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Your IT Guy Isn’t Your CTO (and the Different Flavors of IT)

“We don’t need you to come in and install an email system.” – A current client.

Business owners: your IT guy is not your CTO.

There are two distinct flavors of IT: tactical and strategic.

Your IT guy does the important tactical stuff such as desktop support and IT service requests. They procure and install new computers, install the programs people need, make sure the computers work, troubleshoot problems, etc.

Your CTO (sometimes with the help of an IT project management office) is the strategic management (and here’s why you need one).

Anytime you need to install some kind of enterprise-level application (whether it’s a vendor app or it’s homegrown at your company.) you need integration between software so the data flows how it needs to. Management must then get the people trained up, comfortable, and knowledgeable about the data points to enter into the system so that management gets the data they need for the data-informed decision-making process. 

That’s the CTO’s job. They focus on the overall strategy of the organization which includes the tactical support (your “IT guy”) and the strategic enterprise-level work.

The client I’m working with right now doesn’t have an IT department, so we, with one of their existing employees working part-time, form their entire IT organization. In addition to setting up the desktop support and service IT tactical pieces, we’re fixing enterprise applications so they work correctly, eliminate manual steps, and feed to other applications. We’re adding value to the company through configuration, data management, enterprise integration, and developing the long-term strategy to meet their goals.

So, they’re right. They don’t need us to come in and install an email system.

But they do need us to make sure they don’t lose everything in their email system (which they’ve been using as a workflow management system, a document repository, and several other ways that haven’t been standard since the 90s) when their IT guy does install it.

If you’ve never created any sort of IT strategy and wouldn’t know the first place to start, hire us. I create the strategy and, with my team, build the foundation for when you do hire an IT guy or team so that they have a cohesive framework to step into (rather than just the Wild Wild West).