Tag Archives: Information Technology

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
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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.)

Virtual Training….A Modern Day “Must Have”

Here’s a brief article I wrote on training platforms for my friends at Direct Selling Mastery Group.  Check them out at http://www.directsellingmasterygroup.com.   (Unfortunately I was limited to 250 words.  As most of you know, that’s a near impossibility for me.  May be unfortunate for me, but the better for YOU!)

Virtual Training…A Modern Day “Must Have”

You wouldn’t treat a seasoned veteran consultant the same way you would a new recruit and vice-versa, right?  Strategic technology is a great way to meet the needs of the field at every major milestone in their development and for enhancing the growth of each individual team member.  The right technology recognizes and adapts to the consultant based on their longevity, activity level, training level and even information consumption rate.

A successful training delivery platform supports recruiting, retention and leader development through each stage in a consultant’s life cycle   It uses a more modern and consistent approach, replacing systems that often consist of disconnected emails, collections of PDFs and piecemeal videos.  The right training technology allows for the use of your content but delivered sequentially, successively and in a multi-media manner best suited to the user’s style.  Interactive assessments and accountability trackers instantly reward progress.   Tying results to an incentive or recognition program to enhance visibility and encourage participants via social media has big impact.

When you put a new consultant into a training system immediately, they not only learn the product, the selling system and the business opportunity but they learn that your company cares enough to provide the tools necessary to be successful.  They are much more connected, confident and likely to have earlier personal and economic success which naturally leads to obtaining that next level in the consultant life cycle.

Direct Selling Mastery Group
http://www.directsellingmasterygroup.com

Please take a quick survey and let me know how you are using training in your organization.  I’ll post the results here in the next couple of weeks.

Thanks!


Consultant Survivor

An old post….considered an “oldie, but a goodie!”   😉

So, you know how the show Survivor works??  Well… I got voted off the island last night.

The company that I was consulting for, in a bold but not unexpected move,  fired their CIO three weeks ago.  They immediately followed up with assessing and letting go of the myriad of high priced consultants one by one.  To set the stage appropriately, the now former CIO believed in a bizarre brand of “healthy competition” and hired multiple consulting firms to support (aka “fight over”)  the same projects.    There were at least 9 consulting and professional services organizations and no less than 20 consultants engaged in 3 projects for a $300m company.  That doesn’t include the 30 or so full time staffers.  (If anyone in the industry is interested, email me and I’ll tell you who all the firms were.  It’s good for a chuckle.)

In the first couple of days after the Chief made his unceremonious exit,  2 consultants from the LT tribe got cut and happily ran like hell to get on the next plane home.   The ones left behind were silently relieved and openly envious.  A few more days went by and DB and Associates got cut….a few more days after that and the TC tribe went home…..then a couple of the Q tribe just left on their own, knowing it was only a matter of time for them…. and then SS got tossed….. one by one….until only one consulting firm and two lowly consultants were left.

In the final hours….it was down to just John and I.   I pondered the irony.  I had previously begged and pleaded with my bosses to get me off the account and send me anywhere else….yes, even New Jersey.  But they wouldn’t budge.  There was much unnecessary laughter and comments about how I had to “take one for the team”.   (I never forgave them for that by the way.)   But now it was all different.  I wanted to be the last one standing triumphantly hoisting my 60 page IT Strategic Roadmap in the air.  I was relatively confident and knew I had the better skill set and experience for what they needed ….but alas, I also knew I was weak in the “relationship” department.  I tried to remember who I had pissed off last and how that might impact my chances.  Who did I need to take to lunch to atone?

In the final moments, John (brilliant in his own right) won out with better alliances and relationships.  I was overjoyed and pissed off in equal doses.  “Be careful what you wish for John!” was my final taunt as the elevator door closed on my last trip to that crazy building (which I swear was built to signal alien spaceships).

Despite it being a completely miserable 9 month experience, I guess I should be happy that I made it to the final tribal council.  Maybe I’ll get to do the talk-show circuit and then come back as the nemesis on the final challenge or as a judge in the next season.

Oh, the joys of consulting!