You are wasting your time with technology.
It’s costing you time and money and not actually helping you.
We’re swamped with technology, some of it useful, most of it underutilised and some of it just an annoyance.
There’s even a thing called “upgrade fatigue”. Upgrade fatigue – yes, that’s a thing nowadays.
So where are most businesses going wrong with technology?
1. Technology is there “just because”
Businesses have technology because you need the basics: internet access, email, word processing and maybe an application. But very little thought goes into which technology is suitable and why that technology will actually benefit you and your business.
The best analogy here is: cars and trucks.
Your business strategy says that you’re going to grow quickly – you need a Ferrari; you don’t have a technology strategy – so you buy a Camry.
Your business strategy says that you’re going to do big things – you need a semi-trailer; you don’t have a technology strategy – so you buy a ute.
Both the Camry and Ute will get the job done, but at a massive cost to efficiency.
In the real business world though, most businesses have the Camry and Ute because they were suitable at some point in the past. How do you know when to upgrade?
Whilst spending more doesn’t always equate to getting more, it’s important to identify what you’re trying to achieve and the tools you need to get you there.
2. You don’t have a technology strategy
If you’re going to go to the effort of running a business, you might as well focus on getting some ROI for both the time and money you’ve put in thus far.
Looking back on our cars & trucks analogy, you can see how some decisions made in the business’ past can end up harming you in the future if you’re not ready for change.
It’s a fine balance then to understand if and when to upgrade your technology.
The best way is to build a technology strategy that is embedded into your business strategy.
And it’s easy:
Business Goal #1 – achieve by Day 90.
Done – now move to Business Goal #2.
Focus on Business Goal #2 – achieve by Day 180.
Do we have the tools to achieve Business Goal 2 in the timeframe given?
If yes then carry on. If no then refer to the technology strategy.
Technology strategy? Invest is the right equipment for us to achieve Business Goal 2 in the timeframe, keep in mind future business goals for compatibility, etc.
What this probably highlights for a lot of businesses is…
3. …you don’t actually have a working business strategy
Nothing makes less sense that a business strategy with vague statements:
“We plan on being the leading firm in Australia”
“We will increase our market share”
It’s the same as saying “this year I’m going to get fit”.
Really? How fit? By when? And most importantly, why?
What about “I’m going to lose 10 kgs by June” or even better “I’m going to run a half-marathon in under 2 hours by June because I’ve never done it before”.
If you don’t implement a way to measure success, you’ll never know if you’ve ever actually succeeded.
Start with your overall vision (where you want to get to… specifically) and start breaking that down into smaller and smaller steps.
By the end of this process you will end up with a set of tasks with actions and deadlines.
A Technology strategy really just plugs into these tasks. i.e. In order to achieve tasks 4-9, we’ll need XYZ technology. For tasks 10-22 we’ll need an upgrade to XYZ. If we don’t upgrade, then we’ll miss the task 22 deadline which takes our goals further out of reach.
Treat each potential missed deadline with as much importance as you would your own health, and you’ll achieve each one with no problems.
Nik Devidas is the Managing Director of Rock IT, which he co-founded in 2003 when 23. He is now also MD of the DHM Group which includes NewMac Video Agency. Nik is passionate about the subtle use of technology and digital media in business. He believes that technology is the great business enabler, and that when it’s “done right”, it has the power to change a business (or an individual) for the better.