With the President’s technology advisory council finding itself in the news lately, it made us think about the importance of some sort of tech advisory panel for any business owner. This kind of advisory group can suggest and recommend different initiatives a business can take to advance its technical agility and products, which is something that any business will benefit from.

All businesses, including the government, can become outdated in their utilization and implementation of technology. Taking advantage of a technology advisory panel can provide the business with fresh perspectives on the IT products and services they’ve overlooked, as well as how technology can fuel their business strategy and help reach strategic goals. The panel’s members can help spot areas that need to be brought up to date with new technology, and can help a CEO prioritize these updates and lay out an implementation plan.

The tech advisory council can be made up of people internal or external to your organization: outsider perspectives are always great to hear, but you may not have those kinds of connections. Joining some kind of peer group can help create a network of experienced IT pros whose opinions and support can prove to be invaluable. It’s also a good idea to include additional input from people who are part of your organization, and thus already familiar with your business and technology challenges. The most important thing to look for in an advisor, regardless of their relationship with your business, is to ensure that they can offer helpful ideas and participate in a meaningful dialogue. There’s no room for “yes men” and naysayers on the panel!

If you don’t have some kind of tech advisory panel today (or even a more informal group of people to act as a “sounding board”), it’s time to start making some new connections! Start up a series of brief, informal meetings where you can discuss your challenges with others and learn about new IT concepts and products that can take your business processes and strategy to the next level.