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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.

Accredited training schools give students all of the skills needed to enter the field ready for work. Accreditation is provided by agencies like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (www.aacsb.edu) to schools and colleges that offer a quality education. Beginning training is the first step to earning a college education. Complete the first step by finding a program in business technology.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

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