Five signs your technology is enabling your business
We live in a world that's driven by technology. It has seeped into every part of our lives and the corporate realm is no exception. In fact, during the peak of the pandemic, the quick adoption of innovative technology helped many organizations survive. However, entities must invest in the right technology that will enable strategic, operational and cost impact. There are both quantifiable and intangible benefits in choosing the right technology stack for a company.
The right tech helps to facilitate a workplace that attracts and retains talent, increases employee engagement, lowers operational costs, raises revenues and even boosts organizational stability. And while technological solutions can have a tremendous impact on a company’s ability to meet its business objectives, they need to be deployed intelligently to address specific problems or pain points.
Understanding the Technology Needs of Your Business
Before embarking on a quest to implement technology-based solutions and ensure they are properly enabling a business, there must be an evaluation of the company’s current maturity situation.
The below graphic represents the Synoptek Capability Maturity Model, which helps our organization determine how well they utilize their technology, people, processes and systems to achieve overall business objectives. An organization can use this model or other similar models to assess gaps -- and as a result, a variety of underlying needs.
Businesses will fall into one of the following categories, which defines the level of maturity demonstrated through its use of information technology (IT):
- Basic maturity sees IT as a cost center used to address issues as they arise. Budgeting is reactive and resources are used to fight fires and resolve problems in an ad-hoc manner.
- Standardized maturity level indicates that roles and responsibilities are defined while processes are highly dependent on tools. Budgeting and technology solutions are defined for each project. At this stage, IT has become an efficient cost center.
- Rationalized maturity is when IT has become a business enabler. Integrated and business-focused services that extend beyond IT are implemented and costs are monitored and managed.
- Organizations reaching the Dynamic maturity level view and use IT as a strategic asset. Processes are focused on agile business innovation and real-time technological solutions. In this model, IT has become a component of an optimized business partnership intent on meeting the organization’s objectives.
Determining the position a business occupies on this spectrum is a necessary first step to understanding what it needs to do to move forward. It is a two-part process that entails both a discovery and analysis phase. An effective evaluation of its technology landscape provides the roadmap from which small companies can compete with much larger market rivals.
In the discovery phase, the goal is to understand the existing organizational ecosystem, the problem or issue that technology is desired to solve and the user-base that will be affected when implementing the solution. An analysis phase follows and attempts to determine the capabilities of in-house resources and the efficiency in which they are being used.
Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses
The point of understanding and analyzing current technology use is to identify strengths that can be taken advantage of and weaknesses that need to be addressed to meet business objectives. An example is uncovering data silos that inhibit the effective use of information assets. This discovery can be the impetus for a data governance initiative to streamline the use of data elements throughout the organization. It is important to note that it may take a full organizational culture shift to successfully eliminate troublesome data silos.
When attempting to understand how an organization needs to evolve its use of technology, it’s important to obtain input from the right sources. Front-line employees who are involved with using technological solutions to further the business are optimally positioned to provide insight into what is working, what is not working and what needs to be done to improve the situation overall. A top-down approach to implementing technology will not be as effective as one that relies on the knowledge and experience of a company’s internal team.
Five Signs Your Technology is a Business Enabler
When an organization uses its technology as an enabler for its business, it should expect to receive a variety of benefits. A company whose technology stack has them well-positioned for growth and ready to navigate an ever-evolving business environment will demonstrate these qualities. In many cases, said qualities build on each other to enable a business to thrive. For example, Synoptek recently conducted a TEI study with Forrester to determine the Total Economic Impact of its Global Outsourcing services for a client in the healthcare space.
In 90 days, Forrester saw this client go from a level zero on the maturity model scale to level two, mitigating risk, reducing costs and implementing a plan to continue steadily improving the maturity of the environment and aligning IT services with the overall business strategy. Eventually, the client achieved organizational stability, increased revenues, improved employee productivity, enhanced employee morale and reduced labor expenses. So, if an organization is stable on the following five aspects with its existing tech stack, it's by and large on the path to growth -- the biggest rule of thumb is to determine whether your technology is acting as an enabler or a burden.
- Organizational stability The appropriate technology stack contributes to stability at all levels of the business. When IT is seen as a strategic asset in the corporate culture, there are no sudden shifts in focus that will disrupt the business. All facets of the organization understand and are comfortable with the benefits provided by its technological solutions. That’s not to say that the technology will not continue to evolve, but that it will be done in a methodical and coordinated manner. Planning for future innovation can be more effectively conducted from a stable platform.
- Increased revenues The effective and efficient use of technology should result in increased revenues for multiple reasons. Organizational stability reduces unnecessary expenditures on speculative technology fixes for a direct cost saving. It also enables the business to concentrate on value-added processes and procedures that contribute to a more profitable bottom line. The combination of savings and increased profitability demonstrate the value technology brings to the organization in a way all decision-makers can understand.
- Improved employee productivity Employee productivity is also improved by organizational stability by enabling teams to optimize their processes and procedures with the knowledge that they will not be suddenly changed on a whim by upper management. Employees are challenged in companies that regularly make major changes in technology deployment and cannot attain the high levels of proficiency that result in improved team productivity.
- Enhanced employee morale More productive employees who are comfortable and confident in their positions will demonstrate enhanced morale and be more likely to go the extra mile to ensure business objectives are met. A company’s people are one of its most important resources, and improved morale lifts the entire organization. Employees in companies using technology effectively will be more satisfied with their roles, contributing to a vibrant workplace where people are happy to do their part in growing the business.
- Reduced labor expenses More productive employees mean there is less need to procure more resources in order to get things done. A workplace that displays enhanced morale will be less prone to turnover, eliminating the costs of training and productivity that accompany new hires. Companies with seasoned employees who are confident and experienced in the business’s use of technology provide an organization with an unquantifiable but real competitive advantage over its less stable rivals.
Faster and more meaningful technology adoption is not only critical for accelerating business growth, but in this era of cut-throat competition and demanding customers, it is vital for survival. An example is the increased ROI possible through effective collaboration spurred by technological innovation and new tools. No matter the size of an enterprise, technology has tangible and intangible benefits at all stages of growth. Timely measurement of the output of the existing technology stack and further investment in technologies that push the business towards growth has become essential for an organization's long-term success.
That said, employing the right technology stack for your organization can be challenging. It is difficult to wade through the incredible number of technological solutions to identify those that will make a real difference for your business. But significant rewards await companies that make the effort and successfully use technology to enable their business to compete with their market rivals, furnishing their customers with the products and services they expect.
John Frazier is the chief operating officer (COO) at Synoptek. With over 27 years of experience in managed services, IT operations, security and forensics, Frazier has been instrumental in delivering IT services to Synoptek customers. His key strengths include the design, delivery and management of IT services and the execution of strategic growth initiatives.