Helping You Deliver Growth
As the MD of your business, you face a range of different challenges in addition to your core responsibility of delivering profitable growth.
Among the many challenges that occupy you and your management team, some of the top priorities include the need to protect your business from data loss or theft, and empowering your employees to be efficient by enabling them to work in any location.
You recognise that evolving your business to meet new challenges requires astute investment in IT systems, technologies and expertise. Being aware that IT is a powerful business tool, you want to know how your business can better harness it to meet these challenges head on….
Because you’re the Managing Director of a mid-size business with multiple employees, you’re dealing with multiple pressing priorities at the same time. Some of your people work at home. Others are out on the road or are based at other sites. Many travel overseas occasionally.
As MD, your priorities are to ensure the continuing development of profitable business revenues, whilst empowering your staff to work as efficiently as possible and keeping customers happy and returning to you for repeat business. In day-to-day operations, you’re highly structured in your approach and constantly monitor what your competitors are doing. The business must move fast to exploit new opportunities to bring new products and services to market.
All your Management Team are on board with your vision to grow the business by placing people at its heart and empowering them using innovative technology. You have always kept up to speed with developments in IT and technology generally, as well as furthering your knowledge about business with an MBA from a top business school.
You passionately believe that IT can empower a business in many ways, not least through:
• Communications systems
• Office IT systems
• Knowledge systems and line of business applications
• Enabling distributed teams to collaborate and work together more efficiently
• Secure distributed networking.
You subscribe to numerous IT newsletters on email and trade magazines, though rarely have time to read everything. As well as using your email news resources, you also skim through IT magazines such as Computing to stay up to date with technology that can support your business operations. While not an IT expert, you also keep yourself informed through social media.
In the last 12 months 1.5 million targeted cyber attacks occurred. Over half of UK firms identified a breach in this period. Your business is under constant attack from cyber criminals. It's not if, but when, you'll fall victim. Identify and prioritise your risk, crafting your cyber security strategy, with our CREST Certified penetration tests.
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Much of your work is concerned with growing sales and profits. With ambitious growth targets, you need to be able to focus on the development and growth of the business, and not be weighed down by IT issues. If you’re going to do your job properly, you need your IT infrastructure not just to work properly. You need to ensure that if anything goes wrong, the business has a continuity plan in place.
IT and communications play a central role in business operations, and you need to know everything is running seamlessly. That means investing in both the technology and the know-how to maintain and support your IT systems. That’s the only way you’re going to be able to focus on delivering profitable growth and value.
The future of the business is looking good as you plan for new recruitment and an expansion in terms of people and office space — indeed new office locations are also planned. At the same time, you’re constantly looking to evolve the business’s competitive position and can see how it needs to be positioned to move quickly ahead of and in response to market developments. Though it’s not fully clear how they’ll impact the business yet, both the Internet of Things and developments in artificial intelligence will impact your business sector. It’s likely to herald a shake-out among the main players in the industry, and you want to make sure that your business is well placed when the time comes.
Your people are so crucial to the future of your business. In the increasingly knowledge-based economy, you and most of your employees need the flexibility to work from home. Your home office has been set up for a while so you can ensure complete continuity between home and office; now most of the people in your business need this.
The nature of the business also means that you and others in the company travel overseas regularly to meet with customers, suppliers and partners. From an efficiency perspective, your main concern is that the business is enabled to operate by the most up-to-date IT and comms systems available (within the budget).
You depend on keeping the IP of the business and the data you hold on customers completely secure. The GDPR regulations simply mean the pressure has just gone up a notch — though to be fair you’ve always made IT security a priority.
Even though it’s a priority, you recognise that cybersecurity is now a global issue, and with threats coming from everywhere — including for some businesses, from employees — this is an area of concern that has the potential to keep you awake at night.
Your customer-facing staff deliver excellent front line service to customers. To do this, they also require access to the hundreds of thousands — millions possibly — of customer records via the CRM, billing and service delivery systems. Queries come in all the time relating to sales orders and invoices, purchase orders and receipts. The key requirement in handling these queries is fast turnaround.
Because it is underpinned by IT networks and servers, the customer service operations team connects to accounts, sales, marketing and delivery, making it one of the most IT-dependent operations in the business.
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You are extremely concerned about IT security and are aware of the complexities and how the nature of threats has evolved. The importance of IT to the business means you employ a dedicated internal IT team headed by a talented IT Manager or Director. Even with that internal resource, you also recognise that the IT team cannot cover all the specialised skillsets internally, and so you are comfortable in the knowledge that certain key functions are outsourced. Your aim is to keep yourself ‘technically-aware’, and so you are fully aware that the business could very easily be affected by an IT breakdown, loss, breach or other incident.
You receive regular briefings from your IT Manager about what’s going on in the IT department, and you’re particularly interested in areas of risk such as network security. More recently you have been very conscious of the ever-growing threat posed by internal staff, both from a malicious perspective (theft of customer data such as product design files) and unintended (from unsuspecting users opening malicious file attachments in emails). You’d like to see a training programme put in place to educate internal employees about cybersecurity and the need to be alert to the risks of unsolicited emails.
Time is money in any business and it’s certainly true for your business. Empowering teams to work smartly and efficiently is a passion of yours; that’s because a lot of work is project-based with teams needing to collaborate and deliver to customers on time and on budget. Project management communications are therefore key, and by giving employees the flexibility to work at home, whilst on the road and from anywhere else they happen to be, it’s more productive for the employees themselves — and hence more efficient for the business.
In turn, employee morale is high because of the extra flexibility they can exercise in the ways and places they work. Overall, you want the business to be agile, flexible and efficient. So empowering employees to work from anywhere is key — you therefore support investment in technologies to deliver on this. It’s imperative in retaining competitiveness.
Each year when you prepare your budget submission, incorporating short term operational requirements alongside longer term strategic requirements for new investment, it’s a painful process.
Most business leaders would admit that if there’s anything that keeps them awake at night it’s the possibility of their organisation hitting the headlines due to a data breach.