3 Things Companies Need to Understand About Technology Today
Technology (through digital acceleration) has been the most widespread response to the COVID-19 crisis.
As a part of a software development company, it often baffles me the way some executives think about technology. You’d think that by 2021 most C-level execs would have understood the now famous saying that states that “every company is a technology company now.” Yet, many of them still feel like technology is something of an asset, a tool to resort to tackle certain tasks.
That, of course, is way wrong. Technology has become paramount for businesses of all sizes and across industries to the point where organizations that don’t adapt to put technology at the core of their workflows fall severely behind the competition. That’s truer today, when the pandemic consequences are shaping a new normal that’s bringing numerous challenges that can only be answered through technology.
In fact, technology (through digital acceleration) has been the most widespread response to the COVID-19 crisis. It was through automation, hyperconnection, remote work, and digital data-driven strategies that businesses were able to overcome the initial impact of the pandemic and make it all the way to 2021. Technology allowed businesses to build resilience, stabilize operations, and increase their agility, things that will become essential moving forward.
Of course, those things don’t come by merely integrating technology here and there within your workflow. There has to be a change of mindset to truly reap the benefits of digital acceleration, a shift that has to come from the top down to ensure it seeps into every corner of the company. That’s why I think executives should stop seeing technology as a mere tool and understand the following 4 key notions to leverage it in these uncertain times.
1. Technology is as good as the talent developing it
The sudden need to digitize processes due to the pandemic had a lot of companies scrambling to get the talent needed to help them. That’s because it’s not enough to subscribe to a digital platform or buy software and expect technology to work seamlessly right off the bat. There are implementation challenges and technical aspects you’ll have to deal with in order to get the most out of technology solutions. And that’s without considering the companies that need custom software solutions!
What I’m saying is fairly simple — to truly get the most out of the technology companies buy or develop, executives need to hunt for experienced talent to help them. Collaborating with seasoned engineers and tech professionals can provide them with the digital capabilities they need to meet their digital goals.
Unfortunately, securing that talent can prove very challenging. That’s because there’s a talent shortage in the developed world (especially now, where virtually every company on the planet is looking for the same kind of talent). How to overcome that trouble? You should combine 2 approaches. On one hand, you should aim to achieve talent agility with your own workers. Doing so can provide you not only with the tech talent you want but will also ensure that the tech team knows your company’s culture intimately.
On the other hand, you should consider using an on-demand workforce. In other words, you can hire a software development outsourcing company, augment your team with staffing services, or work alongside a freelancer. Doing so can provide you with instant talent to fill in your talent gaps, thus ensuring a more seamless technological integration.
2. Development speed is important — but it’s nothing without quality
For years now, executives have rushed their teams to launch products and services as quickly as possible. The notion fueling that approach is that they can monetize the product rather fast while beating the competition to the market. Naturally, those things are important, so you should keep speed as a main concern of your technical development and implementation. However, you shouldn’t, under any circumstances, put speed in front of everything else.
Delivering technological solutions quickly often means cutting corners during development, such as using subpar code, skipping tests, or using complex workarounds to integrate the solution with the broader tech environment. All of those things often lead to a decrease in quality which ultimately impacts the user experience. Given we’re living in the golden age of user experience, you can’t afford that.
It doesn’t matter if you’re developing a new CRM for your business or implementing a prepackaged chatbot on your site — if you hurry the process, you might end up getting a second-tier performance. To avoid that, executives need to understand that developing and implementing technology takes time. In other words, you have to aim for clean development and integration that spends as much time as necessary to create solid foundations on which the technology can scale. Additionally, you should never ignore the proper QA and testing phases.
Doing that will improve the quality of the final product and its implementation, whether you’re creating a mobile app from the ground up or implementing a new AI-powered algorithm to increase your security.
3. Being a “technology company” doesn’t mean you have to change your business model
Circling back to that “every company is a technology company now” quote, it’s important to unwrap what hides behind it. Apart from implying that executives need to let go of the notion that technology is just a tool, that modern adage means that any company needs to invest in technology in some way or another. However, that doesn’t translate into changing your business model. Rather, it means that companies always have a place for technology in their businesses.
Let me explain myself. Though it may be that way some time ago, “technology company” isn’t a synonym for “company that develops technologies for customers.” Today, “technology company” is a wider concept that, sure, encompasses Google, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft but that also covers companies as dissimilar as Amazon, Uber, and Pizza Hut.
How come? Because “technology company” now means “company that leverages technology, be it internally, externally, or both.” So, you don’t have to be an application development company to be a technology company. You can be a pharmacy and still see yourself as a company, mainly because your operations rely on technology to achieve better results and increased productivity. Using technology at the core of your workflow provides you with agility and flexibility to tackle any modern challenge.
Thus, executives have to understand that they don’t have to offer the next Instagram to be a “technology company.” They need to embrace technology as a revolution for their operational standards. Doing that will grant them the opportunity to create internal services that can be used by multiple teams, reduce organizational friction by ensuring self-service access to critical digital resources, and increase transparency and productivity by democratizing access to data and insights.
A Mindset Revolution
These might feel like obvious recommendations for some but I assure you that keeping them in the spotlight is necessary for the entire executive spectrum to finally grasp the importance of transforming their businesses into “technology companies.” These are the 3 pillars that will allow them to make a shift in their approach to technology and lead to a true mindset revolution.
Additionally, it’s important for executives to understand that these aren’t mere suggestions — these are action paths that are already mandatory for organizations of all sizes and backgrounds. In other words, businesses that fail to adopt them will see how they are quickly surpassed by those that do embrace them.
Surely you don’t want to be among the ones that lag behind. So, if you’re still thinking of technology as a tool, consider these concepts. They’ll provide you with the clarity you need to reformulate your approach to tech strategy and ensure you enhance your organizational operations to provide increased value to your customers and your employees.