Why your company should have an internal IT leader at the table

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Why your company should have an internal IT leader at the table

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JThe growth and consolidation of technology in the vacation rental industry has exploded over the past five years. In a market where there were only five to ten major property management system (PMS) vendors, there are now over a hundred. Some older players have exited the market, while others have been acquired or gone out of business. There are also several vendors that only offer elements of the full functionality that older enterprise PMSs provided in the past.

What current systems do (or don’t do) is diverse and complicated. Understanding how all the different solutions fit together and knowing who to call when something isn’t working is no easy task.

With technology playing an increasingly strategic role in the vacation rental market, it’s important that companies make the right technology decisions.

Many companies have grown with a core team of operators and made their technology decisions along the way based on what was available at the time rather than a long-term business and technology plan. Hiring an IT manager as a permanent member of your sales team is an important and strategic decision that can help take your business to the next level.

A problem for small and medium-sized businesses is whether they are making the right technology decisions and making the best use of their current technologies to grow their business while increasing efficiency and improving the experience for employees, owners and customers. guests. Growing technologies such as mobile, cloud, robotic process automation, and artificial intelligence can provide new opportunities to serve customers, and these opportunities are easier to spot with an IT specialist on your team.

An IT manager who understands your business, not just the technology, is imperative. They should be part of the budgeting process, be involved in developing your strategic plans, engaged in marketing and business development projects, and thoroughly familiar with the day-to-day running of your business. They should map the entire customer journey (guest and owner) and work with you to determine areas for improvement.

A dedicated IT manager can help you navigate all the options and work with cloud providers, vendors, and external contractors. Someone once told me that their PMS system only took 1% of their time for support, but 100% of their time when issues arose.

Are you ready to step away from running your business and serving your guests to fix a breakdown? An IT manager will know how to negotiate a contract with a cloud service provider that includes all availability, redundancy, failover, and security requirements to support your operations with penalties for outages or violations.

How much should a property manager spend on technology?

According to a Flexera According to the 2020 survey, average IT spending across all industries is 8.2% of revenue, with an average of 18% for cloud-based technologies. Compare this to your expenses to see if you are investing enough in the success of your business.

What type of role should you hire?

Computer science has almost as many disciplines as medicine. When you are sick, do you need a GP, a physiotherapist or an orthopedic surgeon, and how do you know?

Your business may need help from these technology roles: End User Support, Support Technician, Network Technician, Network Engineer, System Administrator, Systems Engineer, Database Administrator, Telecom Technician, Developer, Software Engineer. cybersecurity, IT manager, etc. A senior manager on your team will know what kind of support your business needs and who will contract or bring into your team.

Suggestions for finding the right leader

Hire someone who speaks both languages

A pure IT person will not understand your business. Someone who has worked in the vacation rental industry in technology or technology consulting will be a better fit.

Hire senior position

The position must have an equal voice on the management team. They must be able to communicate well and explain the technology in a non-technical way, including how it will benefit your operations. They must be able to negotiate with vendors, maintain strong vendor relationships, and possess a strong customer service mindset. Hiring someone with a salary between $40,000 and $50,000, depending on your location, won’t get you the skills you need. Use Salary Monster or other online recruiting tools to find the appropriate salary range for your market. If this level position is not in your budget, consider a part-time role that still sits at the executive level. This is sometimes called a virtual CIO.

Check their references

It’s so simple, but people often forget to do it. An IT resume may look impressive, but the reality may be different. Talk to your former employers or clients. Technologists can be great on systems, but difficult to fit into a team. Look for experience in both areas.

Give them some rope

Even a seasoned pro will need to know your unique business model and operations. They need time to watch and learn. If you can, have them attend a two-week boot camp where they will work a few days in each department. Don’t expect great results immediately.

Measure what matters

Each department has different objectives. IT will not have a business development objective. Track project successes, on-time or under-budget deliveries, cost savings, and new efficiencies. How they control and contribute to change management (which is a whole other article) should be a priority. Employee satisfaction with IT services is also a good measure.

Strategic leaders of growing companies know the challenges they face and the results they hope to achieve, but they may not know all the options to get there. Technology is now essential to building a strong business, but the technologies themselves have become more complex and difficult to understand. To keep pace with rapidly evolving solutions, you need a technology leader on your sales team.

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