When Should You Plan for Technology?

plan

The most common approach – and wrong way – to plan for technology occurs after the business strategy has been laid out.  The leadership team goes offsite and does a lot of deep thinking to determine what the future holds for their organization.

Great ideas fly. New directions reviewed. The final plan is locked down. It is then delivered to the organization to digest and align.

That’s how the taxi companies built their plans while Uber moved their cheese.  Time and again, we see organizations develop their plans without consideration to the capabilities that technology might offer.

3D printing not ready to keep up with mass production?  True, but maybe it’s an excellent add-on service for old parts or small quantity runs. It enters you into the game of 3D printing and additive manufacturing.

Factor Technology Within Your Business Planning

The best time to consider the impact of technology is while you are reviewing your business value proposition, competitive advantage, production and distribution plans – in your overall business strategy.

Technology can optimize and automate certain aspects of your operation that can drive costs down and reduce cycle times.  Technology can present capabilities to your organization that were not present before.

Like most innovations, there is a slow creative curve of deliberation on the trends and impacts of new concepts until an epiphany occurs.  That “ah-ha” moment.  When the pieces fall into place and you see the new solution.

Whether you are a law practice, a machine shop manufacturer, a food products distributor, look at technology as one more key element of the value delivery model, looking for synergy in your value model.

Dashboards from Data

A great example of this type of thinking comes to play with the current trend toward dashboards. Data is spewing out of your systems at increasing rates.  Unsure what to do with this ever increasing volume of data, most organizations ignore it, focusing on business as usual.

A smaller group take a few bits and pieces to create a report or two. A minority who are looking for real innovation, massage the data into powerful dashboards that paint a picture of the operation.

From here, the organizations find quality opportunities to improve production, reduce costs, improve communication with clients and employees, and overall, operate at much higher levels than their competition.

Embrace the Technology

If any of this resonates, gets you thinking, here’s your best approach to get started.

  • Invite your top technology partner/executive to your planning session, and start talking.
  • Ask questions about how trends in technology might impact your operations.  How can you accelerate production?  Improve revenues?  Find new markets? Add cross sell or upsell solutions?

Just start talking. The ideas will come.  Slowly. Inevitably. They will slowly change the organization.

Over time the change will be profound. And you might find that you just Uber’d your competition.

Did you miss Part 1 & two of our conversation? Check them out here.

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