Computers and other technology are an essential part of most industries, helping to improve work flow and get a company operating at its peak. But not every one has the same level of technological comfort and skill when it comes to using technology. That's where directors of technology come in. Technology directors help ensure that the technology an organization uses helps it meet their goals. This position, while varying by firm and industry, has some general characteristics that are typical across most sectors.
Purchasing technology for your firm is a critical role for a director of technology and one that has many aspects. A tech director should be skilled in replacement planning and budgeting so that equipment can be phased in, rather than replaced all at once to avoid downtime and work flow disruption. Resource management skills such as loss prevention and inventory management allow a good tech director to deter theft and know exactly where specific pieces of equipment are located when they are needed. In a business with a lean budget, you must have good communication skills to secure funding for necessary technology from management. Research skills are also very helpful in technology selection since time and funds are limited and mistakes in choosing equipment can cause critical outages, decreased quality and even injuries.
Once you have the technology installed, you must see to it that it operates when it's needed without disruptions. This aspect might require you to physically move heavy equipment. You may work with systems and networking employees to relocate equipment and cabling when necessary. You also need an understanding of safe and secure technology disposal to prevent obsolete equipment from exposing secure data to the public or even harming the environment. The equipment you might need to know will vary by company, but expect to know a variety of tech equipment from computers to printers and other electronic equipment.
Tech directors must not only understand the technology itself, but they must also understand how the technology advances the entity's mission statement. You must communicate with management on a regular basis to understand what their goals are and how you can use technology to meet those goals. You must constantly evaluate your technology in light of how it is currently meeting these goals. Technology not serving its purpose must be moved elsewhere to roles more suited to its lesser quality or it must be recycled. Sometimes a tech director or his staff needs to upgrade computers, such as installing more memory, to allow them to better perform their tasks. Similarly, since repair is often planned or completed by the tech director, you may have to set up or administer a tech help desk.
Managing employees is also a technology director's role. Whenever a new technology staff member is needed, you might participate in the interviewing process and you may even conduct the interviews yourself. You must also direct staff to perform tasks as needed in a way that is efficient and helpful, and complete employee schedules to verify you have enough employees available to do so. Evaluating the tech staff will likely be part of your role.
Training staff members of varying levels of tech savvy is another role you might play in your organization. You will probably be trained on the new technology by a manufacturer's representative, and in turn you'll train your tech staff. Then, you and your staff might test the equipment to learn what questions and concerns other users might have. Drafting training manuals that tailor new technology to existing processes may also be the tech director's job. You'll train other employees on proper and safe use of the equipment and provide them with job-specific documentation.
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