IT Gurus — Tech Trek: Search for Stars
Al Kennickell, center, connects with his IT staff.
David Torok, left, works with his IT team.
Kahn advises: "You only have a fit once you know what the job is and whether the applicant can do that job. The IT core of any company begins with the right software and the right person to program and maintain it. Offering IT services is a way to expand business, but if the game plan (the job description) isn't adequately defined, or if the IT person doesn't have the right skill sets to run it, the program may fall on its virtual face."
Much in the same way printers have kept up with other technologies in the past, "they must be investing in IT applications and IT managers today--and even that's getting off to a late start," he insists.
One of the problems is that with today's economic downturn, printers may not have the funds to invest in IT or any new technology, for that matter. However, Kahn stresses that investing in tomorrow's applications, which customers are increasingly demanding today, is critical in keeping your business alive.
"When the economy turns around, more customers will be asking for digital and electronic products, and printers need to be ahead of the demand," he says. "IT requests will only grow, and investing in the technology and people to employ it is one business venture that printers can't afford to miss."
Big printers have the capital to attract IT people; they have the ability to grow their IT departments. And, their pockets are deep enough that the growth pangs, quirks and mistakes won't prevent them from moving forward. However, most printers aren't big, and building an IT department takes time.
Al Kennickell, president and owner of Kennickell Print and Global Marketing in Savannah, GA, knows the value of incorporating IT services into his graphic communications company. He reports that about 15 percent of his company's total sales comes from products that require programming. In fact, he says, 50 to 60 percent of all new business has programming involved. Also, having programming capabilities helps his sales reps get in the door for new business opportunities.