Have you got the right person?

Enrique Dans. Professor. IE Business School

14 February 2012

Technology has advanced so much that it is now a major competitive advantage factor. That’s why it is so important to have the right person in charge of this crucial field.

Few things evolve as fast as technology and its role in business. It has taken only a few years to go from machines and programs that were used to mechanize, automize and do the same things we did without them but more efficiently, to creating whole new work environments that equip us with competitive intelligence, launching a revolution in the way we communicate and interact with clients. Technology management can help create serious competitive advantages (or disadvantages). And the question is: have you got the right person in charge of it?

Is your director of technology the kind of person who makes things easier or more difficult? The role has undergone drastic changes, morphing from a restrictive environment and lacking in diversity, into a rich environment that fosters innovation, because it is through workers, clients, analysts, etc., connected online, and through careful monitoring and participation that many companies achieve competitive intelligence.

Is he/she an optimizer? Measuring directors based solely on their ability to maintain the stability of the system at all costs is a thing of the past, and the only thing it achieves is a totally conservative profile. What you need now is efficiency in costs, outsourced functions through which technological advance has made it impossible for us to be competitive, and, above all, flexibility.

Are you up to speed? Do you have a user profile similar to that of your kids, or do you think that “ all that new stuff” is just a fad that isn’t serious or doesn’t apply to business. When sellers from your sector come to your firm, do they avoid your director of technology because of his/her conservative attitude?

And above all... Does he/she talk in meetings and executive committees? Technology has to play an increasing role in corporate decisions, and senior managers have to have a personal profile that includes the use of technology to make their work easier and enable them to observe and understand new trends.

We are talking about fundamental changes in an increasingly critical role. So do you have the right technology manager?

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