The Gotta-Have Guy

Why having someone with the skills to manage your business technology is not an option but a requirement.

I’m certain most of you have experienced challenges with technology from time to time. Whether it’s dealing with an update or a plug-in or trying to find a feature in your point-of-sale system or just your smartphone, all of us sometimes reach out for help from a friend or colleague who has the skill to solve computer and information technology (IT) issues.

Those types of issues are not infrequent occurrences, either. They’re critical issues that can bring your business to its knees. With cloud-based, point-of-sale systems, electronic inspections and streaming scan-tool software, as well as using tablet-based hardware on the Internet pipeline, it’s important to consider finding an internal resource to help solve problems that occur just when you can’t afford them to happen.

At the new CTI Research & Development Center in Raleigh, N.C., we have access to a corporate IT team that’s tasked with supporting more than 70,000 team members across the United States and Canada. We’re blessed to have our own IT support team member on staff.

Jeff Miller, technology manager for CTI, is charged with assisting our developer and instructor team. He manages the network in our research center. But more importantly, he makes all the hardware and software in the shop work the way it’s designed to work. Why am I mentioning Jeff in this column?

Do you have technology in your shop? The answer should be yes. Then you need your Jeff, your IT resource. It could be one of your technicians, a computer expert down the street or a tool and equipment supplier where you purchase their products.

If you’re not familiar with our new research center, we have almost every aftermarket and OEM scan tool available. To make these tools work, we need to have someone like Jeff. But it’s not just the scan tools that he helps support.

Jeff also supports our website and our FTP site, along with the animation technologies we create and use in the classroom and online. He keeps our development computers and shop laptops up-to-date to serve up the software from OEM websites or other sources.

Many times over the years, we’ve run into situations when, during the creation of a class, the reprogramming process stops or has damaged an electronic control unit (ECU). In a real shop, this would cost you time and stress. It used to happen often, but today we almost never have an issue. The reason? We have a technology manager who stays ahead of potential problems by keeping our hardware and software up to date.

Having someone available or on staff with the skills to manage business technology needs is not a luxury or an option these days. It’s a requirement. How else are you going to be successful and profitable when you have to deal with reprogramming modules or immobilizer issues, or when you’re serving up all OE scan tool applications on one laptop?

Find your Jeff. You might already have him on staff. Just look for the team member everyone else turns to when they’re having IT issues. Discuss with this person the requirements you’re seeking and compensate them for their support.

In the long run, it will save you and your customers time and money.