What is a Business Technology Coach?

There are countless computer consultants out there. You have the geeks, the gurus, the evangelists, the computer guys, techs, nerds, network consultants, computer consultants and technologists, just to name a few. At the end of it all, regardless of what they call themselves, each provides a different level of service and technical know-how. Too many IT consultants solve every problem by asking you to throw money at it. New computers, new servers, new monitors, new printers, but every time you spend money, you are cutting into profitability. The key is for you to identify the right person for your needs. If you run a company, what you really need is a business technology coach to help you make the right decisions about your technology.

A computer consultant is usually only interested in fixing your computers. He is not versed in any business functions and is therefore incapable of assisting you with many additional services that will maximize your information technology investments. The computer guy is great when the printer breaks or when the computer goes haywire, but a business technology coach can offer you significantly more value. Large corporations hire a Chief Information Officer to fulfill this role, but a small to mid-sized business may not need that degree of full time support. In these cases, a business technology coach will serve you well.

Business Technology is any technology that serves the needs of business, including accounting, networking, and other office systems. So, while an office productivity software suite (e.g. Microsoft Office) is considered business technology, the Microsoft Xbox is not. The realization that there is a growing divide between recreational gadgets and technologies that can directly impact the business world has led to a new way of examining the direct value of technology. Business technology must add value to your company or else it is just a waste of money. There are so many products to choose from, all with competing philosophies and learning curves. More often than not, you simply accept what came with the computer when you bought it and you make due. Or, worse yet, you fall prey to that fantastic salesperson that promises the answer to all your prayers and delivers another expensive nightmare. So, the next fact you need to accept is that not all business technology is valuable to your business!

The key to modern business success is to be sure to align your business goals with your technology plans. Business and technology alignment has become a Holy Grail for large multinational corporations. Because these industrial monsters are so large, anything they can do to make themselves more flexible, more responsive to their customers, is mandatory. Fortunately, most small and medium-sized businesses are agile and fast to respond. Chances are your top customers know how to get in touch with you at any time of the day. However, just because you do not suffer from the problems of these huge dinosaur businesses does not mean you cannot benefit from business / technology alignment. A business technology coach will assist you in aligning your business goals with your technology investments.

The second benefit you can derive from a business technology coach is an understanding of your business processes. No two businesses operate exactly alike. Chances are your business practices have developed organically as your company overcomes new challenges. However, organic growth has a tendency to develop substantial inefficiencies that can impact profits. I have seen cases where companies print and mail out zero dollar invoices ($0.00) simply because the system was poorly automated. This is inefficient and expensive, and can easily be remedied. A business technology coach will analyze how you work to pinpoint and correct these inefficiencies.

A business technology coach will then use his knowledge and understanding of your computer systems and business processes to assist you in building competitive advantage. According to a 2007 IBM study, a business technology coach should be “…engaged as a strategic partner for process and culture change.” This means that the lonely computer geek typing away for hours without human contact is not the right choice if you want to succeed. A business technology coach will be capable of working with others and must possess advanced communication and social skills to act as an agent of positive change. The computer geek that is incapable of communicating ideas or is lacking in social skills is not what you need.

Also, a business technology coach understands that his job is to make recommendations. Remember, you are the ultimate decision maker, so your coach needs to present you with options, instead of ultimatums. In some rare cases there is only one course of action, but in my experience I have rarely encountered them. A business technology coach will present you with multiple options to achieve your goals. However, if so instructed, your business technology coach will make decisions on your behalf based on solid experience and understanding of your objectives.

Technology is a fact of life. From cell phones to computers, technology has become a part of our everyday lives. Whether it’s to improve efficiency or to develop new services, companies all over the world are harnessing technology to improve the way they do business. Don’t trust your technology to someone that doesn’t understand business and how you work. A business technology coach can make the difference to your success.

Business Technology Career Training Schools

In business, the use of technology is becoming prominent. Working through a training program can teach students how to understand business technology. Several colleges offer career training to students by preparing them for the work needed within a business. Two main options are available to students and these include completing a certificate or associate’s degree program. Students can learn a number of things prior to enrollment.

1. The goal of education is to learn how to become an administrative assistant or office manager. The skills learned integrate business knowledge with computer technology and training in these areas fosters the correct level of understanding to work in any clerical or supervisory role. The technology of a business includes all computer programs used to keep track of business transactions and communications. Working with Word and desktop publishing programs are all programs covered in the technology side of this degree. Many colleges offer basic business courses as well.

2. When training inside a certificate program students should expect to be immersed in studying how to effectively work with business technology. Colleges create this environment by providing courses in business math, database management, and staff management. Essentially, students are learning how to work as a business technology manager. The skills acquired include being proficient in keyboarding, accounting, and managing. Students can expect to learn how to use computer systems to accomplish everyday tasks needed to help keep a business running smoothly. Continuing education at the associate’s degree level is where most students begin their education.

3. A two-year associate’s degree trains students to enter the competitive field and be successful. With the knowledge gained through specific courses students are able to work inside a business setting and contribute to a businesses operation. Business information systems, business principles, spreadsheets, data management systems, and business communications are all courses that provide the needed career training and experience to enter a career. Students learn what it takes to provide these services to a business. The work done contributes to business information that needs to be typed, saved, and distributed accordingly.

4. The workplace provides a place for trained students to observe and learn more about how a business works. The field is estimated to grow considerably. This is due to the continued need that businesses have for qualified individuals. Trained students are able help a business reach its highest level of potential and workflow making their education in demand. Depending on the level of education students can obtain careers working for a business as an office manager or assistant. The average yearly salary is approximately $35,000. Student’s that find the work of a business intriguing and desire to move up in the industry can find training in management technology. This closely related field prepares students to become managers of an office by operating business technology like computers, spreadsheets, and bookkeeping programs. The added responsibility is gained through the management side of career training.

Business Technology in Small Business

Business technology in small businesses can mean a lot of different things and can be interpreted in many different ways. But it will always come down to the same thing – the technology implemented and used by a business must provide the maximum amount of efficiency for the minimum amount of cost and maintenance.

Technology in business must be well planned and implemented in a sensible manner and a plan for technology management must be developed and adhered to. This may mean moving more of your business systems onto the internet to increase the mobility of your business, or identifying and investing in new systems which will do the same job but in a more efficient manner.

How Can the Internet Help My Business?
If you are looking to save money for your business, the internet is an excellent place to start. If your business includes a small call centre to provide customer service, you could save a lot of money in the long run by investing in changing the phone system to an IP telephony system. This would mean that rather than incurring massive phone bills using normal phones, all calls would be routed over the internet and customers would be able to call in using a normal local telephone number.

It is much cheaper to call someone through the internet than through a standard phone line and the savings you would make here would more than cover the cost of implementing such a system.

You would need to ensure that your business’ internet connection is powerful enough to manage this of course. If there is not enough bandwidth to accommodate all of the calls being made, the sound quality can suffer. As long as both parties can hear what the other is saying, this does not have to be too much of an issue – making allowances for this would need to be part of your business’ strategy for technology management.

What about My People in the Field?
If you have a large team of sales reps in the field, the savings which you could enjoy through the implementation of internet based telephony can be carried on to this side of your business as well. Nowadays, there are many mobile phones available which are capable of making calls over the internet using the 3G network. This would mean a possible upgrade of your corporate mobile phone contract and possibly some retraining for your staff – but ultimately it would save you money on phone bills.

How do I Know that My Company is Now More Efficient?
Technology in business also encompasses the assessment and monitoring of work performed by the employees. With modern networking and targeted technology management, it would be possible to not only make your company run more efficiently for less money; but also allowing you to keep an eye on exactly what is going on in real-time.

There are many products available which will allow you to monitor your employees’ statistics – be it the amount of time they are spending on each call or the amount of time they take to finishing each file before they are able to move onto the next one. Through this, you would be able to address any possible issues which may arise and discuss them with the employee.

Business technology should broaden the horizons. You should be able to do more for spending less. Something as simple as making phone calls cheaper or something as involved as identifying areas of concern in an employees performance and having more information which can be used to develop strategies for the employee to avoid this.

Managing Small Business Technology

Technology Levels the Playing Field

One advantage small business has gained over the years is the ready availability of sophisticated technology that was once the exclusive asset of the largest corporations. But with this benefit comes the additional responsibility of proficient management of that technology.

Customers Demand Better Service

Today’s customer has come to expect the greater convenience and efficiency the Internet Age, with online connectivity to company accounts, or at least computerized records, information databases, and customer management systems.

A Technology Breakdown Can Be a Public Relations Nightmare

Managing your technology may not be at the top of your list of important business activities, but perhaps it should be, because how your computers, database, network, phones, etc. are running can make the difference between being seen by your customers as competent and caring about their needs, or inefficient and unconcerned.

Asset Management Can Be a Daunting Task

Your technology must be chosen and sized to the required tasks and your staff must be proficient in its operation, but there is much more to keep track of. Your technology must be periodically upgraded. It is vital that software be updated for security and fixes. Hardware and software depreciate and must be either upgraded or replaced. When facing budget constraints, decisions must be made whether to continue using current equipment and software, or to replace it. For example, perhaps a three-year depreciation cycle could be extended to five years, but circumstances might dictate replacement, such as the inability of older equipment to support the software needed to remain competitive.

Threats Cannot Be Ignored

Damage from computer viruses, unreliable power sources, improper usage of software, etc. is a problem small business managers didn’t have to deal with in the past. Proper rules need to be set up, taught to your employees, and enforced. Commercial grade surge protectors, UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supplies), or even backup electrical generation may be necessary for the protection of your equipment, and proper technology training of your employees is always important.

Technology Glitches Must Be Handled Properly

No matter how good your hardware, software, and employee training, technology breakdowns do occur. Properly handling them is a matter of communication. For example, if a customer experiences difficulty accessing their account, they may keep trying over and over. This uses valuable bandwidth and CPU time. Multiply this by many customers trying to access your system, and your network, as well as your technicians, could be tied up with customer requests instead of working to solve the problem. The solution is to tell your customers you are aware of the problem, apologize for the inconvenience, and let them know you are working on it.

Outsourcing As a Solution

Many businesses solve their technology management problems by contracting with an outside technology management service. It is important that you chose one which is competent, flexible in its prices and levels of service, and has a reputation for effective communication with its clients.

Managing your business technology is as important for your business as sales, employment, and other aspects of your business. Properly managed, technology can give you an edge over your competitors and bring you up to the level of the large corporations.

Contracting with the right managed support IT service company is a valuable part of a successful business strategy. InHouse Techies offer several levels of managed IT support services, including custom tailored monthly plans.

A Private Eye’s Look at Justice Business Technology

I admit it — I’m hooked on “Veronica Mars.” If you’ve seen the show, you know that the title character finds ways to solve crimes and mysteries each week using some new techie tool or other. Are you searching for a career that incorporates this kind of technology-based investigative work? Look no further than the sizzling field of justice business technology.

Gathering Evidence

Justice business technology is the perfect field for those seeking criminal justice and law enforcement careers that use modern computer technology to prevent and solve crimes. Some of the duties of justice business technology professionals include collecting and analyzing evidence using advanced technology, as well as preventing and investigating computer viruses, identity theft, and Internet crime. With one of many cutting-edge justice business technology careers, you may find yourself working in government, law enforcement agencies, juvenile justice, public and private agencies, homeland security, or corrections, to name a few.

Conducting an Investigation

You already know that when you study at justice business technology schools, you can turn your interest in criminal justice and your passion for adventure into a career in crime-solving. These comprehensive training programs incorporate the advanced technology that adds a whole new dimension to law enforcement.

Specifically, justice business technology schools will provide you with knowledge of criminal justice theories, policies, and procedures, as well as a solid background in information technology, intelligence gathering, computer evidence analysis, network security, and forensics. When you study crime scene techniques, for example, you’ll delve into evidence identification, gathering, and packaging in order to solve cases where there is no suspect.

Courses at justice business technology schools may include computer forensics, crime and crash scene management, modern evidence technology, crime scene techniques, ethics and cultural diversity, weapons training, civil law, communication, psychology, and computer virus issues and prevention.

Cracking the Case

At justice business technology schools, you’ll have the opportunity to spend time in real crime scene labs to review and utilize the tools and techniques you’ll need to succeed in the new age of law enforcement. You may also jump-start your career by completing a justice business technology internship or externship that provides practical, hands-on field experience in a legal environment.

Once you’ve earned your degree, you’ll have your pick of justice business technology careers in local, state, and federal agencies such as juvenile justice, private security, private investigation, loss prevention, law enforcement, corrections, probation and parole, detention centers, community-based intervention programs, and crime scene technician services.