Making the right investments in technology while minimizing risk and reducing cost barriers can be challenging for any business. Whatever the technology, the vendor landscape is vast, ever-changing, and genuinely remarkable when you consider what you can get for your dollar. With advancements in functionality being made available faster than ever, it can become complex for businesses of any size to consider the many options and feel their investments are sound. This hurdle is especially true for small to mid-sized businesses.
Several months ago, while meeting with a customer, I became aware of this challenge. We had just finished going over their vision for the next three years. As the waitress topped off our mugs of coffee, I asked, “Where do you see barriers in your business’s ability to grow?” He paused and turned to me with an interesting question. “Not sure, but I’ll ask you this; how can I grow our business when it seems our technology causes us more headaches than enables us. Tell me, how can we overcome this?” We then spent the next 30 minutes in deep discussion around this topic.
It can be challenging for a business to conduct a comprehensive, unbiased self-evaluation of its current state. It is especially difficult to take that evaluation and then define a technical roadmap that positions them for success. What is essential to understand is that technology should be viewed as an investment to enable the business to do more with less. So it’s best to think of it as an extension of your business’s ability to produce value while ideally saving you time. It’s the adage where time is money. There is no way to make sound business decisions on technology without examining the following:
- What business capabilities or functionalities will the technology enable you to do?
- What efficiency gains will technology bring you?
- How can technology help you mitigate risk for your business?
- What tools in terms of technologies or processes do you have today? Consider what you already have before purchasing more technology to solve a problem.
- What does the cost to risk profile look like? Every business decision has a cost and risk associated with it. Sometimes the cost and risk are directly tied to acting or not acting on the decision.
- How does the technology fit into your vision, operational needs and align with your business goals? Also, does it ultimately fit into your employee or customer sentiment? How receptive will this change be, and does it provide direct value?
These questions summarize some of the key aspects of what an assessment should include. Depending on the type of business, technology stack being considered, or other constraints, things can become complex quickly. What we have noticed for that particular customer and many others is that most businesses do the following:
- Think of technology as a linear equation focusing on functionality versus cost
- Search for something new to fix the current limitations or problems
- View an assessment as expensive or taking too much time, which slows down achieving their goals
There is a pattern that results in a fundamental shortcoming for most businesses. And reading this, most companies, while they may not want to admit it, can surely relate. This mindset is true for large enterprises, mid-sized companies, and startups alike. The reality is that taking a moment to stop and see the forest for the trees will pay dividends in your decisions making process. In fact, it may be the secret ingredient for long-term success instead of trying to find a one-size-fits-all silver bullet.
Having a hard time conducting your assessment? Have you tried but feel overwhelmed? Let us help you. StrataNorth is an IT Advisory Consultancy. We help businesses of all sizes adopt the right technology to help them grow, work smarter and deliver the best customer experience. Our consultants have decades of experience in the industry. We are cost-competitive and fiercely independent in our analysis.