7 Business Challenges a Part-time IT Director Can Help With

IT is one of the most commonly overlooked parts of a business. The jokes about the divide between the IT department and corporate management are common to the point of cliche. But, they contain a kernel of truth and a warning.

In a small business, the tech may not be too difficult. With only a handful of staff, there may only have been a need for one tech-savvy person who understands the printer. As businesses grow, you may encounter bigger IT business challenges and may need more support.

How an IT Director can help your business scale-up

With parts getting smaller, computers are getting more and more powerful. They’re key to modern life and getting IT right is a must for any business. The problem with such rapid development is that it can be hard to keep up.

Keeping apace with the latest tech is a job all of its own. When you’re already running a business, it can be hard to find the time to learn everything you need, let alone implement it. You need someone at the senior level to guide your business through the challenges it will face:

 1. Assessing IT

As businesses grow, it’s not uncommon for their IT solutions to develop organically, without oversight. Maybe an accountant recommended a software, someone in production suggested a design tool, marketing asked for a range of automation tools and sales adopts a CRM.

Without supervision, this can lead to confusing systems that don’t “speak” to each other and no one truly understands.

If something breaks in a complex system, replacing it can have unexpected knock-on effects. Without understanding something, it’s hard to see where there might be gaps or indeed overlaps. An experienced IT Director can assess your existing architecture to identify problem points and inefficiencies.

2. Establishing Resilient Systems 

It might be tempting to set up a network of new tech in one go, filling it with what seems best at the time. Unfortunately, tech changes quickly and every system needs room for upgrading. If the only way to upgrade is to replace large portions of it, then a lot of cost will be incurred for no good reason.

An IT Director can build a system that will scale-up more naturally. Smaller upgrades, planned in advance, will keep costs low and prevent you from falling behind the competition.

3. Setting up an IT Department

An IT department falls into an odd niche in many businesses. It goes against the grain in that the best functioning IT departments are the ones that you see the least, lending itself to a very different management style.

This can lead to managers without a tech background struggling to understand how best to lead the team. 

A director that understands IT can help hire and train an IT team that you can trust to keep your tech in the best working order.

4. Ensuring Compliance

IT comes with its own set of laws and guidance. Data must be properly protected, while cyber security needs expert guidance. To many, the levels of protection and threat are beyond their personal experience and decoding it all takes a long time.

An IT Director can help keep your business safe and inline with the law.

5. Managing Digital Assets

The internet is a crucial marketing channel to master in the modern world and the IT department may be responsible for the company’s online presence or they may outsource it. Either way, a poorly built website will drive away customers, while there are digital channels that you might not even realise exist. An IT Director can help you build and support your online presence.

6. Adding Automation

Computers can do almost anything and there’s a lot of value to get out of them. Many parts of a business can be automated, which can help keep staffing costs down and speed up growth.

From simple solutions like timesheet software for your workers to robotic construction lines to streamline production, an IT Director can help establish the right automation for you.

7. Remote Working

Not all work has to be done from the office anymore. Working from home can be more productive and save money on providing office space.

Even if the majority of your workforce is best suited in person, it may be that you can spread out your operations more effectively. The importance of being able to switch a business to remote working can’t be understated.

No one wants to find themselves having to rapidly switch anything in their business without planning it out. Remote working comes with new threats to face and enough solutions available making any choice challenging.

An IT Director can help you become remote-ready so you can incorporate distance into your business’ regular operations.

Why a part-time director could help

As you can see, it’s very important to get your IT right. But, getting the support you need can come at a significant financial commitment when Executive Directors are involved. A Part-time IT Director, however, can bring you all the expertise you need at a fraction of the cost.

All of these challenges can be faced without needing a full-time hire. An initial review can provide the framework for your business to grow, while regular reviews and input in strategy meetings can help keep your IT needs on track.

This can all be accessed by finding the flexible, expert support that comes with a Part-time IT Director. By working as often as fits your business, they can be there on a budget that suits you.

If you think your business could benefit from a Part-time IT Director or want to know more, contact us and talk to one of our Regional Directors about what we can do to help.

Contact your Regional Director of Boardroom Advisors

Written by: John Courtney

John is highly ranked in the Top 100 UK Entrepreneurs list by City AM and is winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from techSPARK. He has been a Board Director himself for over 40 years and first started placing Non-Executive Directors over 25 years ago. John founded and ran seven of his own businesses including a Management Consultancy for 10 years, a Corporate Finance offering for 10 years and a mid-sized Digital Agency for another 10 years.