Your Business: Technology for Growth

Posted: February 14, 2008 in Business Advice, Small Business, Technology

A study into economic growth in the US over the past 60 years attributed only 20% of that growth to natural causes. A whopping 80% was a direct result of adoption of new technology. New technology is not automatically good – it has to earn its keep. Visionaries such as De Bono are convinced that technology has become a commodity in the past few years and I agree. It’s no longer enough to grab at new technologies – that path is fraught with costly wreckage: For example:- for all of the companies that have installed Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software in the past decade, only a fraction continue to use it effectively.

The key to success has to be innovation, (true irrespective of the size of the business), in three specific steps:

1)    Ensure the technology you have is being used to its capacity to absolutely support the business vision, values and goals. Even if you only use a spreadsheet and a word-processor – are you getting 100% out of them? If not – why not? If not – how can you do this – NOW?

2)    Ensure all of the technology you use is able to share customer information and that the information is only held in one place. (Ever try to get a large corporation to change your address – across all their departments and systems?)

3)    A constant watch is kept for emerging technological trends that help complete the picture i.e. technology that allows you to further integrate, upgrade or augment what you currently have – NOT some new island of technology that bears no relationship to what you already use (Hint: this is part of the smart assessment criteria for hot new technology that I use)

If you aren’t watching technology trends then you will loose sooner or later. I’ll wager your competitors have a ‘future watch’ established. And if you are convinced they do not – watch for an external and unexpected threat to your cosy little stagnant industry.

People like Branson have been leaping into tired old established industries for years – using technology to back their customer service claims, increase profits and obliterate the competition. The truism “If you aren’t cannibalizing your own market – someone else will happily do it for you” still holds.

So incremental improvements give you 20% of your growth. Look to innovation in how you use technology for the other 80% of your future growth. Innovation, Integration, …RFID anyone…?

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