Inside Digital Disruption
Common SMB Issues and Challenges with Technology Planning
Much has been made about digital disruption. Platforms such as Uber, Car2Go, eBay and the like have altered the consumer experience. While it goes without saying the impact technology and innovation has played in our personal lives. So why is it that the same hasn’t occurred to the same extent in the workplace?
We’ve distilled the challenges facing small- and mid-sized businesses in to four primary areas. In most instances, organizations face at least two of the following in their desire to find technology that specifically addresses their goals and supports their business model.
The number one challenge facing organizations today when it comes to digital disruption is lack of purpose. The successful use of technology in business requires a comprehensive understanding of how it will support and enable the core business functions. Leaders need to ask themselves – ” What are we trying to do with our technology?”
We’ve witnessed many organizations implement solutions and software to support one or two components of the business without regard for how the end-to-end processes will be impacted.
To effectively become a digital business, the organization must first build a common understanding, vision and purpose as to how technology will support and enable the processes and people across the entire business. Ensuring alignment between business functions and technology enablement helps drive the organization towards understanding its’ purpose. More importantly, the exercise helps to prioritize where to focus technology and the impact it will have on the business.
Not to be forgotten, communicating the vision and purpose across the organization helps with commitment and collaboration throughout the digital business journey.
We know that running a business can be challenging. Competing demands on your time makes focusing on digital disruption difficult. You’re busy, we get it.
Successful execution of a digital business planning requires focus. Effectively developing a plan with purpose needs time commitment. We don’t like to admit this, but more often than not, we’ve seen organizations lose sight of their technology plans when things get busy and people get pulled in many different directions. A successful digital business prioritizes technology effectively. Understanding the investment in time and resources – knowing the short- and long-term benefits to your business – keeps the plan focused and on track.
When it comes to your time, focus on having conversations about business benefits and outcomes and not about software features and functions.
Another challenge facing leaders is knowing who to involve in the process and when to involve them. Leaders often try to take digital business planning and keep a lid on it. This is precisely the wrong thing to do.
Working through these plans in a vacuum will create uncertainty across the business and ultimately results in challenges and increased business risk during execution. Involving more people in building the plan creates a better long-term answer. Additionally, you really have to ask yourselves two questions. “What are we good at?” and “Where do we need help?” Knowing what you know and what you don’t know will keep you from struggling through the process of developing solutions and technology plans.
Involving people from across the business allows you to work collaboratively to understand technology needs and requirements holistically and opens up communication. One huge benefit to involving a broad group of people in the process is commitment to the digital business plan – breaking down those change management barriers in technology implementation.
You may think that the biggest challenge is not having a digital business plan. We could easily make an argument that having a plan that isn’t aligned with your business goals is worse than having no plan at all.
When it comes to digital disruption, your plan (or roadmap as we like to call it) must be developed with flexibility in mind. Your plan should be aligned with your business goals, designed to be modular and allow for scalability. A technology roadmap with these characteristics allows you to execute with purpose and respond to evolving business and customer demands.
By no means are we suggesting this is a comprehensive list of everything you could encounter on your digital disruption journey. What has your experience been? What other issues have you witnessed?
Comment below and share and lets start a conversation.