The importance of knowing the business to implement technology efficiently

In current times saying that technology is the basis on which the company is built upon would mean we remain in the basics, hoping this is not a surprise to anyone. What is truly surprising is the limited ability for companies to apply technology in their daily lives and operations.

Years ago business people were more than happy when they had what they considered to be “a technological company”: They had corporate mail, internet access and were able to keep their files in a common folder…the most they could get to. It is true that technology those days would not provide many more features (unless you worked for a large company where you could maybe use a “mainframe”) and computing was in its incipient moments in the office.

Nowadays it is not a matter of writing emails, making quick sums or accessing a very spartan database. It is about aligning the technology with the operation, with the company, with the goals that are raised at executive level and lowering those to the lowest level of the entry user, who can support this strategy.

However, how is this done? First of all, a company that aspires to really make use of the latest technological developments is NOT technology what needs to know first, the very first thing they need to know is their own company. You can hear very often in business meetings the “if such a company has that technology, why do not we have it?” Or “in my old company we had XYZ tool. We should have it here too. ”

Making decisions about tools for corporate or customer use without really knowing what the company is working on does not yield good results. One can try, for example, to implement an ERP, or install a system just because some else does it but, is it what is needed from the business? I do not think so. To be able to “adjust” the technology to the requirements of the business you need to know what the business does, how it does it and what goals are meant to be achieved, with technology being secondary.

To many this will be a surprise. How is that technology can be secondary to a company that wants to progress, when improvements in IT services should be a priority?: Easy, there are many technologies, with more and better every day but companies (YOUR COMPANY) there is only one. Should you make a bad decision on the technology to use and you may go backwards. In this scenario the best thing that can happen to you is that you “only” loose time. However, if the decision is so wrong your company may not advance, furthermore it could even have bigger terrible consequences: from the loss of the market opportunity (should the appropriate technology have been implemented in the first place) to the reputational lost (for mistakes that are very noticeable to the general public). Remember that the bigger the company is and the more is expected from it, the more sounded both successes and failures are.

That is why, at first, it is not necessary to know technology in depth, what is important is to know the “resorts” that must be applied in the business to generate the necessary results and adapt the technology to those needs. What’s more, with technology providing so many new applications, chatbots, analytics, etc. technology is showing the business the way to regain those opportunities that were previously assumed as lost, either by ignorance of the business or by not knowing how to get to those customers and users back, all gained through “traditional” ways.

The specific application of technologies makes it possible to achieve more and more goals that were previously considered as impossible. Businesses in many companies are being “reinvented” since having more and better tools they cannot afford to remain in the traditional way. A vendor no longer waits for you to come and buy: it promotes their products in a thousand different ways, makes offers, reinvents the use of QR codes for prizes & discounts, adds ways to reach the customer swiftly by accelerating applications and cutting steps that could cause customers not to complete purchases, thus reducing the time-to-market, etc.

After all, to achieve this, new figures have emerged that were not contemplated before, such as technology managers, CTOs, managers of applied technology, CDOs and many more. In many companies they stick to the idea that with a marketing manager everything is done when launching new products, or that with a good operation that is turning services into money nothing else is necessary. I don’t think the title nor the area of responsibility is the important thing as with so many areas and people interacting with each other those result blurred.

The important thing is to find the person who knows how to unify the technical criteria with the operatinal criteria and be able to support the launch of new products and services. What’s the name or title of this person? It doesn’t matter. What we have to keep in mind is that history repeats itself:

What organizations need is what has always been needed: People who understand the business and have the capacity to visualize the market opportunity through technology.

 

 

 

You can read the original post in Spanish at La importancia de conocer el negocio para implantar tecnología eficiente

 

 

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