Aug 28 2013

In Business, IT Is the Best Supporting Actor

The spotlight is on IT as technology becomes an essential part of everyday business.

The role IT plays in achieving business success is essential. Although it may not be the star of the production, IT is often the supporting player that holds everything together.

The Fall 2013 issue of BizTech highlights instances where the knowledge and creativity of IT workers have affected the way small and medium-sized businesses do business for the better.

The Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, for instance, upgraded its aging and spotty wireless service with a state-of-the-art network to eliminate complaints regarding poor or even nonexistent Wi-Fi access.

As Windsor Court IT Manager Denis Barry put it, “I just don’t get calls anymore.”

Similarly, a new Wi-Fi implementation at the Seattle Aquarium paid dividends right away. Now, when the aquarium’s giant Pacific octopus, Umi, sits silently (and she often does), staff with tablets can roam around with streaming video of the cephalopod feeding to show visitors.

IT know-how helps businesses deliver content to end users as well. The Pac-12 Networks, which launched its TV network last August, used the fiber-based high-speed Internet2 network to enable announcers to, for instance, present games “live” from corporate headquarters. Internet2 also minimizes Pac-12 Networks’ reliance on more traditional and expensive content delivery mechanisms such as satellite.

Meanwhile, online broker tradeMONSTER released a mobile web app earlier this year that delivers all its services — and 8 billion quotes a day — to customer tablets and smartphones. An iPad app followed a few months later.

“The iPad app provides unique customization features and can save custom layouts by the user to fit with their own trading objectives,” says Chief Technology Officer Sanjib Sahoo.

IT also plays a significant role in the often thorny issue of how to best merge business processes and technology. The article “4 Ways IT Leaders Can Align with Business Objectives” takes the sting out of this process in four easy steps. Also, IT expert Mike Chapple tackles how to involve all stakeholders when developing data definitions to encourage efficient data governance and — therefore — the better marrying of business and IT goals.

Ultimately, the alignment of business and IT goals is the aim of nearly all tech projects. Our hope is that by reading these stories, your business can borrow pointers from the organizations featured to help make those goals reality.