Tag Archives: direct selling IT

Information Technology….According to Kris

Philosophy

  • Technology is not there for IT’s sake….it’s there to support the business
  • In any IT decision, provide 3 options and the cost/benefit of each.  Let the business decide
  • High quality customer service is MANDATORY from IT at all times
  • Use the right tool for the right job.  ALWAYS.
  • Making a mistake is better than not making a decision
  • In making a mistake, fix it, move on and don’t do it again
  • It’s okay to change your mind.  Revisit and re-assess often
  • Have a strategy
  • Always have a plan….short term, long term and always, ALWAYS have a plan B!
  • Study your user community; how much do they know, how do they work, how do they learn, how do they communicate
  • Like it or not, you’re in sales
  • Roll up your sleeves and get dirty when necessary
  • Wear a lot of hats
  • IT requires more creativity than you think
  • The devil is in the details

People

  • Put 100% trust in your staff and  hire very carefully
  • You can teach people technology, but you can’t teach them to have a good attitude and work ethic (well at least I can’t)
  • Require and cultivate a “right hand man” or a trusted “go to” person from your team.  This person can do everything you can do (in most cases better)
  • Multiple brains are always better than a  single brain
  • If there is a mistake made, it’s my responsibility, if there’s a job well done, it was the team
  • Put a good organizational structure in place where everyone has a backup and everyone has a growth path
  • Believe in a matrix organization….everyone is cross trained and everyone has a back-up (DON’T use matrix style as an excuse for a bad organizational structure)
  • Problem solving is a key skill in the IT department and the organization.  It’s IT’s job to teach these skills to the organization
  • Don’t expect anyone to do anything you wouldn’t do
  • Sometimes qualified expertise will get paid more than you do.  Deal with it.
  • IT people work 24×7.  Deal with that too.

Environment

  • It’s nice to have the biggest and best technology, but it’s not a requirement to be successful
  • Cost IS an object!
  • Pretty is nice….but functional is better
  • Buy vs. build is an analysis process that HAS to be done.  Assuming one or the other is wrong
  • Outsourcing is a viable strategy and needs to be applied wherever possible and appropriate
  • Vendor management is critical.  Create partnerships, not vendor/supplier relationships
  • Negotiate hard but do not squeeze every last dime out of deal.  Both sides have to have benefit from the relationship
  • Centralize IT management and systems control (can you say “control freak”?)
  • Don’t go anywhere without a white board (or two)
  • Establish and follow hardware and software standards
  • Have easy to follow request procedures for your users
  • IT is responsible for anything with a power cord
  • Use AUTOMATION wherever possible and reasonable
  • In a vendor relationship, the system may belong to the vendor but the data always (ALWAYS) belongs to the customer

Communications

  • Over communicate with your clients and user community
  • Study your users and communicate the way they want you to
  • Training and teaching people how to help themselves is a value in any organization (particularly when it comes to IT)
  • Companies require collaborative tools that allow them to work from wherever they are
  • Be accessible and provide escalations for technical issues

Data

  • ALL companies should have a master data warehouse or data repository.  You can’t run a business without it.  This is a HUGE priority!
  • Data should be EASILY accessible by all groups and divisions within an organization…not just IT
  • Data should be protected with all the appropriate business rules, security and strategies
  • Data grows with the organization….data management can start small but there must be a strategy in place to handle it as it grows
  • Robust Integration and data management is CRITICAL.  Dedicated resources need to be assigned to manage both.
  • STRONGLY believe in data warehousing, business intelligence and/or decision support

Technology

  • I believe Microsoft is a successful standard for business software
  • Open source is appropriate for some applications, use the right tool for the job
  • Systems integrations, systems auditing and reconciliation are key priorities in any transaction oriented business
  • Technology should be a corresponding size and scale for the business size and scale
  • Have a collaboration server and central document library with check in and check out
  • Always get the maintenance agreement
  • Always read the book
  • Someone has solved the same problem you have already.  Don’t recreate the wheel
  • Keep up

Policy and Procedures

  • Put IT Governance in place.  Make it efficient.  Make it understandable
  • I believe in correctly licensing all software
  • Security should be appropriate to the organization and not overwhelming
  • Contracts are there for a reason
  • Stay up to date with regulatory compliance

What’s wrong with my technology team… and how did they get this way??

I had the pleasure of being the guest speaker on the Women’s Power Circle call last night.  (Thank you Michele!)

There are so many really good topics of conversation for the use of technology in a direct selling business, but I chose to talk about how to improve communications with your internal technology team or with your vendor.   I tried to put a good business spin on the subject so no one glazed over with too much “geek speak”.  Hope I hit the mark.

Thanks for the great reception ladies!

Here is the presentation….

(The Women’s Power Circle is a networking group of women executives in the Direct Selling industry.  Leveraging their combined experience, they work together to build stronger and more successful companies.  Once a month they have a guest speaker on various topics of current or critical interest for the industry.  (If you would like to join, please email Michele McDonough at mmcdon4946@aol.com or request membership on Facebook.)