By: Scott Kroh
The guest speaker for the January 2015 meeting of the IMA, Institute of Managerial Accountants, was Matt Meier the CIO for the Crosby Group. Mr. Meier has spent the majority of his career implementing and maintaining technology for enterprise organizations such as GM, Rolls-Royce and now the Crosby Group based in Tulsa, OK. His discussion focused on several areas of IT that can help drive a successful business strategy such as network design, infrastructure, business applications, social media and a term we’ve all become familiar with called the “cloud”.
Mr. Meier began by discussing the importance of a network that connected all business users. He mentioned giving users access to network resources regardless of company location, is a great way to gain efficiencies and provide cost savings. One such example is the utilization of technologies like voice over IP otherwise referred to as VoIP telephony. From a cost perspective, it can greatly reduce intercompany long distance charges by giving employees the ability to dial fellow employees in another city by simply entering their extension. The call “goes over” the internal network and avoids the charges of going through a long distance provider.
Next, the topic of network infrastructure was discussed which includes everything from servers and data centers, firewalls, routers, network switches and cabling. In my opinion, there is a lot that can be done from an infrastructure perspective for most companies that can improve the speed of the network, improve the user experience and in the end save time which can provide a measureable return on investment. Things like installing larger more robust switches and reducing the overall switch count to reduce “daisy chains” which can cause slow network performance. Or standardizing on things like a common firewall for each and every location will maximize security and allow for easier support as questions or issues arise with such hardware devices.
Finally, Mr. Meier talked about the importance of business applications such as ERP enterprise resource planning software and CRM customer relationship management software. He said that many business in today’s market use a mix of on premise and cloud applications to accomplish needed functionality. For example, the Crosby Group determined that it made since to deploy Microsoft’s Office 365 which is a cloud based model as opposed to hosting Microsoft Office internally. They felt that the “total cost of ownership” of possibly hosting internally would consume too much of their IT staffs time. With Office 365, Microsoft handles all updates, maintenance, backup, provides server space and allows Crosby’s IT staff to focus on their business.
Please go to http://www.tulsaima.com/ for more information on the Tulsa Chapter of the IMA.
Scott Kroh assists CS3 clients with software selection of ERP and HR for both Cloud (Saas) and on-premises.