Branding Information Technology

What Is Branding

The term “brand” is often mistakenly used to describe a company’s reputation, mission statement, or core competencies. Rather, your brand is the unique value proposition that you offer to your customers. Used to promote the value generated by your IT functions, an effective branding campaign can help mold users’ perceptions of your department, your services, and any major initiatives that you undertake.

Action Plan

Brand building has traditionally been a marketing initiative. However, many of the same concepts that apply when marketing your company’s products or services externally also apply when promoting your IT department internally. Use the following branding advice to help communicate your department’s value to the rest of the organization:

1. Start with alignment. Aligning IT initiatives with strategic business objectives is a precursor to effectively branding your department. If you are not aligned, then no matter how you spin it, business users will be able to see right through your “pretty package. “

2. Assign a brand manager. This need not be a formal position, but you need a sociable, value-driven individual within your department (this could be you) to monitor the perception of IT within the company and develop strategies for promoting IT value.

3. Identify your target audiences. Understanding your audiences, their concerns, and their desires can greatly improve your branding efforts. Take some time to survey users and identify differences between how the enterprise views IT and how IT views itself. What is the perceived value of IT within the organization (i. e. your current brand image)?

4. Define a value proposition. Outline the value that you create for the organization, and decide on what perceptions and images you would like to change. If you don’t work to build a strong brand (and implement practices that support it), employees within the company may develop their own, less than favorable, views of what IT is all about. In a worst-case scenario, you risk being viewed as a costly commodity or necessary evil instead of as a strategic differentiator.

5. Measure your successes. Use IT metrics to track and highlight IT value. Measures of success might include satisfaction surveys, productivity metrics, reduction of downtime, improved help desk efficiency, or quantitative analysis indices, such as ROI, TCO, payback, etc. Track those metrics that help improve your image. For example, if IT is viewed as a cost center, use ROI and Economic Value Added metrics to illustrate how IT has contributed to the bottom line.

6. Communicate at the executive level. Actively promote IT successes to business leaders. Use executive committee meetings as a forum for promoting IT value and convey benefits in terms of the achievement of specific business goals. Focus on what is important to executives and put together a presentation that relates to their needs.

7. Use branding campaigns for major project launches. Your users are constantly bombarded by vendor campaigns on the Internet and in trade publications. These campaigns often set unrealistic expectations and make idealistic promises. Manage your own expectations and help facilitate change management by building brand management into your own projects. For example, if you are going to be launching a large ERP project, wrap this in a branding and communication campaign. Without getting too techie, outline the work that IT is doing to help improve processes, and then advertise the benefits to users.

8. Deliver. This is key to the ongoing success of your brand image. If you are positioning your department or certain projects in a certain light, then be prepared to deliver on your promises. Failing to do so will undermine your credibility. If you’re engaged in activities that are not creating value, be strong enough to admit your faults and identify new ways in which you can advance your company’s goals.

9. Give out free samples. In the IT world, this means pilot projects that involve end users. In the same way that free samples are used by marketers to woo skeptical customers, pilot projects can be used by IT departments to help communicate the benefits of a new investment and help build a positive image for the project.

10. Treat your employees well. IT staff members are your department’s ambassadors within the company.

If they are dissatisfied, then they are more likely to complain to fellow coworkers and work against the positive image that you are trying to convey. Grumbling employees are also less likely to provide internal users with friendly customer service and helpful support.

In Summary

Being the best at what you do often isn’t enough. In many cases, it’s also necessary to communicate the value that you create. Market and brand your IT department internally so that others within the organization are aware of the value your team creates.

Careers in IT – Information Technology Management

In the previous “IT Diversity” articles I discussed Information Technology’s two main career paths – IT Systems and IT Application Development. While you can spend a lifetime working on the basics in either of these sectors, people often desire to advance their careers and move up the ladder into Information Technology management positions. In this article I will cover some important considerations to keep in mind while pursuing this path, and briefly explain some useful educational programs to help you prepare for the journey.

Information Technology management jobs exist at many levels within an organization. In a large organization, you could serve as an IT manager in just one portion of an IT department (network, help desk, or application development manager, etc); you could be the director of the entire IT department, or a senior executive such as a Chief X Officer (CXO) – where X = I for information, S for security, C for compliance, T for technology, K for knowledge, etc. In a smaller organization, you might find yourself as the only IT manager and be tasked with overseeing all aspects of the Information Technology environment.

Experience required for the various levels of IT Management generally include but are not limited to:

– For any level IT managerial position you will be expected to have in-depth experience in at least one specialized area (i.e., systems, networking, security, application development, etc.)

– For higher level positions, the more cross-functional IT experience you have – the better

– The higher level you seek, the more in-tune and knowledgeable you need to be with the enterprise’s mission, vision, and business processes.

As an IT Manager, several skills and competencies are critical to your success:

– People management: People problems can become an overwhelming concern.

– You likely will not have or maintain the level of expertise needed for all the people you are responsible for, so you need to hire staff who have the right staff expertise.

– Information Technology is critical to the success of most enterprises, so you will often be under-the-gun to keep things working and get new projects completed on time. If you don’t manage your staff properly, treating them with respect, professional courtesy, and making sure that they get continuing education, they will burn out quickly and/or not enjoy their work, and look for employment elsewhere.

– You will need to remove or fire unnecessary or problematic employees. A disgruntled worker can destroy the teamwork required for a successful Information Technology project.

– Collaboration and facilitation abilities: Most Information Technology areas require interaction between the IT staff and the business sector. From experience I can tell you that both of these groups often have very little understanding of each other’s situation.

– The IT staff generally does not understand the reasons or priorities of business processes.

– The business staff rarely understands the capabilities of what Information Technology can or cannot do for them.

– Effective program management abilities will help immensely. Many IT projects are very complex, involving multiple functional areas across different business practices.

– Strategic Planning: Information Technology managers at all levels must be able to identify IT lifecycle needs based on current capabilities, while planning for future IT requirements and upgrades.

– IT Managers must also be capable of convincing their colleagues that the Information Technology department’s needs are essential to the enterprises bottom-line, to ensure proper prioritization of limited resources.

– Maintain IT Currency: Managers must keep abreast of IT developments to keep the enterprise and its technology relevant in both current and future environments. Failing to do so could cause the company to lose its competitive edge.

Once again, this is just a broad brush of what you need to keep in mind if you are considering stepping into an Information Technology Management position. This is a reasonable path for many senior service members that have been in one or more of the many IT career tracks, or for veterans who have served in the IT trenches in either military or civilian environments. In many cases you may have attended senior leadership schools or been in a managerial IT role in the military which helped you develop some of these skills. However, when leaving the military in search of a career in Information Technology Management, you will likely be short of civilian-world business skills.

If you have any questions about the IT field or if you are a service member transitioning into civilian life, feel free to leave a comment or question using the submission form below. I’d love to hear from you!

Developments in Information Technology

Information technology is a magic science. During the past one and half decade, IT has emerged a lot and is growing in an unexpected manner. The information technology today is integrated into almost all the departments, for example, medical or health care, mechanical, electrical, civil, machinery, space, information broadcast, robotics, construction industry. IT is used almost in all the fields. Use of the information technology in various fields gets the job done faster and easily, saves money for the businesses. Information technology is also used in the banking sector. Almost all the banks implement the software to process transactions, store the data and for many other purposes. Securing the data is also very important when we are using various software applications.

Information Technology in Banking:

Many internet based and network based and offline based IT applications are used by the banks. The software are used to process money transactions, storing the user data, storing the transaction data, providing the various kinds of information through online websites to the user and much more. The bank applications can be accessed by the end user from any where using the online websites. Using the online applications, the end user can view the current amount, amount sent, amount received and other various types of transactions.

IT in Health Care:

IT is used in most of the health care equipments. The doctors use network based healthcare software application to store the health records of the patients. These network based applications can send messages to the users. Sometimes these health records can help the doctor in the future to review the patient records and suggest a better medication. Many electronic health care devices also use many software application to display scans, store user data, suggest medications and the applications cannot be counted with a human hand.

IT in Space:

Information technology is also used for space missions, for example NASA used Java, Python and many other software technologies to produce various applications that help their space missions.

IT in Construction:

Various project management applications like primavera, Microsoft project are used for storing and reviewing the project data in the construction field. The construction also use Microsoft office product heavily. Now-days SAP also called as System Application and Products which is an enterprise relationship product is being used extensively in various construction departments and large enterprise level companies.

IT in household:

We in our home personally use many kinds of software for playing movies and songs, use many enterprise software for our daily work. Most of us have at least one computer in our home. The television set, the iPod, the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S2 all are powered by software combined with hardware.

Artificial Intelligence:

Artificial Intelligence is the future of information technology. Artificial Intelligence is a technology which is based on machines. With artificial intelligence, the machines can do the tasks themselves by using the existing data or by observing the current data.

What Is the Role of Information Technology?

Strictly speaking, Information Technology (IT) has been influencing society for thousands of years. Smoke signals, the abacus, writing, paper, pens and the printing press were all once considered the forefront of IT because those technologies were the latest and greatest in communication.

But today it is widely accepted that the forefront of IT lies in digital communications. As with all historical Information Technology developments, digital communication technology is revolutionary in terms of society, business, defence and culture.

But what is it about digital communications that sets it apart from all other previous technological advances? What is the role that this technology can play in modern society?

Firstly, IT acts as a facilitator. It is a medium that permits large volumes of information to be stored, processed or transferred at lightning speed. This means that there is more information at hand to make decisions, maintain relationships, monitor markets or follow movements.

The power of this notion should not be underestimated, it allows people to make decisions based on masses of up to date information. The military, educational institutions and large business have long understood the power of this notion but it has only been in the last ten years that mainstream society has also embraced the power of information for both social movements and small business.

Secondly, Information Technology is an enabler. Only a select minority of specialized companies in the world can claim that IT is their business. Most corporations and institutions use Information Technology to enable functions that drive their core business. This may include better communication between staff, suppliers or customers or it may include better asset management. Whatever the function, digital communication makes the storage, processing or transfer of information more efficient than ever before. But it is important to note that in essence it does not change core businesses, ideals, ethics or movements. It just enables them to function at a greater scale much more efficiently.

Lastly, Information Technology assumes the role of custodian. As data and information is amassed on just about any subject you care to imagine, massive stores of data are emerging ready to service any new requests. And therein lies the security paradox that modern Information Technology presents. One can argue that more available information makes our lives more efficient, safer and richer. Whilst the other argument is that the very same information that provides these benefits is also our achilles heal due to the security implications of unauthorized infiltration.

There is little doubt that the role of information technology is directed and constrained by the very technology that defines it. Today, that technology allows us to collect, manipulate and communicate masses of information. As a consequence, the role of IT revolves around improving the efficiency, capacity, speed or accuracy of any elements that can benefit from the functions that modern Information Technology systems provide.

An Information Technology Consulting Company That Is Perfect for a Biotech Firm – 7 Signs

Small and midsize Biotech companies do not have the financial resources that their larger pharmaceutical counterparts have. This means that they must be even smarter in how they spend. Larger firms have deeper pockets for their projects while Biotech startups and medium sized firms must find investors if they do not have enough in the R&D budget. Thus, due to budget limitations, the small to midsize Biotech companies must find creative methods to use their limited resources while growing their business. The most effective way for them to do this is to make sure that the company they are hiring is a great long term match. When looking for an Information Technology firm to hire, Biotech companies should look for seven major signs.

An Information Technology consulting company that truly understands and embraces their Biotech clients’ needs should be experienced and knowledgeable in serving the Biotech industry. We believe there are seven traits that a successful IT partner should have:

1. They should have an understanding of the biotechnology industry and specific needs that may come up such as regulatory requirements, clinical trial needs, GMP standards, HIPAA (in some cases), FDA compliance, ISO certifications, trade secret protections, vendor relations with proprietary lab equipment manufacturers etc.

2. They should have a leadership background and many years of experience in the industry (over 10 is a good number). They should be able to work with C-level executives as well as line workers so they know the needs at the front line as well as the needs of a growth business at a high level.

3. They must be responsive and agile. In the biotechnology industry, innovation is key and getting to the market faster means reaching profitability sooner and thus, having less need to get additional rounds of funding. In other words, an agile response is equal to time and money saved.

4. They must work closely and strategically with the company. They should not just be on-call technicians who come and fix things without seeing the big picture. There are two distinct needs within every biotechnology company: administrative and research. Therefore, technicians must be able to keep computers working for admin purposes but must also be technologically strategic enough to leverage their knowledge of technology into profits; thus allowing their clients to increase productivity, decrease costs, and get to the market quicker.

5. An Information Technology firm that has their clients’ best interests in mind will consistently be thinking about cost savings. Based on their years of experience, a veteran IT firm will have several methods as to how to cut or even eliminate extra costs dealing with equipment, labor or time, for their client. Thus, by choosing an IT money saving expert, the client will be able to save on expenditures.

6. An efficient IT firm knows how to find creative solutions to a current network issue a client may have and may even be able to foresee related issues in the future and prevent them from happening.

7. An Information Technology firm that is familiar with the nuance associated with proprietary lab equipment is able to understand that they are manufactured differently and that they are unique in their operation. For example, some are standalone units, some work in an active directory domain environment, some operate in a quasi-domain environment, and some come with very lax security protection that should be corrected. The IT firm will also understand that they all require careful security reviews and possibly security changes in order to integrate it to the company network.

As the owner of an Information Technology consulting company in San Diego, I have had the opportunity to work with a number of San Diego based biotechnology companies. Often times, the pains and needs that they share with me are very similar. After all, they are all racing to bring their products to market sooner, they want it done right the first time, and done cost effectively. Some say, with this economy we have to do more with less. I say, you should do more with less – always!

Being well-versed with the biotechnology sector does not give the IT consulting company license to overcharge their Biotech clients. A good Information Technology partner will have a good handle of human resources on their team to appropriately assign the needed resource when that expertise is required on a project.

An IT firm that is dedicated to their client establishes a relationship with them that is more of a partnership. Instead of labeling the client as just another account, an Information Technology consulting company that truly cares for their client’s best interests goes the extra mile for them. Here in San Diego, we once got a call from a client that had a problem with his laptop computer. He could not get it to work and had an important presentation at an executive meeting to do. We took his laptop, fixed it for him and delivered it to his meeting just in time. Our client was very pleased and so were we.

The perfect Information Technology partner for a technology, research and development oriented company is one that can leverage IT and help their client move agilely with the market, get their products to market sooner and, most importantly, do more with less.