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IT Basics for CEOs: Who What When Where & Why

Written by Accent Computer Solutions

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Whether it’s simply who to call for support, or as complex as how long it takes to get your files back in the event of a virus, knowing your own IT needs is CRUCIAL.

As the CEO, you’re not expected to get into every technical detail – that’s why you have an IT provider in the first place - but every CEO should know enough about IT to make solid IT decisions. You should know how to get the most out of your IT even though it is always evolving. With the help of a few general specifications in each category, you will be on your way to understanding IT.

The Who: There's No "I" in Team

Let’s start with “Who.” When getting down to the bottom of “who,” there is no “I” in team. In today’s digital economy, IT is the missing link for doing much better business. 

There is no doubt your company needs some form of IT management. This includes the needs of your current staff, your future staff, and, of course, your customers. Consider communications with your clients, suppliers, and the world around you. Keep in mind that all of that, combined with the day-to-day, is likely too much to handle for a one to two man IT team.

The What: Technology to Transform Your Business

In the “What,” we are looking for technology to transform your business. This comes down to your vision: where is your company headed and how can technology help achieve it?

This vision only works with a proper IT plan to back it up. That could include hardware, software, cloud technologies, internet connection, website, and IT support. You don't need to review every IT decision if you trust the team you're working with, but it is important that you review strategic IT decisions and be actively involved in conversation about:

  • Security
  • Backup and disaster recovery
  • Business continuity
  • Planning and strategy for the next 2-3 years
  • Hardware and software lifecycle and replacement
  • Internet and connectivity

Don’t be intimated by new technology. New innovations can keep your company on track, making your team more efficient and profitable.

The Where: No Borders

Thinking outside the office, “Where,” in this digital age could be anywhere. In the new millennium, people are now, more than ever, working on the go. This includes home offices, on location, and by phones or tablets. With the rise of BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices) the “where” and “who” can change in an instant.

You need to know that your security, software and hardware are covered, from top-to-bottom in all scenarios.

The When: As Soon As Possible

“When,” you ask? Yesterday wasn’t soon enough. But because you are behind doesn’t mean there isn’t time to get an IT road-map and IT budget for the future ready. Your IT road-map will benefit both you and whoever you collaborate with.

To start drafting your road-map answer questions like:

  • What are our priorities this year?
  • What is the timeline of those priorities?
  • How can IT improve during those initiatives?
  • What's the estimated cost and time of each priority?
  • Who is in charge of that project?

The Why: Is IT Working for Your Business?

Do you know for a fact that your IT is working for your business and not just smoke-and-mirrors? That is, “Why,” you need to know these IT basics. If you have no idea what is happening, how do you know if you’re getting what you need?

Again, no one is asking that overnight you become the Albert Einstein of IT, but a little goes along way.

The basic understanding of how IT is managed at your business will come through experience. But knowing what questions to ask along the way is a great jump start to being an IT-oriented leader.

Related: 4 Questions About Backups that CEOs need Answered

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