The above statement may sound simple, but in reality there is not much in common with the way we treat both in our organizations. I fundamentally believe the reason that most technologies don’t deliver the measured ROI, is because we see technology as a “necessary evil” instead of a “absolute for success.”
Organizations invest large amounts of capital in acquiring, developing, managing talent and similarly they do the same with technology, but why does it appear that we get more value over the longer term with our people than our technology? Well here are my insights to why and how to avoid some of the common pitfalls.
Top talent, make “the complex simple”, do the same with your technology. As an example emerging technologies like Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) can simplify the complexities of your business by outsourcing not just the technology stack but much of the operational overhead of your business. So use it, start with a hybrid solution off/on-premise, then migrate, it will help your business become more effective and efficient and conserve valuable cash for other more important investments.
Top talent, are great “communicators and leaders” and inspire others to achieve. Do the same with your technology, get out of linear/closed technologies that don’t communicate the principles and culture of your business. In technology terms Social Enterprise technologies are the great communicators of business innovation, ideation, thought, competitive advantage and insights and they do it 24 hours a day and never leave. Social technologies are business technologies that improve communication, collaboration and breakdown internal political and geographical boundaries.
Top talent, need constant mentoring to be successful, so does your technology. Once you select a technology, don’t just leave it and expect it to change your world, it will not! Technology needs to be constantly reviewed, as when your business environment changes it will effect the performance of your business technology. Do not neglect your technology and make sure your technology leaders are capable business people (invite them into your strategy meetings) who can adapt and adopt technology for the future.
Top talent is there to grow your business, so do the same with your biz. tech. Anyone can reduce technology costs, just don’t spend. So when looking at business technology look for the positive growth affects on your business first, because this is the real upside. Tech guys will talk about cost reduction and as technology innovation always reduces costs anyway, it’s not a game changer. Think of technology as a 24 hr business partner, leverage it, expose it and use it!
Be prepared to remove what you have just recruited if your top talent doesn’t work out. Biz Tech. is the same, so always have a fall back plan, make sure you have an equally capable “hot-swap” technology ready to hand, contracts in place, data migration in place, go-live business continuity strategy in place. So when the unforeseen happens (and it will), your business is covered. I am shocked how many times I see just one key technology hanging out there carrying far too much expectation on it’s shoulders. Remember in business you always have someone else you can promote, so think the same with your technology.
In the end your top talent will leave if you don’t progress. Stagnation, dead-ends, no new challenges and your top people will leave, the same can be said for your biz. tech. The business must have a keen eye on “what’s coming” from the vendor, new updates may assist us in leveraging what we have to increase performance, API’s and data extractions are key marks of software agility and maturity. Don’t be fooled into just the front-end (the interview) get under the technology to see what it’s really made of.
If your CEO is ignoring you it’s time to go. If you are reading this article and you cannot get your CEO to read it too. The writing is on the wall for you and your technologies future. If your CEO has scant regard for technology and doesn’t include a “technology assessment” around your business strategies, future and daily business, then you are doomed. Hit the restart button.