Monday, July 8, 2013

Technology is Too Important for the Business not to be Involved

This statement is exactly the point that should resonate with business owners.  With the recent publicity of the Internet Cloud services, everyone’s focus seems to be there.  There are a great number of benefits for Cloud services, storage, collaboration, and operations, but there has to be a business driver to make the changes.


Cloud or not, any investment in technology should have a driver that will provide a reasonable Return on Investment (ROI).  The recent fiscal crisis focused on cutting costs and increasing efficiencies.  Budgets were and still are very tight, so there needs to be business driver to make changes.  What is good for the business?  What will allow us to compete more effectively?  How can we use technology to empower our people to open and serve new markets?


In years past, the Technology Department in a corporation reported directly under the Finance department and was used to tabulate numbers for financial reporting.  Technology has evolved through time to the point where it is fully integrated in our lifestyles.  All you have to do to verify this is stop walking or whatever you are doing for a minute and look around.  People are stuck in their phones, tablets, and laptop computers.  Used to be at a luncheon if you saw someone bowed, they were giving thanks, now more than likely, they are checking their email. 


Everyone is a technology user today. 


This shift in technology from the glass room to people’s hands has changed the view of how technology should be used in business.  The shift is not only in the technology itself, but also includes the business.  The Internet and related technologies has leveled the competition plane enough so that companies from one to twenty or more now have access to tools and technology that keeps them connected and competitive.  Smaller companies are more agile and can make a technology shift and adopt new technologies much more quickly than large organizations.


Regardless of company size, executives want and need their phones, email, messaging, and applications in their hand, available when they need it, on their schedule. 


This transition is not a blanket resolution to say that Information Technology Departments have no role in the decision process, it is more a reflection that they themselves are taking on different roles.  Solutions are being driven by the business demands and technology is looked at to deliver the solution.


One note of caution for the early adopters is the more separate systems that are implemented either on premise or hosted in the Cloud, the greater the burden on the transfer of information and an exponential growth for errors.  This is no small issue.  Every time humans are involved, the more humans involved, the greater the potential for errors.


The prevalence of new technologies eventually leads to consolidation at some point.  Multiple suppliers offering almost identical products and services.  It is a trend repeated throughout history.  The only difference today is that it can take a lot less time for products and services to transition.  Adopting new technologies quickly can give a boost to a company, however, that new technology may also be replaced tomorrow or consolidated to another platform.  This can actually destabilize an organization depending on how much that organization relies on the technology.


Public, private, hybrid, large corporation, small supplier, there are a multitude of choices. 


What really matters most is customer service.  How well your supplier of services serves you is a reflection of how well you service your customers.  You will naturally be attracted to those that give the same level of service or the level of service you want to deliver. 


Nothing is more important than customer service.


A happy customer refers others to you.  A happy customer returns and buys more stuff.  A happy customer pays your bills.  We all need happy customers.


There is a lot of use of social media to get a consensus of what works and what does not.  Industries are the same and yet each organization struggles at different points along the path to success.  This is where a trusted advisor can help.  The advisor can take an objective view of the organization and let them see themselves in a new way.  The advisor can narrow the field of many solution providers to a few candidates taking care of the leg work allowing you to concentrate more on your business.


You just cannot make the decision alone.


While true for many technologies, this is especially true of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions.  Given the scope of the change an ERP solution can make for and in an enterprise, it takes correspondingly more effort and diligence to make the right choice.


A lot of time and energy can be invested in trying to upgrade and make work an existing system that was never intended to handle the latest business trend. 


Selecting an ERP solution is an educational process. 


It requires open dialog so that the solution matches the challenges.  Many sales people call offering solutions to problems that do not exist.  To avoid that, someone needs to be open and honest about areas that could use improvements.  This is where a trusted advisor can help by interfacing your challenges with potential solutions.


Deeper relationships are needed in today’s ever changing world of technology.  An understanding of the role technology plays in an Enterprise is a crucial factor in selecting a trusted advisor and solution provider.


Dolvin Consulting works with industry experts to deliver Enterprise solutions that drive efficiency, reduce costs and increase profitability.  Contact us today to see how we can help you define the challenges that slow your business down and identify potential solutions.


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