Every Company Is A Technology Company
What would you say if I told you that your company is technology company?Unless you are in that industry specifically, you might disagree stating that your company is really in the insurance business, or banking, or hospitality, or manufacturing, or farming. You might claim to have an IT department or a contractor that handles all of that tech stuff but remains an afterthought and not part of the strategic vision of the company. To this, I challenge you to think differently, because today Every Company Is A Technology Company.
In the past, the IT team was seen as a necessary evil. They knew about the systems that ran the plant, they reacted when things went down, and they stayed out of sight in some dark corner of your facility. They fixed the fax machine and made sure the email was flowing. They ran virus scans and helped you reset your password every 90 days. Management didn’t need to understand technology because it was just a tool and most areas of the business could function independently without relying on IT. In short, the understanding from leadership in regards to IT was comprable to “The Bobs” in Office Space.
As technology has evolved, so has business and our reliance of the type of information stored within the myriad of systems that are part of the infrastructure of every company.. Today, all transactions, interactions, and documents in some way touch technology. From where the information is stored, to how it is transmitted, to how and where it is consumed all rely on the proper planning of your technology. For a portion of your business that you are so reliant on, why do you not have a strategy? Could your business continue to function without the technology backbone? It is beyond time to get serious about technology and the role it plays within your organization. It is time to get strategic about your technology.
Let me give you an example of the implications of disregarding technology as part of your strategy. I recently engaged with a large company that has invested heavily over the years in IT. The investment was there, but the strategy was not. The system that is the backbone of their ordering process was sitting on the shelf for nearly 20 years without a plan for upgrade or replacement. Things got really serious when a redundant server went down and they were left with a single point of failure for their entire operation. To rewrite the complicated logic of the system, they needed a team of developers, years of time, and millions of dollars to replace it. This put them into a reactive mode instead of being out ahead of it. They ended up working on a three year re-write that kept everyone on edge with their fingers crossed hoping that the single remaining server would not fail. This is a perfect example of why, as a leader, you must take technology seriously and have a forward thinking technology leader within your organization who can alert you of possible pitfalls that lay ahead.
There are many additional benefits to thinking strategically about technology within you organization. You can leverage the vast amounts of data collected to get better insights about your customers, improve your operational efficiency, better forecast your sales pipeline, and make quicker decisions. Those are just a few, but this all hinges on using technology properly. Think differently, take it seriously, and get strategic about how your organization leverages IT.