Technology is dynamic, and there is no place this is more evident than in the web and mobile space powered by the internet. The plethora of tools, platforms and models that are churned out on a daily basis are enough to make the head of any C-level executive spin, more so that infotech permeates across all sectors. It therefore calls for one to have a process through which any technology will be assessed to decide whether it is of value to the business. Over the past weeks I have interacted with a number of small to medium sized businesses looking to gain an edge in a very competitive landscape. A frustrating outcome to some of these meetings is the finger to the wind approach that many have when scouting for the one up, a blind dive in the direction of current buzz.
Two questions would for a start give guidance towards a strategy framework that can be filled out once put into effect.
What do we use currently in the day to day running of our business that could use an overhaul?
This will have one looking at the bottlenecks that cause inefficiencies or reduce the value of the business in the eyes of the consumer and could range from product quality, marketing to customer care. Thereafter a look at best practice globally will show acceptable corrective measures that can be initiated. There is no point of refining a process whose change will not bring any incremental benefits to the business save for bragging rights.
What is our innovation pipeline?
There isn’t a business process that cannot be innovated upon. What this question does, is reveal whether your business is a leader or follower, with each state having its pros and cons. Businesses actively looking for insights and trends in in-house plus industry data are more inclined to look at custom built solutions to meet their need; which tugs along attendant issues of how to appropriate the technology and the obvious increased cost of ownership. Most businesses however, are in the comfort zone of the majority and are simply looking at keeping abreast with industry movements; a space well served by software as a service – SaaS and platform as a service – PaaS offerings.
There are many factors that guide technology adoption; from capabilities of the company to its operating environment. Nonetheless it should be informed by a well thought out strategy that will deliver business value that eventually impacts the bottom-line positively.