lack of awareness of the technology market as well as just simple bad advice from their trusted adviser.

And surprisingly, when these shortcomings are pointed out, great reluctance is encountered in getting the executive decision changed. It appears that some organisations prefer to spend considerable amounts of money on the wrong solution – rather than challenge the executive status quo.

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Some generic guidance to CEOs with regard to technology includes asking the following questions. How well is the current technology strategy working? Meet with departmental heads as well as select users to identify any bottlenecks or issues. Technology should enable efficiencies is all areas of the company – from customer facing duties, to financial management.

Are employees and senior staff enabled to be as efficient as possible in their daily work? It is counterproductive (although all too sadly common) for senior managers to have over-specced machines and the fastest bandwidth, whilst the account clerks, for example, struggle daily to be able to carry out financial processes due to a combination of old devices and slow networks. Efficiency in every area is key.

Another question to ask is whether customers have the proper tools to be able to access your services. Examples of this are online banking and mobile money applications that have resulted in massive growth of the financial services industry. Customers drive business, therefore providing the best customer experience ensures ongoing success. If you do not know how your customers feel about your services, think about carrying out an online or premises based satisfaction survey. This should give pointers to the way your strategy should develop.

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And the most important question a CEO should ask is – how skilled and capable is the organisations IT management or Information Officer. Does s/he understand the company? How knowledgeable are they on the latest technologies? For example, cloud and mobile services are currently dominating the race for efficiencies and profits in all industries. From banks, to distribution, services and the retail industry, these technologies provide new opportunities and greater efficiencies. A simple solution is to ask your Information Officer to do a presentation to the board on just these two areas. Their knowledge and ability to work with these technologies will quickly become apparent.

As an Information Officer or executive technology decision maker, the article above should be a wakeup call. Questions to ask include how proactive your role is in your organisation. If you believe you are only there in a reactive role, and to resolve issues as they arise, you need to re-consider your relevance to your company. Google CIO Ben Fried says – “I cannot remember a time when there was so much change happening at such a rapid pace in so many parts of the technology landscape.”

On another note – Windows 10 – which we have strongly supported throughout its launch last month – has now reached 75million users worldwide – with 14 million upgrades occurring during the first 24 hours of release! If you are still sitting on the fence – check out our Facebook Page – Windows 10 in Malawi and look out for our series of introductory courses in the next few weeks, which will also include separate courses for Executive Managers.

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