When asked about your technology needs, do you automatically think what hardware and software is needed to get the job done? If that’s all you consider, you’re making a costly mistake. Historically, technology has been centered on efficiency—help me do my job better and faster. However, the current demands placed on technology also include developing new products and branching out into new markets. You also want to make sure you are being reactive to evolving market and customer demands.Technology is what enables your business to be innovative, accelerate and grow. When thinking of your technology needs, you should also be thinking about how much, fast and what direction you want to grow.Technology is not just the cost of doing business; it’s the opportunity to do more.
A technology strategy can cause a lot of mistakes. A main mistake is expecting their IT Managers to fully understand the strategic vision for the business. The technology group should interpret the requirements that emerge as a result of the corporate and business level’s strategic vision. So it’s critical for both groups to work together closely.
The first step in developing a good technology strategy is to understand how your company creates value for your customers. You need to recognize the consistent challenges your organization faces. When evaluating, it’s important to consider what is needed to generate revenue, improve gross margin and improve customer experience. If you intend to grow your business, it’s also important to invest in a scalable infrastructure. Taking this approach will prevent buying one-off stop-gap solutions. Instead, you need to favor the technology that comes with the flexibility and scalability you need to be successful.
The next step is to develop a clear technology strategy that encompasses your business goals. Too often companies jump from one system or application to another without fully realizing the benefits of their technology. Without a defined strategy, companies make poor buying decisions, adopt ineffective tools and often experience a high-level of frustration. The businesses typically establish technology strategies that help gain a competitive advantage. These strategies include cost savings, process improvements, faster time to market, and improved quality and service levels.
Lastly, the key to making technology work for you is to take the time to learn it. All too often, people rush into using tools, only to end up using a fraction of its optimum functionality. By investing the time to learn the technology available to you, you will create additional efficiencies in your operations. This will allow you to spend more time on your business.
Businesses that are responsive to their customers gain a clear competitive advantage. This includes anticipating their needs and tailoring their business processes to best serve their customers. That’s why it’s critical for businesses to understand the part technology can play in reaching these goals. There isn’t a better way to offer quality products and services, and be responsive to your customers.
Technology encompasses both a cost of doing business and an opportunity to do more. There needs to be a dynamic balance between efficiency and innovation. After all, innovation through technology is what creates new opportunities.