Technology is everywhere. You need it so your company can stay competitive. It is not, however, a tool that you can simply pick and choose from without informed decision making. For example, imagine you have a brand-new Porsche 911 at your disposal. Sure, it's beautiful and runs smoothly, but if you're looking to haul drywall from Home Depot to your house, it's probably not going to be the best vehicle for the job. Similarly, if your company's business technology strategy is not aligned with the needs of your business, it’s never going to work. Careful planning and implementation are crucial, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, and will maximize the value of every IT dollar you spend.
Information technology is one area that needs careful consideration. If, for example, your company relies on assembling components, an automated bill of materials and software for vendor quotations are essential. Likewise, banking organizations cannot be without the latest up-to-date software for managing online customer accounts. Additionally, a design or manufacturing firm must have sophisticated design tools to keep up with the capabilities and pace of its competitors.
Information technology can also:
- Lower the cost of operation, information processing, and selling.
- Help differentiate and customize products through automation.
- Coordinate regional, national, and global activities.
The Unlimited Potential of Technology
Think about Uber. It simply wouldn’t exist if users didn’t have the connectivity to its service, and ability to “call a cab” with a press of their touchscreen phones. Many companies are allowing employees to use their smartphones for communications, information access, and to stay connected to the organization. Smaller organizations often operate on the principle “We don’t fit that model. We’re a job shop.” Your company may be small and not as far reaching as Uber, but the potential for technology to reshape the business is just as large.
When you think of technology in smaller enterprises, it does not have to be limited to 3D printers or advanced robotics. Installing the right productivity software can make all the difference. You can use it to create an open communication framework, virtual connections between your teams, and rewards for employee performance. You can better track performance and identify the factors impeding it. The ideal software solution will also help your organization manage productivity goal setting in a more effective way.
How You Use Technology Is Often More Important
You can have the best technology, but the lack of a plan will leave you with that Porsche 911 that doesn’t deliver the goods. Proper planning will help you:
- Be more collaborative rather than competitive. This will improve the relationship you have with suppliers, stakeholders, and customers. In many cases, the less you compete, the more you can boost these relationships.
- Not get lost in the complexity. Focus on the simple instead, and simplify processes using tools such as enterprise resource planning systems. An ERP system helps to automate and simplify processes, analyze the right metrics, concentrate on what drives costs, and identify the right strategy.
- Take advantage of being small. A small business is more adaptable than the larger players. It may lack sophisticated, complex infrastructures and systems, but the standard tools used can help adopt new technology much more rapidly.
A small business can implement technology for cost reduction, making operational improvements, and finding new revenue sources. It can do so less expensively and in a shorter time. That means staying competitive in volatile, rapidly changing global markets.