At Veris, the customer is king and we make it a point to delve deep into how we can solve their daily challenges. Today, we delve into the lives of IT champions at organizations we have interacted with over the years. In an age where technology plays a key role in determining business success, it isn’t easy being an IT Head. It involves constant juggling between addressing the most pressing technical issues and deploying new strategies to help the business not just stay competitive but grow.
A typical day at work
It depends. The first thing in the morning is usually reserved for checking and prioritizing emails and briefing the COO later on. On some days, they might spend a good few hours on troubleshooting, while on other days they have the luxury of time to check out the latest technology innovations. Two things that they ensure to do on most days, are a meeting with their datacentre and facilities manager, and a meeting with their entire IT team, to get an update on the status of various projects.
The most fascinating part of the job
These are exciting times for any tech professional, with rapid advancements bringing innovative technology solutions that ease almost every aspect of the business. Every year, new disruptive technologies emerge, from Artificial Intelligence and IoT to advances in big data analytics, there are interesting applications being built every day. Everything is becoming connected and 2020 will be rife with new possibilities, with the deployment of 5G. Without 5G, none of these new technologies can function to their maximum capabilities.
Equally gratifying is to be able to meet some of the brightest minds in the business. In their role as an IT Head, they get to interact and work with a huge community of young innovators, thinkers, and entrepreneurs, who have what it takes to accelerate and transform many industries. They enjoy being at the helm of decision making when it comes to deploying the latest technology to enhance business operations.
Deciding which technology to choose
Well, choosing to deploy new technology for the company has to be evaluated from various angles. The first aspect to consider is how the new tech will improve business processes. Will its impact be large enough to warrant the change? The next aspect to consider is whether it will require a change in staffing or whether the existing employees will need extensive training to use the new solution.
Both staffing and training have their own costs. The more extensive the training or the greater the learning curve required to be able to use the new technology, the greater is likely to be the resistance towards it within the organization. This is a natural human response to a sudden and significant change in the way they function. So, an innovative solution that fits in seamlessly and integrates well with existing legacy systems works brilliantly. In addition, if it is something that comes naturally to the people involved, it is even better.
The most challenging aspect of the job
The thing about technology is that anything can go wrong at any time. However, they make it their mission to ensure that there is minimal downtime. So, preventive maintenance, upgrading systems, and various other measures need to be put in place.
But, the real challenge lies in being able to exploit technologies that are only now reaching the tipping point, like migration to cloud servers or big data analytics. With that being said, they think the most challenging task for someone like me today is data governance; not only from a security standpoint but also from the quality aspects. In any organization, data is being generated across systems. Without appropriate data governance, there could be missing data elements, gaps, inconsistencies, and inaccuracies, leading to erroneous analytics. In the worst case, it could actually harm the business.
Data stewardship is also a delicate job and requires an understanding that can help navigate complex dynamics across various departments and business units. Data is indeed powerful, but to be able to secure it and collate it to deliver useful insights is a skill, which can have a huge positive impact on the business being able to identify and make the most of opportunities.
Essentials to being a great IT head
First and foremost, one should have a thorough knowledge of the business and its objectives. Apart from leadership and communication skills, adaptability is key to succeeding in a dynamic field. You should be able to evolve with the business. The focus of this role changes, according to the business’ needs. Strategic decisions made by an IT head can impact a firm’s competency. So, an IT head should always be aware of new developments, trends, and risks in the general technical landscape. Also important is the skill to hire and build new talent pools, people who can help you fulfill your vision for the company.
People skills are an important part of my job. Changing and adopting new tech is a stressful process and is often met with resistance. An IT head should be able to make transitions as smooth as possible, by effectively managing the concerns of all parties involved.