Every Business needs a Geek on the board

There’s no doubt that is true, the economic conditions seem better, more positive, but, interestingly, not every business is feeling this, not all business owners share this optimism and not all businesses will rise on the tide.

A strategy of purely relying on an economic recovery will be the biggest (and for some final) mistake they will make in business.

It’s interesting, whenever I talk with entrepreneurs and business leaders there is one very clear difference in the strategy being adopted by those that are successful and those that are still struggling. The successful businesses have ALL embraced technology.

We live in remarkable, changing times and right now EVERY business is living or dying by its technology capability. Technology is no longer a function of business it is VITAL to business.

Everything that previously worked needs questioning, the business landscape has changed dramatically in the past 10 years. The way we did business 10 years ago isn’t good enough today. The way we did business 5 years ago will not work for much longer either.

If you’re in business today, like it or not, you are in the technology business.

The risks of not challenging everything, in not embracing technology and the opportunities it offers are significant and there is a real danger to businesses in being sideswiped by a disruptive new player or by a well know competitor who gets there first.

Being a technology business means more than having email and disparate IT systems. It means embracing technology and building technology into the DNA of your business.

Today being a tech business is about SMAC!

Social – Customers are people, they love to communicate. Your customers are talking about your business, are you listening and are you having a conversation with them? Are you using social media to understand what the customer wants? Modifying your service or product to fit? Answering their questions? Using Videos to showcase your business to your customers?

Mobile – Customers and staff are using mobile devices, phones and tablets. It’s incredible how many businesses don’t support or have policies for these devices. Can your customers buy your product / service from a mobile? How do your staff access business critical applications, data and contacts? What are the compliance issues? What are the security implications?

Analytics – How are your customers and prospects interacting with your business? Do you really understand what makes your business tick? Are you using technology to spot trends, understand where sales really come from, identify new opportunities and gain real time market insight?

Cloud – The cloud allows businesses to run software and applications on the internet rather than physical devices on your premises. Business are moving to the cloud for the simple reason that it increases efficiency, improves cash flow, gives SME’s access to enterprise quality software and allows all data and applications to be accessed from any device anywhere.

To thrive, not just survive in today’s business world companies need to make sense of these challenges, all companies need to answer this fundamental question:

How can we navigate, embrace and leverage the vast amount of new technology available?

This can feel like a very difficult question because the options seem complex but the answer is simple. Geeks! Yes, we need Geeks in senior positions, someone who understands technology, how it relates to business to navigate this minefield and implement effectively.

Whilst the challenges are complex in reality, the answer is simple. Despite all the change, disruption and opportunity that technology brings, technology is just technology. The real value comes in identifying what technology is right for your business and implementing that technology effectively.

Every business is an IT business but every business is also a people business. To be the best in your industry you need talented IT people in senior positions, every business needs a geek on the board.

Richard Morgan is founder of IT Recruitment Company Remit, working with mid size companies to help them find talented tech people. Over the last 10 years, they have screened over 80,000 CV’s, interviewed over 3,500 people and put over 1,500 people into better jobs.