There are countless ways a business can use technology. There are many ways a business can make a mess with technology. I strongly believe answers exist for most businesses, the challenge is that the majority of owners/operators don’t have the expertise and more importantly, the time to invest to understand the best path forward to technological superiority. A bit of research from PC Magazine states, “59 percent of those surveyed said there are ‘insufficient resources’ available in small business communities to help them.”
It’s been reiterated time and time again, often without regard for the audience that technology is an enabler for business. You might be wondering how this known truth applies to you specifically. The answer really boils down to a question of priorities. With resource constraints among the top challenges for small and mid-market businesses, it’s imperative that leaders know up front where they need to focus their time and effort.
Knowing full well that most small and mid-market businesses don’t have strategic technology expertise in house and many of those are constrained in technology spend. Having an idea of which business goal you want to enable with a new technology approach is the first step to building a plan to achieve success.
When assessing which cloud provider, sales enablement or business solution that is best for you – before you can begin to evaluate your options, you first must ask yourself – ‘what business objective(s) am I trying to address?’ The advantage in starting with the business first, is to take an outcome-based approach to evaluating technology decisions. Your business goals provide the foundation to measure the effectiveness of your technology plan.
Prioritize when resources are scarce
Having a definitive connection between your business goals and your technology roadmap allows you to focus and achieve your highest priorities in the most effective manner. In the research article by Strategy&, they state, “the organizations…that embraced these practices were twice as likely to achieve rapid revenue and profit growth as other companies in our study.”
Create a narrative and tell a story that you will use to refer to throughout the process of developing your technology plan. Use a timeframe that makes sense for you and describe how you will know you have achieved your goals for each timeframe. In some (or all) instances you can describe specific measures or outcomes that align with your goals.
Those organizations willing to invest the time to design a technology plan and commit to following through will gain a distinct advantage over their competition. Prioritizing benefits and architecting a roadmap to achieve measurable outcomes is critical. For those organizations that choose to accept the challenge, a true shift is necessary. Bridging the gap between expectations and execution requires commitment and focus.
Know what you’re measuring
The second benefit to starting with your goals when looking for technology solutions is that it’s significantly easier to measure your progress towards said goal. Consistently taking stock of where you are at in the context of a technology plan allows for adjustments along the way. If you don’t have a good description of what ‘done’ looks like, you’ll likely get off track and end up spending more time and money than is necessary.
- Throughout the process, ask yourself the following:
- Does completing this activity get me closer to the goal?
- What adjustments do I need to make?
- Does the timing of my implementation make sense?
- Is there anything else I need to add to my plan?
- Has my business environment changed and do I need to adjust the approach?
Knowing what you want to achieve with technology is the only first step you can take to effectively implement a technology solution.