In order to be able to provide the knowledge and service you need when looking for IT business solutions, I make sure to keep my ears and eyes open to whats going on in our networking world. I've been thinking lately about the changing roles of Chief Information Officers and other IT network admins, such as this Information Week article discusses. Practically overnight, business networks have gone from being an afterthought to being a major component of any organization's future plans.
So, if you're a CIO or otherwise in charge of your business's network decisions, how can you help make yourself a vital part of your organization's planning?
Let's take a look at some of the ways optimizing your network, and planning for future expansions, will ultimately help achieve all your business goals!
1 - Maintaining Network Uptime
A company's network is the lifeline that ultimately connects them to their customers and clients, especially if your company has begun moving onto Voice-over-IP systems. There's probably no single more vital aspect to the role of IT manager than keeping the network up at all times.
A solid, optimized network ultimately boosts productivity across your operations. Your employees are able to do their work more easily, and your customers can always reach the person they need.
2 - Providing Business Analytics
As that Informationweek article outlines, the roles of IT and marketing are becoming increasingly intertwined. Your CMO likely relies on the data and analytics coming from your servers, which now have data on everything from how many people visit your website, to exactly what interactions your existing clients have had with you.
Beyond marketing, these analytics have powerful predictive powers as well. You can easily report on usage trends, and make strong arguments for the sorts of network investments that will be needed a couple years down the line.
3 - Expanding As Your Company Grows
The role of a network in supporting your business's expansions cannot be understated either. As your business adds locations and employees, it's the CIO who's ultimately ensuring the hardware is always there when it's needed.
As such, we're finding -among our own clients- that IT administrators are increasingly being brought into earlier stages of planning. Suddenly, the question "will we be able to get the network we need?" has become vital when looking to new locations, especially overseas.
4 - Reporting On Customer Behavior
Since you're overseeing many of the main lines of communication between a business and its clients, you're in a position to report on their trends, behavior, and wishes for your company. If you have robust lines of communication in place on your website, you may have at least as much information about your clients as the CMO does.
This is another area in which CIOs can begin taking a more prominent leadership role. You now have the data necessary to have substantial and meaningful input into product development and direction.
5 - Ensuring Telecommunications Availability
Missed calls and other communications are likely one of the biggest causes of lost sales, and the CIO is in a position to ensure that doesn't happen. With smart hardware investments today, combined with an eye towards the future, you can keep the communications flowing throughout your system.
A robust network, with plenty of unified communications options for messaging, will ultimately boost sales as well as increasing client satisfaction.
The Changing Face Of Business
These are tumultuous times for businesses which are unused to making significant changes to their hierarchy. Business networks have become so vital to ongoing operations that they really cannot afford to ignore the potential contributions of IT administrators.
So, as a CIO or other IT boss, take a look at the information you have available. Chances are, you could be a far more valuable contributor to your organization, once you realize how much data you have to improve operations!
In the meantime, has your business begun looking into increasing CIO responsibilities? If so, why not tell us how that's working out for you, or what challenges you've had to surmount?