What are your short-term business goals? Are you aiming to grow market share? Build shareholder value? Decrease debt? Increase sales for the next quarter? Now, think about your long-term objectives. Do you want to create brand recognition? Become known for your high-quality customer service? Generate a new product line?
Technology adoption will likely be critical to reaching all of your goals. But technology without synthesis and strategy is nothing more than app or device that’s pretty cool — and maybe even useful — rather than a cornerstone for building a solid path toward your long-term business goals. Here’s how to change that.
Maximizing Technology’s Potential
Think about how everyone still marvels at the fact that an iPhone has 100,000 times more processing power than the Apollo 11 computer. Indeed, its power is remarkable, and that has led to the wide use of smartphones and mobile apps. But how well have most enterprises truly integrated powerful mobile devices and apps into the heart of their business? Have they leveraged them to support big-picture short- and long-term goals?
For example, businesses could use these devices and apps to strategically overhaul internal processes. The advantage of deploying mobile CRM apps, for instance, is that you can use them to give sales representatives instant access to customer records and insights into leads to help with hitting your sales goals for the quarter.
Or, your business could take advantage of the sheer prevalence of mobile devices by launching a strategic digital marketing campaign designed to reach potential customers on their smartphones. After all, if you say that your goals are to grow market share and create brand awareness, you should align and integrate mobile marketing efforts around those plans. For example, have you created a mobile-friendly web site and content, embraced app- and location-based marketing, and launched mobile search ads?
Or what about using technology to reach your goal of providing high-quality customer service? Retailers, for example, can make shopping easier for their customers by leveraging smartphone cameras with an app and reader, like Square or PayPal, to quickly capture images of consumers’ credit cards or checks. They may even be able to use smartphone cameras to associate customers’ faces with accounts for easier retail payments.
Gaining True Value from Technology Adoption
When considering technology options to meet any of your goals, you’ll lose out if you simply summarize what a piece of tech can do. You can’t just make the general statement that a certain mobile app or device would help improve customer sales or marketing or customer service.
You must go beyond that to determine how a specific technology can help you meet your goals. That is, you need synthesis — a summary of your proposed technology with clearly defined insights into how it could apply to your business. For instance, developing and launching a mobile app can allow you to collect data about your audience, which can help you improve your marketing by enabling you to deliver more targeted, relevant messaging.
From there, you must move from synthesis to strategy — how exactly your business will put that technology into motion and use it to meet your goals. Strategy is the piece that drives real ROI, informing how you will grow your business, defeat the competition, and deliver value to your clients and customers. And that’s how you make real progress toward your company’s goals.
The Right Starting Place
Ultimately, simply starting with technology isn’t enough. Rather than saying, “Let’s make a mobile app,” you should start by asking, “How can we improve our customer service?” or “How can we boost sales over the next year?” Yes, the answer to that question may involve technology, but it will give you better insight into where to focus your technology development, the features you should include, and how it will generate a return on investment.
Admittedly, following through from summary to synthesis to strategy is no easy task. There’s often a lot of pressure to adopt some solution just because all your competitors are, without truly considering what value it will deliver as it relates to your company’s specific goals. If that’s the situation you find yourself in, it may make sense for you to turn to a partner with expertise in helping companies build their strategies for success.
At Valerity, we can help you develop a technology strategy with a clear roadmap to realizing your business goals and showing measurable outcomes. Contact us to learn more.
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