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The future of digital transformation

The future of Digital Transformation is difficult to separate from the past and present as the hype-cycle of tech marketing swirls so rapidly. Marketeers seize on anecdotes from early adopters when often the truth is that the emperor has no clothes.

But stories of pilot and demonstration projects, such as drone deliveries and driverless cars, are important guides to what will gradually become mainstream in the mid-market. Quietly and unremarkably, extraordinary technologies, such as machine learning, become everyday apps and simple business hygiene.

And sometimes technology changes rapidly. The pandemic drove the future of Digital Transformation in two fundamental ways.

Firstly, business and domestic consumers quickly adopted online channels for finding and buying a wide range of products and services. This also extends to after-sales and re-ordering, which are widely online now in a way that seemed unlikely in 2019.

Electronic payment is now normal, and cash has been side-lined. Paper brochures and catalogues have disappeared from many sectors, and everyone expects online service and support.

Secondly, rapid adoption of home working kiboshed old-fashioned managers who said, ‘That will never work.’ Not that it was a simple process. When users are scattered, systems and processes must be defined and must work well. Contracts, orders, and payments must be electronic. Collaboration must be online, and any integration gaps are painfully exposed.

Often digital transformation is driven by people’s attitudes rather than what is technically possible, and attitudes have changed irreversibly.

So in the near future, for many mid-market businesses the next phase of Digital Transformation will focus on the following:

  1. Data has mushroomed, but rather than seeing it as a problem, companies will leverage these new assets for smarter use by humans or AI. Combining data from different sources is now far easier, and cloud-based processing allows for rapid insights that would have been unthinkable even quite recently. Data visualisation technologies, simple machine learning, and process automation are now a reality and can provide a competitive advantage to companies who take up the challenge.
  1. Internal integration and adoption of the cloud should be in the rear-view mirror. The next phase will focus on external integration. Businesses should only select tech products that support integration and should gravitate towards suppliers, customers and partners who form integrated communities. These integrated communities will out-perform those that are not.

Beyond these near-term changes, as cutting-edge tech becomes more commoditised and more widely available, companies will have to work harder to distinguish themselves by their actual product or service. Their brand really must mean something, and they really do need a competitive edge. For example, now any company can stream movies like Netflix; Disney+ has stepped in and enjoyed incredible growth on the strength of its content.

In fact, many forms of leisure will increasingly be online (though online leisure becomes more complicated as social media, content and play converge).

Similarly, products and services will be increasingly virtual, and paid for with virtual currency. Companies will need to tune into this accelerating change and invest in new types of virtual storefronts and virtual branding. Though I hate to use the term, this is the metaverse.

But there is also convergence between digital transformation and ethical and environmental concerns as both regulators and consumers drive this focus. Traceability of products, optimisation of materials and energy consumption, privacy, security, and justifiable decision-making will all become part of the digital transformation agenda.

Digital Transformation is not simple, and companies will increasingly be bought for their data and their technology capabilities. Digital Transformation will be a key value driver, and companies often have to secure their future value by buying another’s.

All these transformations will be good for your business if you also successfully meet human needs. Zoom and shared docs are no substitute for real face-to-face collaboration. You cannot have a real creative discussion, shift entrenched opinions, or lift someone’s spirits online. Digital Transformation can drive everyday productivity, but mental health and employee well-being for most people also means human contact.

Most people want their company to have a vision beyond profit; they want to be part of something greater than an integrated process, and they want to draw more from their work than just their salary. Digital Transformation can absolutely make a difference in a mid-market business, but only when you add in the human factor.

Visit our  Digital Transformation Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

Freeman Clarke is the UK’s largest and most experienced team of part-time (we call it ‘fractional’) IT leaders. We work exclusively with ambitious organisations and we frequently help our clients use IT to beat their competition. Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

5 steps to ERP implementation

An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) project is when you integrate all your company’s core processes into a single system—finance, HR, manufacturing, supply chain, services, procurement, whatever else you need to run your business, back-end and front.

ERP can transform your company. When it’s done right, a new ERP system will deliver savings, service improvements, better compliance, and provide a sound platform for digital expansion and future growth.

But ERP projects are large and expensive undertakings. They are a major exercise for the entire organization and will consume the attention of all key staff and leaders for months. So before you start your ERP journey, have a look at our 5 steps to implementing an ERP.


You may also be interested in our blog post Do You Actually Need an ERP Project?


 

 

Visit our ERP and Integration Issues Knowledge Centre, which includes all content related to this topic.

Freeman Clarke is the UK’s largest and most experienced team of part-time (we call it ‘fractional’) IT directors, CIOs and CTOs. We work exclusively with SME and mid-market organisations, and we frequently help our clients use IT to beat their competition. Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

Do you actually need an ERP project?

An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) project is when you integrate all your company’s core processes into a single system—finance, HR, manufacturing, supply chain, services, procurement, whatever else you need to run your business, back-end and front.

ERP can be a launching pad for transformative growth. When it’s done right, customers are happier, employees are freed from menial tasks, and all the separate parts of your business have access to the same information in real-time. ERP becomes a launching-pad to transformative growth.

When ERP is done wrong, it gets very expensive, not to mention causing more of the stress and frustration you were hoping to squelch by implementing the project.

So before you start pouring precious time and resources into a complicated project, ask yourself if it’s even necessary. If any of the following issues keep popping up, it’s time to get started.

 

 

Visit our ERP and Integration Issues Knowledge Centre, which includes all content related to this topic.

Freeman Clarke is the UK’s largest and most experienced team of part-time (we call it ‘fractional’) IT directors, CIOs and CTOs. We work exclusively with SME and mid-market organisations, and we frequently help our clients use IT to beat their competition. Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

What is an IT Director’s salary?

An IT Director supervises technology, teams and suppliers. They focus on delivery of IT services to support and improve a company.

What is the salary for IT directors in the UK?

Surveys by recruitment companies indicate an IT Director salary can be up to £150,000 per year. The salary of an IT Director will vary by the experience of the candidate, but where they work also matters. IT Director salaries in the London area tend to be the highest, but CTOs can certainly earn high salaries in other cities across the UK.

With all these factors – experience, geography, the quality of the candidate and the needs of the business – it can be complicated to assess an IT Director’s salary.

How to determine an IT Director’s salary?

When we are selecting IT Directors, we look at the following indicators to benchmark their experience and value which helps in determining their salary:

1. Does the IT Director understand the business well, as opposed to just the technology? Do they have strong connections with other business leaders? When they introduce changes to a company, does it drive improvements across a range of areas and activities? Similarly, do they focus on improving key business activities that drive business performance – not just activities more narrowly related to IT or technology?

2. Do they introduce best practice or simply good practice? For example, do they stay informed about the most recent cybersecurity tactics and products? Are they knowledgeable and experienced in modern automation tools to remove repetitive business administration tasks?

3. Do they have excellent team leadership and management skills? Can they grow a high-performing, loyal, and cost-effective internal team? Similarly do they effectively negotiate price, contract and service management arrangements with suppliers?

Ultimately, the position of IT Director is extremely important and can have a huge impact on a business. The IT Director’s salary needs to reflect that. (For more information about the role itself, see our explanation here.)

If you have questions about the role of the IT Director and their salary, we can help. We interview, screen, select and develop more Board-level IT leaders than any other organisation. We’re always happy to discuss the recruitment process or any other IT challenges or opportunities.

Why Freeman Clarke?

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time (we call it ‘fractional’) CIOs, CTOs and IT directors. We work exclusively with ambitious mid-market organizations, and we frequently help our clients to use technology to beat their competition.

To find out more about how we could add value to your business, Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

What is a CTO salary?

A Technology Officer (CTO) is responsible for technology, teams and suppliers. They drive innovation and efficiency across the business.

What is the salary for CTOs in the UK?

Surveys by recruitment companies indicate a CTO salary can be up to £230,000 per year. The salary will vary by the experience of the candidate, but where they work also matters. CTO salaries in the London area tend to be the highest, but CTOs can certainly earn high salaries in other cities across the UK.
With all these factors—experience, geography, the quality of the candidate and the needs of the business—it can be complicated to assess a CTO’s salary.

How to determine a CTO salary?

We simplify determining CTO salaries by using three key factors:

1. Does the CTO look to the horizon—to market leaders and emerging technology—in order to bring innovation and new ideas to the business? Are they genuine leaders in digital, custom software, and identifying market opportunities? Do they continually learn and ensure they are at the top of their game?

2. Do they take a leading role in improving efficiency, effectiveness, and driving business value? Do they create new starting points and innovations to open the door to new business strategies? Or is their job to simply meet the agenda set by more senior leaders?

3. Finally, do they take broad ownership for delivering change? For example, does the CTO facilitate discussions with other leaders within the organisation and potentially outside? Do they work as equals with other Board-level leaders to meet overall objectives? Are they credible and knowledgeable when dealing with investors and other external stakeholders?

Overall, the CTO is an extremely important position that can have a huge impact on a business. The CTO’s salary needs to reflect that. (For more information about the role itself, see our article, What is the meaning of CTO?)

If you have questions about the role of the CTO and their salary, we can help. We interview, screen, select and develop more Board-level IT leaders than any other organisation. We’re always happy to discuss the recruitment process or any other IT challenges or opportunities.

Why Freeman Clarke?

Freeman Clarke CTOs work on a ‘fractional,’ or part-time model. This provides a business with first-class technology leadership without the full-time cost.

Our fractional CTOs are uniquely suited to mid-market businesses. They have outstanding technical expertise. They are strategic thinkers. They understand how to use technology to drive growth. But they are also suited to the culture and reality of mid-market business.

Whatever the remit, our CTOs operate from the fundamental idea of linking a business’s systems and digital strategy to business objectives. This should be the goal of every innovative company because when the two disciplines are connected, we see real, sustainable growth.

Visit our Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

To find out more about how we could add value to your business, Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

 

What is a CIO salary?

A Chief Information Officer (CIO) has the ultimate responsibility for technology, teams, and suppliers. They provide clear oversight of systems, processes, data reporting, and staff.

What is the salary for CIOs in the UK?

According to recent surveys, a CIO salary can be up to £250,000 per year. Some of it depends upon experience, but where they work also has a considerable effect on a CIO’s salary. The base salary in London averages £181,900. This is a wide range, which is why assessing a CIO salary can be complicated.

How to determine a CIO salary?

Where a candidate fits on the range above depends on some key factors relating to the CIO role itself, including:

 

1. To what extent is the CIO responsible for IT strategic decisions? Are they accountable for strategic IT direction or just operational decisions?

2. To what extent do they contribute to business strategy? More specifically, do they contribute IT innovations and options for the business? Do they translate business strategy into IT strategy?

3. To what extent do they lead projects that address changes to process, technology, organisation, and reporting? Or do they just handle the technology component?

4. What experience do they have in terms of internal team size, expenditure on products and services, complex contract management, and potential impact of failure or security breach?

 

Overall, the CIO is an extremely important position that can have a huge impact on a business. The CIO’s salary needs to reflect that. (For more information about the role itself, see our article, What is the meaning of CIO? ).

If you have questions about the role of the CIO and their salary, we can help. We interview, screen, select and develop more Board-level IT leaders than any other organisation. We’re always happy to discuss the recruitment process or any other IT challenges or opportunities.

Why Freeman Clarke?

Freeman Clarke CIOs work on a ‘fractional,’ or part-time model. This provides a business with first-class technology leadership without the full-time cost.

Our fractional CIOs are uniquely suited to mid-market businesses. They have outstanding technical expertise. They are strategic thinkers. They understand how to use technology to drive growth. But they are also suited to the culture and reality of mid-market business.

Whatever the remit, our CIOs operate from the fundamental idea of linking a business’s systems and digital strategy to business objectives. This should be the goal of every innovative company because when the two disciplines are connected, we see real, sustainable growth.

To find out more about how we could add value to your business, Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

Book your FREE Fast Technology Audit TODAY!

Many CEOs and leadership teams encounter frustrations with their IT and business systems. The Fast Tech Audit helps you identify how you can streamline your business, improve customer service, and build business value.

We will provide you with a simple heatmap of your business tech and make practical recommendations for improvements.

We have a limited number of sessions available so book your audit today and unlock your business’ potential.

 

Space is limited, contact us and book your FREE Fast Tech Audit TODAY!

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CIO vs CTO: What’s the difference?

It is quite easy to assume that a Chief Information Officer (CIO) is the same thing as a Chief Technology Officer (CTO). However, there are important differences from the point of view of a mid-market CEO.

Read on to learn about both job titles and their functions.

Visit our Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. To find out more about how we could add value to your business, get in touch.

What is the meaning of ‘CIO’?

First, there is a simpler question: What does the abbreviation ‘CIO’ stand for? The answer: ‘Chief Information Officer.’ But what is the CIO’s role? How is the CIO different from the CTO? How does a CIO make a difference to a mid-market business?

There is no universally agreed definition of a CIO’s role. But in our view, a CIO is a Board-level leader whose remit encompasses all aspects of IT, including systems, processes, organization, and governance.

The CIO helps develop the vision and strategy of the business and ensures the systems and processes create a firm foundation for growth.

For CIOs to succeed, they must be expert at delivering complex, transformational digital programmes. And they must know how to make technology and people work successfully to achieve commercial aims. This means understanding IT in detail as well as being an impressive communicator and organizational leader.

What does a CIO do? What are the roles and responsibilities?

The CIO oversees all internal IT teams and suppliers, all IT budgets and IT operations, cybersecurity, and risk management. Their role may encompass digital and online and they may drive initiatives across other areas as well.

These initiatives should include systems and data integration in order to deliver more efficient processes. Integration improvements are often focused on improving margins and customer service. But the CIO will tie integration to improvements in management information and reporting, which are crucial to enabling growth.

The CIO will also be responsible for streamlining and automating systems and processes whenever possible, in order to enable scalability, reduce costs, and facilitate the ability to demonstrate compliance.

In some cases, the CIO is responsible for linked areas of information and compliance, such as regulatory approvals like GDPR and ISO 27000.

Are there different types of CIO?

Naturally, the CIO’s role will vary depending on the needs of the organization.

In some cases the CIO’s main purpose is to drive transformational change; sometimes the role is to maintain and continually improve infrastructure and systems.

Some CIOs are very externally focused, ensuring, for example, that everyone on the Board understands the needs of their customers. Others are far more occupied by ongoing management of internal operations.

For mid-market businesses, a ‘fractional’, or part-time CIO, provides a cost-effective way to access the skills of a top-class CIO.

How does a CIO impact businesses of different sizes?

Systems and technology are at the heart of any modern business, so the role of the CIO is crucial regardless of its size.

In larger organisations, the CIO leads broad-based initiatives where a siloed approach would be counterproductive, for example in businesses struggling with disintegration and incompatibility. The CIO provides unifying leadership, bringing together different groups, resolving competing objectives, and creating buy-in to a single vision.

For smaller organisations, the CIO ensures that commercial objectives are met by managing suppliers, teams, and specific projects. The CIO understands the technical and commercial details and can make decisions accordingly.

In a mid-market business, the CIO spans the range from unifying leader to expert. Critically, the CIO always sets the agenda and drives the business priorities into the IT culture. The CIO is always aware of the strategic direction of the business and ensures that the systems and digital strategy match.

‘A new business strategy required TGS to become the operational centre of the other businesses within the group. We had no systems in place at the time and a very short timescale, so we needed somebody with the knowledge, experience and drive to understand our business very quickly, source and implement a group wide ERP solution, create a new IT infrastructure, and find a trusted IT partner in minimal time. Freeman Clarke came in and completed what we believed was a mammoth task within our timescales, with no drama and delivered us exactly what we needed. Fantastic.’

Clare Coles, Group Finance Director, Traffic Group Signals.

Why Freeman Clarke?

Freeman Clarke CIOs work on a ‘fractional,’ or part-time model. This provides a business with first-class technology leadership without the full-time cost.

Our fractional CIOs are uniquely suited to mid-market businesses. They have outstanding technical expertise. They are strategic thinkers. They understand how to use technology to drive growth. But they are also suited to the culture and reality of mid-market business.

Whatever the remit, our CIOs operate from the fundamental idea of linking a business’s systems and digital strategy to business objectives. This should be the goal of every innovative company because when the two disciplines are connected, we see real, sustainable growth.

To find out more about how we could add value to your business, Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

What is the meaning of ‘CTO’?

‘CTO’ stands for ‘Chief Technology Officer.’ But what exactly does that role entail? And why are they so important to mid-market companies?

There is no widely accepted definition of the role. However, in our view, a CTO is a Board-level executive responsible for all the technology in the company – including, but not limited to, its IT. The CTO is also responsible for all tech-related teams and suppliers.

The term ‘CTO’ best describes the role required when technology is a significant part of a company’s revenue, profit, or value, often through online and digital initiatives.

A good CTO will have a deep understanding of technology, particularly custom software development, combined with real-world commercial experience. A good CTO also understands funding, valuation, and exit.

A CTO can transform a business by fostering innovation, efficiency, and streamlining. When a CTO combines technology expertise with real-life business experience, they can have a significant effect on the valuation of a company.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a CTO?

A CTO is responsible for all the technology in the company, as well as all the teams and suppliers relating to technology. The CTO manages all the relevant budgets and ensures the secure, reliable, and efficient operation of all these resources.

More importantly, the CTO uses systems and digital to drive innovation and deliver value. This may mean streamlining and automation, or more specific changes, such as improvements to customer service. These changes will often involve creating custom software for market-facing systems.

The software may be central to the business plan, and the CTO may have a key role in communicating the plan to investors and other stakeholders. Thus the CTO’s credibility and track record will be important to the credibility of the plans, and, as a result, the credibility of the entire company.

Are there different types of CTO?

There can be many variations in the roles and responsibilities of a CTO, depending upon the needs of the business. Some CTOs will focus more on infrastructure; others may spend more time on the technology itself. These days, when so much business is conducted online, a CTO may spend the majority of his or her time on customer acquisition or the customer experience.

Often a CTO will take a more global view of the business, looking for ways technology can drive value. This may involve implementing a new ERP or streamlining the IT to increase efficiency and lower overhead.

The exact responsibilities of the CTO will always be driven by the needs of the business, especially for mid-market companies. In these cases, a ‘fractional,’ or part-time CTO, is an affordable alternative.

How a CTO impacts businesses of different sizes

A CTO will have a profound effect on a business of any size. The CTO of a multinational corporation may have thousands of subordinates, and the ability to inspire other leaders, to seek out opportunities and negotiate with internal and external partners will make an enormous difference to the bottom line. Their approach to innovation and security will strongly influence the corporate culture.

In a small business, particularly in startups, the CTO is crucial to survival. They must be nimble and flexible, wearing whatever hat is necessary to keep the business functioning. Since so many startups deal with technology products, the CTO’s talent and acumen is absolutely vital.

In the mid-market space, CTOs combine nimbleness and vision. Here the CTO should influence the culture, such as fostering good security habits and deal directly with suppliers. And they also must be thinking ahead, aligning technology needs to business goals so that the business will thrive.

“Investing in IT has been – and will continue to be – critical for the continued growth and success of our business. Freeman Clarke has given us the confidence we need to make those investments. The flexibility and depth of experience provided by the Freeman Clarke model has been ideal for us as we’ve grown.”

Peter Davies, COO, Gateley

Why Freeman Clarke?

Freeman Clarke CTOs work on a ‘fractional,’ or part-time model. This provides a business with first-class technology leadership without the full-time cost.

Our fractional CTOs are uniquely suited to mid-market businesses. They have outstanding technical expertise. They are strategic thinkers. They understand how to use technology to drive growth. But they are also suited to the culture and reality of mid-market business.

Whatever the remit, our CTOs operate from the fundamental idea of linking a business’s systems and digital strategy to business objectives. This should be the goal of every innovative company, because when the two disciplines are connected, we see real, sustainable growth.

Visit our Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

To find out more about how we could add value to your business, Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

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Graeme Freeman
Co-Founder and Director

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Thank you.

You’ll now receive regular expert business insights.

Call us on 0203 020 1864 with any questions.

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