Technology is always at the front our minds these days. We know it can make us smarter, faster and more accurate – both in our professional and personal lives. But many companies are getting tunnel vision – focusing on the technology first, and then figuring out how to fit the solution into the business – and putting the cart before the horse.
When technology drives business decisions instead of the other way around, brands often run into the following issues:
- Higher technology costs due to rebuying technology if it isn’t fitting with the company’s long term goals.
- Lost opportunity costs, including reduced revenue, if technology does not solve the biggest business problems.
- Lower employee and customer satisfaction if technology does not meet their needs.
Here are three ways to keep technology from driving business decisions:
1. Take the long view.
Many brands use technology to try to put out immediate fires instead of creating a long-term plan for using technology to grow the business. This results in making quick decisions that are based on the biggest problem of the moment, not necessarily the biggest business problem for the long term.
Instead of starting with what technology you want to purchase to solve your biggest problem today, think about your business plan for the next five years and ask the following questions:
- How can technology help solve business goals that are likely to arise down the road?
- What technology can help your company meet your growth and revenue goals?
- How can you best use technology today to get to where you want to be tomorrow?
A long time client was recently focused on achieving stability after a new merger. The company wanted to make all their technology decisions based on the largest fires of the day. By working with the company and discussing the goals for after stability was achieved from the merger, the client was able to make smarter and more financially sound decisions regarding technology.
2. Know the business case for every technology purchase.
It’s easy to get caught up in the shiny object syndrome and purchasing a new technology because it is the latest and greatest. Before making a purchase, determine exactly what business problem the technology solves – increases productivity, improves customer satisfaction, improves employee satisfaction, or increases revenue. The next step is to quantify the value of the business problem the technology addresses and compare the costs to the cost of the technology. And you will likely then have your answer in black and white regarding purchasing the technology.
When AEM 6.3 was released, one of our customers took the time to evaluate the new features and improvements in the new release. Instead of falling prey to the shiny object syndrome and automatically purchasing the latest version, the client made the business case. And spoiler alert – Because of our extensive experience and knowledge of AEM, we advised the client to hold off for a short time on upgrading until the next service pack fixed the initial bugs and issues.
3. Be open to new technology, even if it means training and changing some processes.
Change is hard. And many companies want to keep things the same when it comes to technology – similar features, similar interface and similar products. By being stuck on certain points of a technology, brands can limit their business by not looking at how making changes can bring big benefits to their bottom line.
When a client was considering purchasing AEM, they kept comparing the features and interface from their previous CMS. While it’s important to make sure a product has the functionality you need, the client was focusing on things that were not important to the business case and overlooking features that could help grow the company.
It’s not easy to keep business needs at the forefront in today’s technology-driven culture. By being aware of this tendency and focusing on using technology in ways to further your business goals, your company will ultimately be better off in the long run.