To optimize technology’s capacity to help you guide smart innovation, achieve scale, and sustain a competitive edge, begin not with the solutions available on the market, but with your company’s goals and challenges.
Choosing the right technology from the beginning is critical to optimizing its capacity to help you guide smart innovation, achieve scale, and sustain a competitive edge. So, where do you start? Instead of focusing on the range of solutions currently available, it might make more sense to “reverse engineer” what your company needs based on your goals and challenges.
Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, notes that your technology purchases should be aligned with one of three business goals: reducing costs (or improving efficiencies), improving the customer experience, or innovating in a manner that allows you to sell new customer offerings. “So one is really about productivity, the second is about quality, and the third is about innovation,” he says. To that end, it pays to ask some critical questions about what it is you’re asking technology to do. For example, are you looking:
- For opportunities to reduce operating costs?
- To increase efficiencies in new product development and hasten time to market?
- To deepen your penetration of vertical markets or expand to new industries or geographic regions?
- To strengthen your performance in customer service?
- For goals focused on internal targets such as streamlining administration and enabling greater collaboration within teams and across your organization?
With those answers and the endgame in mind, it becomes easier to perform a critical evaluation of the technology—both what you have and what you need—and its ability to help reach your goals.
While you’re making technology comparisons, you then want to think about the bigger picture. As you weigh any technology’s ability to help you meet your goals, ask yourself, will it:
- contribute to the bottom line,
- scale with the company,
- offer ease of use, and
- be compatible with your culture?
Taking those questions and goals into account will, ultimately, help you build solutions designed to bolster productivity, quality, and innovation.
Learn more about Technology as a Competitive Edge.