Small Business IT Support in Denver

What are the Benefits of Managed IT Support for Small Businesses?

Discover what an IT MSP can do for your growing business and learn who to trust with the all-important jobs of setting up and managing your IT department.

Small business owners are less likely to outsource IT services than mid-size and large companies. Sadly, this means that many growing businesses are missing out on the many benefits of working with an experienced, specialized IT managed service that could help them save time and money, boost in-house efficiency and morale, improve customer services, and get ahead of the competition.

Small Business IT Support In Denver

What Does Small Business IT Support in Denver Have to Offer?

While IT services vary depending on which IT MSP you opt to work with, small business owners looking for managed services will find that most MSPs offer the following:

  • Business IT consulting that will help your small business choose the IT hardware and software that best suits your needs. What’s more, many IT companies partner with leading tech companies to offer top-quality IT equipment at a low cost. Once you select the equipment you need, your chosen IT managed service will install the equipment for you and test it to ensure everything works properly.
  • Cloud computing services that enable you to run apps and store files on a cloud storage site. With stellar cloud storage, you’ll be able to access data from outside the office, partner with contractors, allow employees to work from home, and more. Additionally, cloud storage makes it easy for you to back-up your files quickly and easily.
  • IT monitoring services that look for ways to improve your IT set-up while keeping an eye out for system vulnerabilities and dealing with them to ensure hackers can’t gain access to your business data.
  • IT maintenance and support services that prevent damaging downtime and other common IT issues. Would you like immediate help in the event of a hardware breakdown, natural disaster, employee error, or some other common IT issue? If so, select an IT managed service that offers both in-house and remote support. Most services promise 24/7/365 assistance to ensure IT system breakdowns don’t prevent you from managing your business.
  • Cybersecurity services to protect your business from hacks and breaches. Recent statistics show that 58% of hacking victims are small business owners. What’s more, 60% of small companies that suspend operations to deal with the aftermath of a cyberattack never reopen. Thankfully, IT managed service providers have all the tools and expertise you need to lower the odds of being targeted by cybercriminals dramatically.
  • IT training. Would you like help training new and existing employees so they know how to use the IT technology you rely on to keep your business successful? If so, partnering with an IT MSP is your best bet. IT MSPs offer both one-time and ongoing training that covers a wide range of topics to help improve office morale and efficiency.
  • Disaster recovery planning to make it easy for you to get back to work after an unfortunate event such as a natural disaster, hack, or IT breakdown. This service helps you avoid downtime and makes it easy for your business to get back to normal after an unfortunate event.

Why Elevate For All Your Denver Small Business IT Support?

While there are plenty of companies that offer small business IT support in Denver, Elevate stands out for several reasons. First of all, our team has many years of experience delivering successful IT services to small businesses from a wide range of industries. We have all the services you need under one roof, and we understand your needs and requirements. All our services are flexible to ensure you only pay for what you need when you need it. What’s more, our team offers jargon-free, practical customer services that not only help you solve problems but also prevent them from reoccurring. Get in touch with us at your convenience to learn more about our team or to make an obligation-free appointment with one of our IT experts.

Why Work With A Denver IT Managed Service Provider?

Choosing A New Denver IT Managed Service Provider?

Discover how a leading Denver IT managed service provider can ensure industry compliance, secure your IT systems, save time and money, increase profits, and more.  

Is partnering with an IT managed service provider a good idea for your company? The answer in almost all cases is a resounding yes. IT managed service providers work directly with your company or partner with your IT technician or IT department to ensure your IT set-up is as efficient and secure as it is meant to be at all times. They offer scalable services, 24/7 support, and a host of other services that your business needs to be successful long-term.

Denver Managed IT Services Provider

Why Choose Elevate As Your Denver IT Managed Service Provider?

Following are some of the many reasons why working with an IT MSP is a good idea:

  • Outsourcing your IT department will dramatically lower IT costs. You’ll only pay for the services you need when you need them. Additionally, you’ll be able to access expert IT help at any time of the day or night without having to pay for full-time, in-house IT technicians. Given the fact that the average annual salary for a single full-time IT technician is nearly $79,000 plus benefits, it’s not hard to see how working with dedicated contractors is by far the most cost-efficient option.
  • You’ll get easy access to cutting edge tools and technologies. IT managed service providers continually stay abreast of all the latest technology trends and developments to offer you the best possible services. Would you like to benefit from the latest, best Google, Microsoft, or Apple tools? Your IT MSP is likely already using them, making it easy for you to stay a step ahead of the competition by offering superior customer services, products, and assistance. Furthermore, IT MSP technicians know about all the latest cyber threats and have the tools in place to protect your company from damaging breaches.
  • You’ll be free to focus on other essential aspects of your business. As a busy business owner or executive, you likely have a lot on your plate. Instead of worrying about teaching employees how to use your IT equipment and software, upgrading IT hardware, and setting up a VoIP service, leave these jobs to the experts and focus on priority issues such as product development, marketing, and expansion.
  • You’ll gain access to expert help in developing data-driven business plans. A Denver IT managed service providers offer expert insight into how to gather and use data to its fullest potential. Working with experienced IT technicians will enable you to understand your data better and learn how to efficiently leverage it to grow your client base and boost profits.
  • You’ll get help complying with industry regulations. Complying with industry regulations is always challenging, even if you are experienced in your field and know what the standards and requirements are. An IT MSP can help automate tasks to ensure that regulations are met consistently and with ease. What is more, they can help you stay on top of new regulations, so you’re prepared to meet them even before they go into effect.

Elevate Services Group: Denver Managed IT Services Company

Elevate Services Group stands out from other local Denver IT managed service providers because it was founded by former corporate executives and business owners who understand what companies need and expect from a leading IT managed service provider. Elevate IT technicians are both certified and experienced in their field of expertise; what’s more, they offer a high standard of customer service, providing jargon-free advice that will help you avoid common yet deadly IT pitfalls while at the same time optimizing your IT set-up to ensure maximum performance.

Would you like to save money, boost sales, increase employee efficiency, and ensure your business has the IT tech and expertise it needs to grow long-term? If so, get in touch to learn more about our services or to make an appointment with our team of IT experts.

Does The CMO Have A Role In Technology Decisions?

 

 

The role of CMOs has been changing rapidly in recent years with the introduction of numerous technologies. Social media platforms, CRM software and diverse multimedia channels all offer businesses remarkably effective tools for creating and maintaining a brand while connecting with customers in ways that were never before possible. While the increased pace of tech adoption among businesses has been startling enough on its own, for CMOs the need for taking on new roles and responsibilities has been equally surprising. CMOs are being forced to bridge marketing and tech to facilitate the success of their companies, leading to a greater range of obligations and opportunities for professionals who once focused solely on the standard roles of the chief marketing officer.

 

Fortunately, the increased need for CMOs to have a major role in technology decisions brings rewards and well as challenges. CMOs are able to accomplish more than ever and play a bigger part in how their companies operate. They also get the opportunity to form powerful relationships with CIOs to increase their ability to achieve the goals of their department and the goals of the company as a whole.

 

The Role of the CMO is Evolving

 

Until recently, being a good CMO meant creating effective advertisements and cultivating relationships with various individuals and groups like media partners and advertising agencies. While these tasks still pertain to the role of CMO, the responsibilities of the CMO have greatly expanded due to the incorporation of various technology tools. Market research, advertising and brand management are still major responsibilities, but they have become only part of the duties faced by today’s CMO.

 

Now, CMOs are challenged by social media, immense amounts of data, changing demographics among consumers and a seemingly endless number of channels and devices available for marketing purposes. Navigating through the proliferation of data and tech tools while still ensuring that the original responsibilities of the position are seen to is no easy task. Yet CMOs are doing just that. They are rising to the challenge presented by the shift in their roles and excelling.

 

One of the key ways that CMOs are adapting is by forming a closer relationship with CIOs.

 

The CMO and CIO Partnership

 

The marketing team today has more technology at its fingertips than ever before, and the availability of innovative technology tools is only expanding. While CMOs tend to learn how to use the tech tools they need to use relatively quickly, they are still marketing professionals—not tech professionals. They understand the importance of having an expert available to help unravel the complexities of the options they are faced with. That is why many CMOs are seeking to open up lines of communication with CIOs and ultimately to develop relationships with CIOs so they can work together on answering questions of technology, marketing and how the two connect in their particular business.

 

There are a lot of tech options available to CMOs now, which can make it difficult to determine which tool is the right fit. Marketers might be experts in advertising, but that does not mean that they are immune to the effects of it. CMOs take advantage of the knowledge of CIOs to clear away the promotional message and get to the heart of what a tool can or cannot accomplish, and whether it even makes sense to adopt the tool based on the business and its goals.

 

CIOs tend to have strong discipline when it comes to technology. They are used to being told that the latest technology tool will transform the way they do business. They know how to conduct the necessary research to uncover the reality of what is on offer. The insight they offer CMOs is invaluable when it comes to making technology decisions.

 

The Role of CMOs in Tech Decisions

 

Every company today can benefit from including CMOs in technology decisions. CMOs should not be forced to make the decisions on their own, however. The real winning strategy for businesses is to combine the expertise of the CMO and the CIO to make joint decisions on what is the best choice to help the business achieve its objectives. CMOs know how to seek those objectives from a marketing standpoint. CIOs know how to achieve the objectives from a technology standpoint. Working together, they can create something that is greater than the sum of its parts.

 

As CMOs and CIOs learn to work together, they can begin to anticipate the perspectives and needs of each other’s departments. The CMO will gradually grasp issues like compatibility with existing technologies, while the CIO will come to understand how the CMO works towards objectives through marketing strategies.

 

Moving forward, CMOs will serve as experts in Martech, or marketing technology. They will use what they learn through their own work and through their relationships with CIOs to gain a better grasp of what marketing technology has to offer and how to utilize the power of the tools at their disposal. They can play a major role in the technology decisions of their company and the company will benefit significantly from their input.

These 4 Issues are Paralyzing CFOs from Moving to the Cloud

CFO and Information Technology

CFOs have long been challenged by the value proposition of capital technology investments, often requiring in-depth analysis and reviews before making the plunge. While the lower monthly costs of cloud-based computing may overcome this inertia in some instances, CFOs are understandably nervous about committing to “rentals” of software or services that don’t have an extended life beyond the end of the subscription. While the CFO may not be reviewing each purchase for IT fit, they are likely intensely interested in whether they are getting the expected value from any technology purchases that are made. The CFOs leaning may help influence purchases for quite some time, making it vital to ensure that your CFO fully understands the benefits of moving to the cloud so you can break through their paralysis of analysis. Here are 4 of the sticking points that are pushing CFOs away from adoption of a more agile, extensible model for technology.

1. Communicate Key Risk Factors for Adoption

Like any technology, cloud platforms are only truly valuable if you gain widespread adoption throughout your user base. CFOs may have been burned in the past with projects that had an extensive upfront cost, yet didn’t deliver the expected business value after an extended implementation period. CIOs and other IT leaders can help mitigate this risk by addressing the root causes behind the poor adoption rates. Cloud solutions can be particularly challenging to sell, simply because they are predicated on the concept of continual change — something that is a struggle for many organizations.

2. Reassure CFOs That Technology Will Be Analyzed and “Rightsized” for Cloud

Financial business leaders are rarely happy with having assets on the books that aren’t being utilized, but legacy technology has a way of hanging around long after its useful life has been expended. When you reassure CFOs that you won’t simply be transferring efficiency problems to a new type of infrastructure — that you’re first resolving and appropriately sizing the solutions for your future business needs — they are more likely to be open to the conversation about a move. Gaining efficiencies and improving operations are always topics near and dear to the heart of CFOs. This could manifest in a variety of ways such as analyzing server and peak memory usage, looking for system vulnerabilities that can be addressed and reducing overall software licensing requirements.

3. Yes, There Are Ongoing Variable Costs — But They Are Balanced by Added Value

Traditional software models include an upfront purchase cost and an associated ongoing maintenance fee to obtain upgrades. Over the life of a contract, maintenance fees can increase and there may be charges over time for significant upgrades that aren’t covered in your service model. Newer options are introduced to the market on a regular basis, but a high sunk cost in a particular platform serves to discourage new investments in other platforms. With cloud-based platforms you may still have a multi-year contract, but once that time is over it may be significantly easier to shift to a new platform. Granted, there are likely integration costs and training and general disruption to your business to consider, but you may be able to recognize compelling benefits by changing to a new cloud-based service. Plus, most cloud software has the benefit of regular releases that will provide enhanced usability, resolve bugs and create a more secure computing environment. The financial equation becomes slightly more difficult to sell to your CFO if your usage is expected to vary considerably from month-to-month, as it can make cash flow more difficult to project.

4. Cloud Performance Has Improved Dramatically in This Decade

Sure, there are still some platforms that are not fully optimized and don’t run as quickly as they would on a local server — but we are no longer in a world where “cloud” equates to poor performance, latency and a lack of security. Ultra-fast connections throughout the country and the world and high-performance data centers offer a new level of service deliverability. While it’s still important to carefully review contracts to ensure that SLAs and reliability levels are up to your expectations, these should no longer be used to deliver a no-go decision on moving to the cloud.

Having an honest internal conversation with top leadership helps determine which — or all — of these concerns are holding back your CFO from approving cloud-based projects. While financial considerations are often top of mind, there are other risk factors that need to be openly addressed in a way that communicates the overall value to the organization.

What The CMO Needs To Know About Marketing Technology

Marketing Technology

Familiarity with marketing technologies is a must for today’s CMO. However, the range of tech knowledge across CMOs varies widely. Even if every CMO can benefit from some technical familiarity, the reality is that some CMOs know very little about technology while others know more than they will ever need to in order to fulfill their responsibilities. Wherever you happen to sit on the tech knowledge spectrum, it can be helpful to have a roadmap on where your level of proficiency and understanding should be headed. With the right approach to marketing technology management fundamentals, you can ensure that you are best equipped to help guide your company towards its objectives.

Marketing Technology for the CMO—What You Need to Know

If you have been a CMO for very long, you have seen how dramatically your responsibilities have changed in recent years. Where you once focused primarily on building your brand, advertising and customer engagement, today you juggle those responsibilities with embracing and leveraging a range of technologies and platforms. The rate of change is only increasing, so it is understandable that many CMOs feel a bit overwhelmed sometimes. Fortunately, there are key areas that you can focus on when it comes to marketing technology. By leaning into the right areas, you can ensure that your expertise and management efforts are focused where they will do the most good for your company.

The marketing technologies your company utilizes come together to form what is referred to as a stack. The way you approach the stack—both the existing tools you are using and the adoption of new tools—is a major part of how you manage the tech side of your role. You can be actively involved in initiatives related to marketing technology by:

  • Determining which technology is a priority
  • Helping with the creation of stack strategy
  • Conducting reviews of how the stack is performing
  • Creating a management structure where your team can fully leverage the available technology
  • Being aware of the company’s data strategy and actively contributing to its development

Key focus areas should include:

Ensuring Stack Strategy is Based on Marketing Objectives

There are a seemingly endless number of marketing technologies now available—all of them promising to transform the way you do business. But most of those tools are not ideal for helping you achieve your concrete marketing objectives. Those objectives, based off of the objectives of your business, should guide how you organize your stack. By making sure that technology serves to achieve specific objectives, and is not just a solution looking for a problem, you can streamline your technology usage.

Regularly Measuring the Performance of the Stack

When you adopt new technology, it is important to determine what metric you will use to determine if it is serving the needs of your company. With metrics in mind, you can set regular review sessions to analyze how each technology is performing. You can determine which products are working as expected, which are not working as expected, and which are working even better than expected. With measurements in hand, it becomes much easier to decide how you will move forward with each technology—and which you will eliminate.

Keep an Eye Out for Bloat in the Stack

A regular performance review will help you avoid the bloat that is so common with marketing technology stacks. You and your team can check to see which programs are being utilized and how well they are being used. You may discover that some tools are not being fully leveraged, while others may actually overlap in functionality with other tools. Your team can determine how to get the most out of what you are already using while also eliminating as much overlap as possible. Ideally, you want to use as few technology tools as possible but use the ones you do have as fully as possible. You can develop a lean stack that gets the job done without creating drag.

Create a Clear Data Strategy

There is plenty of data at your fingertips with today’s technologies. But it is not enough to have data coming at you and your team. You need to have a clear strategy on what data to collect, how to collect it and how to process it. The assistance of the IT department can come in handy here, as they should be able to work with you to develop and implement a strategy based on your marketing objectives.

Define Responsibilities

The way you and your company handle the technology stack will be based on the resources you have available. Some companies have numerous departments that can split up the work, while others only have a few people who need to devote themselves fully to the task. What is important is that you and your team define responsibilities. Once everyone knows what they need to do, it is much easier to ensure that everything that needs to be done is done.

Moving Forward

As a CMO, you can help your company achieve its objectives by utilizing technology. You do not have to be an expert in every technology you use; you simply need to know where to focus your efforts to achieve maximum effectiveness.

Top Challenges Facing CEOs (How to Solve Them)

CEO Retaining Employees

If you’re a CEO — whether your company is big or small, new or old, successful or working on it— there’s no doubt certain problems do a great job of keeping you up at night.

These are the challenges you just can’t seem to master. They plague you day-to-day, quarter-to-quarter, year-to-year. Yet try as you might, there seems to be no getting around them.

The good news is, yours are likely the same problems that all CEOs face. In other words, you’re in good company.

Below, we take a look at a few of these common CEO challenges and offer up some useful tips for tackling them once and for all.

Top Challenges CEOs Face

#1 – “How do I hire the best talent (and keep them motivated)?”

Attracting the best employees is certainly a leading cause of concern among CEOs. As a CEO, your team is the engine that drives your business. You may be the “ideas man” or “ideas woman,” but you need great talent to bring your concepts to life.

The Solution: Top employees can definitely hard to find, but it’s important to take your time. Quality hiring is doable if you know where to look, what to look for, and how to entice the right people.

First, make sure you’re clear about your job descriptions. Don’t be wishy-washy with prospective candidates.

Next, know where to look. Job fairs, sites like LinkedIn, and open job searches are good places to start. Still, you should always thoroughly review applications and prescreen candidates with a tight checklist before narrowing your best options.

Be thorough about checking your candidates’ references, backgrounds (job and education history), and experience. After you’ve made a short list, hold in-person interviews to get a feel for each candidate’s interest level and how they behave.

Lastly, when you find the right candidate, make sure you have a stellar hiring package ready to show them. Make it one they won’t be able to say no to. Budget restraints are certainly a challenge here, so if your resources are tight, find ways to promise pay and benefit increases with improved performance and company success. This shows your investment in your company — and in your employees as members of the larger company family.

#2 – “How do I retain my talent?”

Keeping employees motivated is certainly essential for extending and prolonging the flow of unique, creative ideas and hard work. Still, if you’re not taking care of your employees in other basic ways, some of them will walk away. Of course, this won’t necessarily be because they want to … they simply might have to.

The Solution: To ensure a consistent, long-lasting team of the best talent in your industry, you have two jobs:

1. Find ways to keep your employees motivated to do well.

2. Reward them for their hard work.

Many CEOs have trouble grasping the fact that their best employees won’t necessarily hang around just for the love of the work. This is often because, as CEOs, they’ve turned over their own life over to their business.

But remember that your employees — no matter how similarly passionate they are about your company — have lives of their own. Many have mouths to feed at home, student loans to pay, and second mortgages on their homes. If you’re not providing for them (as you said you would when you hired them) and incentivizing them to continue doing amazing work … you can probably expect their two weeks’ notice sometime soon.

In order to motivate employees, you’ve got to have a great idea that’s worth working for. Of course, it helps if you’ve hired a team that’s passionate about the same things you are.

Team-building is another great way to keep employees motivated. Organized company events, fun incentive programs, a comfortable work space, and opportunities for self-development within your company are key.

# 3 – “How do I make my product (or service) stand out?”

Yes, your company solves “problem A” … but so do six other companies. What you have to decide upon and sell is how you solve your problem better than anyone else.

Easier said than done, right?

The Solution: For the most part, the key answer here is creativity. Unfortunately, whether you like it or not, there are a lot of creatives out there doing awesome work. You’re probably creative too. But you have to be more creative than your competitors.

The good news is you have some options.

If you know for sure that your company is just like another company, for example, look for ways to differentiate by:

  • Unique branding
  • Varied size, shape, or level-of-service options
  • Amazing discounts and sales
  • Bonuses for loyal customers
  • World-class customer service
  • Added, unique features
  • Exceptional marketing *

* This is key. By investing in your marketing strategies, you’re tinkering with the first thing potential customers and clients will see — and that’s the right place to begin.

It’s true, if you can get someone to your website to read about your unique product features or see your amazing discounts, you might be able to turn them on to your product or service. But if you can “have them at hello,” you’re going to see a much higher and more immediate rate of success. Smart marketing will also give you one of the highest returns on your investments.

Generally speaking, all CEOs will face the above challenges at one time or another. The key to overcoming them is two-fold: First, try to anticipate whatever key issues you’ll have before they become serious dilemmas. Second, using the advice above, don’t be afraid to face these issues head-on. When something doesn’t work, don’t give up — simply try a new tack.

Is The CMO Responsible For Digital Technology Decisions?

Marketing Technology

With the adoption of technology in the personal and commercial spheres ramping up to breakneck speed, the need for clear objectives for key business personnel like CMOs has never been greater. CMOs need to know what their responsibilities are. It may seem like a question with an obvious answer, but the reality of tech and business has made the answer much less clear than it once was. It can be argued that the role of the CMO has changed dramatically in recent years, far more than it has changed at any time since CMOs first came into existence. Marketing and tech are now inextricably interwoven and are unlikely to separate anytime in the foreseeable future.

Given the importance of tech in marketing and the necessity to make marketing efforts successful for the growth and maintenance of business, CMOs must be included in the decision-making process related to digital technology. When it comes to anything to do with marketing and customer engagement, including tech decisions, the CMO needs to be consulted. What tech a business uses, how it uses it and what changes need to be made—all of these choices should be made with the input of the CMO in today’s modern business.

Marketing and Tech—Ways Businesses are Investing in Technology

Saying that spending on marketing-related technology is increasing is an understatement at this point in time. In fact, the 1% of business spending that is common for marketing technology in the past few years is expected to grow to 10% by 2025. That is a huge increase, one that gives a clear indication of why key marketing decision makers, CMOs to be specific, are going to be much more involved in making tech decisions in the coming years. Some of the areas that are primary focuses for business spending today include:

CRM

CRM or customer relationship management software is drawing heavy investment from a wide range of industries because it offers an efficient way to manage and analyze the data produced from customer interactions. A single interaction might not tell a business too much about its overall market, but a thousand interactions do begin to paint a picture. When so many interactions are added up over the years, the potential for gaining important insights into how customers behave and react to the activities of a business is huge. CRM is an area where CMOs and CIOs can come together to learn an incredible amount of information about their market.

Digital Marketing

Marketing used to fall under the category of creative work much more than it did technical work, but modern tech has greatly blurred those boundaries. Marketing teams are engaging with consumers through a variety of digital platforms—with more and more platforms popping up regularly. Keeping up with the digital marketing options and what tools are effective at any given moment is a significant task, one that requires ongoing investment from businesses. Digital marketing is only expected to take a bigger piece of the marketing budget pie in the coming years. CMOs are the leaders of marketing for their perspective businesses. They certainly need the help of CIOs to implement their ideas, but in the end, it is the CMOs who are best equipped to choose a path forward in the marketing arena for businesses.

Marketing Automation

All the digital marketing opportunities available quickly create situations where human marketing teams cannot keep up with all the tasks on their plate. Marketing automation offers tools to automate many of the basic tasks that are required for businesses to keep their customers engaged and satisfied with their experiences. Automation can reach out to share new offerings from businesses, as well as react to actions performed by customers as they reach out to companies. Automated chat options on company websites are one example of how automation has grown increasingly prevalent and essentially required for businesses that want to stay on top of all the expectations that consumers have.

CMO Responsibilities for Digital Tech Decisions

Once it becomes clear how much marketing and technology are combined in today’s business environment, it becomes obvious that the role of the CMO must include participating in tech decisions. CMOs do not necessarily always have to be the leader in the decisions a company makes regarding its technology, but in most instances, they should be included in the decision-making process.

There are a few ways to determine if a tech decision requires the CMO, including:

  • Does it involve marketing? If the technology decision in question has anything to do with company branding, consumer interaction, or other marketing focus, the CMO most definitely needs to be involved.
  • Does it involve customer interaction? The marketing team specializes in creating and developing customer relationships. If the technology involves customer relationship management, the CMO needs to be involved.

There are technology decisions that may not need the input of the CMO, or at least they do not require the CMO to lead the way. For example, deciding which servers are best for the company does not involve marketing. It is clearly a hard tech decision, which is more appropriate for the CIO.

Ideally, CMOs and CIOs should be working together to make tech decisions for the company. The more they can work together and contribute their expertise, the better the company will be able to navigate the complex future of businesses and technology.

Why Do IT Departments Report To The CFO

CFO IT Reporting

Organizational structure is something that is hotly debated at businesses around the world, but one of the biggest mysteries is where it makes sense to have the technology teams. IT has both a strategic thread as well as a day-to-day operational focus, making it a solid fit for the office of the CEO or the COO — yet IT often lands with the CFO, especially if there isn’t a CIO in existence. Businesses tend to organize around the functional strengths of their leaders and their business operations. If you are researching where IT makes sense in the structure of your business, see why organizations around the world continue to closely align IT with the finance department.

“We’ve Always Done It That Way”

Historically, IT has been aligned with finance due to the original reason technology was introduced to businesses: to aid in digitizing accounting functions. The highly detailed work that is performed by both finance and technology teams worked in lockstep, as finance executives leaned on IT for financial computing initiatives that would help make the organization more efficient and effective in their financial interactions. Over time, the original need for digitizing accounting morphed — yet the reporting structure still made sense. CFOs needed to have a tight handle on the burgeoning budgets that the technology teams needed to support the needs of the business. Many businesses find themselves locked into this aging structure for one of the worst reasons of all: “We’ve always done it this way”.

Aligning Departments Around Business Functions

At first blush, IT may seem to have more in common with operations than with finance. There are plenty of moving parts in both operations and technology, but that is where the parallels break down. Maintaining the daily execution of tasks is quite operational in nature, but the far-reaching strategic nature of IT is where the power truly lies for the organization. Hiding IT within the office of the COO could reduce the overall effectiveness of IT and may also lead to the team being a target when there is a need for budget cuts. Without a strong seat at the table for technology as it relates to the future of the business, both finance and operations Chiefs may reduce spending without seeing the longer-term impact of their decision.

Shifting Business Strategy

As more CEOs consider IT initiatives as strategic imperatives, the structure of organizations will continue to shift. CIOs — although they are “Chiefs” — have not always had a place reporting directly to the CEO of the organization as other chief officers do. Instead, they are relegated to second-string status by reporting to the CFO or COO, especially if there is a perception that the CIO is not comfortable enough working through complex business problems as well as providing technology solutions. The shifting business strategies that are caused by exceptional levels of innovation and competition in terms of technology make it more likely than ever that CIOs will be raised to the level of the CMO and CFO in terms of organizational structure.

There are no perfect or “right” structures for your organization. As technology leaders continue to expand their knowledge outside the scope of the technical realm, they are less likely to be reporting to the CFO and COO and more likely to be able to earn representation at the highest levels of the organization. This evolution of IT may feel uncomfortable for some organizations, but will ultimately help boost the visibility of technology projects that are often core to the success of the business.

CEOs Guide To Corporate Mobile Device Security

 

 

One of the major advantages of newer technologies is their ability to connect employees working remotely. Connections to colleagues, data and files help make doing business more productive, effective and accurate, no matter where employees and their teams are.

 

That’s why more companies are establishing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. Such guidelines allow companies to save on the costs of providing employees with their own mobile devices or paying for their maintenance and replacement.

 

Adopting such policies requires companies to set clear guidelines for the use of such devices and what obligations employers and employees have.

 

What Are the Advantages to BYOD Policies?

 

Along with the cost reduction, there are several other advantages for companies that choose to use BYOD rules:

 

  • Increased employee satisfaction. Employees who can bring their own devices are more satisfied in the workplace, don’t have to manage multiple devices and can use their own device for work-related tasks.
  • More productivity. Employees with access to workplace apps on their own devices can respond faster to inquiries, gain needed information and address issues quickly.
  • Flexibility. Make it easier for employees to work from home, remotely or while traveling with ready access to communication and apps that let them do their work effectively.
  • Reduces uncertainty. For companies that pay for voice and data services for employee devices, switching to a BYOD policy saves not only on contract costs but also on data and voice overage charges.

 

“Employees who are willing to spend their own money to procure their own devices can be a boom for their bottom line. In some ways, this is a perfect arrangement. Employees get to use their chosen device, which can improve productivity and morale while saving companies money,” notes a recent article.

 

What Are the Primary Disadvantages to BYOD Policies?

 

The primary concern for many companies considering adopting a BYOD policy is security. Consider that for every device you add to your network, that’s one more device that has access to sensitive, proprietary or protected information. A company-owned device provides far more control of what websites are accessible, when devices are updated and how usage is monitored. Companies can control what anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-phishing tools are installed and how frequently they’re updated. Control means a greater understanding of what’s protected and how.

 

Another concern to BYOD workplaces is compatibility and support. Your employees are likely using multiple devices with multiple operating systems and capabilities. Your IT team will likely be responsible for some aspects of device management, including installation and updating of apps, security processes such as VPN and other protections, and ensuring security patches are applied. Having more devices in play means more expertise is required of your IT employees.

 

When employees leave, there need to be clear procedures and auditing rules about ensuring that all access to company files, apps and data is removed immediately.

 

Scalability is another concern. As the number of employees grows, with some of them using multiple personal devices, the staff demand for management and updating grows accordingly. Company network infrastructure also needs to be expansive enough to accommodate all the new devices.

 

For employees, the main concern is privacy. Employees may wonder how much of their personal activity and device usage is accessible to their employers.

 

Are There Other Options Besides Company-Provided and BYOD?

 

Some companies choose one of two alternative policies that reduce the risk:

 

  • COPE. Corporate-Owned, Personally Enabled devices are those employees can use as their own but are purchased by and owned by the company. However, employee privacy concerns can make such an approach unpopular.
  • CYOD. A choose-your-own-device approach requires employees to select from a limited number of devices for use with employer applications and access. While this helps minimize the amount of support required, it may require employees to spend more on new equipment.

 

How Can Employers Maintain Security with BYOD?

 

Clear and consistent policies are key to effective BYOD workplaces. Here are a few of the considerations you should use when implementing BYOD policies:

 

  • Determine what operating systems and devices your company is willing to support
  • Create device enrollment practices, requiring devices to be registered and authenticated before they are connected to your company network
  • Require strong password or passphrase guidelines, including length, complexity, change frequency and failed-attempt blocking
  • Create automatic lockouts on devices after a period of inactivity
  • Require employees to immediately report lost or stolen equipment
  • Mandate that personal devices can be disabled or wiped in the event of a loss or theft
  • Install required anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-spam software on all BYOD smartphones, tablets and laptops
  • Automate regular backups of company applications and data from personal devices
  • Keep devices and applications up to date using automated patching and updating tools
  • Encrypt all BYODs, ideally with full device encryption. If that’s not possible, require all sensitive data to be stored in encrypted folders on the devices
  • Determine if BYOD users will be allowed to print, copy, save or email information pulled from your servers
  • Require employees to sign an agreement stating they understand all the policies, procedures, regulations and consequences for noncompliance
  • Detail the consequences of not adhering to company policies

 

When companies pay attention to the policies and guidelines necessary to ensure secure and proper use, BYOD policies can be an advantage to employers and employees alike.