r query, is IT a business function or a strategic asset?
- My response it, it depends. If you operate a low tech business and utilize the basics, such as a website, Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, desktops, laptops, and a small server, then IT is a business function. If you use CRM software to track all potential and current customer contacts, database software to crunch numbers and find trends in data that your firm exploits, an intranet to more effectively communicate with employees, then your IT is or can be a strategic asset.
- I primarily work with small to mid-sized firms that do not have full-time CIOs or CTOs unless the firm is a technology-based firm i.e., IT services or software development. Instead, the COO handles IT. However, in a few cases the company has hired a part-time CIO when it has decided that it can separate itself from its competitors by thoroughly analyzing data to do one or more of the following: 1) add minor variations to products that cost the company almost nothing but creates significant value for specific customers; 2) categorize and differentiate service offerings; 3) streamline operations and reduce costs, helping the company to be more cost competitive or, better yet, to increase its margins on existing products and services. In these cases, the part-time CIO was an integral part of strategic and operational discussions.