Technology Is Encroaching High Street!
It’s hard to imagine even just a few years ago, that technology companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung, would be opening flagship mega stores in traditional high street retail locations like on George or Pitt Street in Sydney CBD (let alone Tesla who are selling their cars around the corner in Martin Place!).
But we are not living in the past. Today is the future and so too is the criticality of technology, particularly when you are in business.
Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC technologies) followed by Software As A Service (SaaS) and Internet of Everything (IoE) are profoundly transforming how business is being conducted.
Blockchain and similar technologies, crypto currencies, and industries like FinTech or Green Energy, are disrupting the status quo, while Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Smart Automation (AIRA technologies) are enabling new capabilities, possibilities, and innovation.
We are just scratching the surface to what is yet to come!
You Must Think Differently
However, the challenge as a startup business, or a SME, is how do you go about implementing the right technology solutions that are fit for purpose today while ensuring you can scale and remain relevant?
Also, when you do implement technology, how do you avoid just “automating the process”, because we need to be thinking all the time as to how to “transform or re-invent the process”.
Compounding this, is that many businesses address isolated problems and not see the bigger picture. They implement point solutions but have not addressed things from a holistic perspective. So, what this means is that they are left with multiple technologies which are not talking to each other, they are not integrated.
Ultimately this leaves to a sub-optimised business environment. One that is costly to run and potentially increases the overall threat of security breach because to maintain all this requires a deep understanding of your ecosystem – in other words all the moving parts.
6 Steps To Implementing Technology The Right Way
So, here’s what you need to do…
Firstly, you need to maintain an architecture of your business. Now large organisations employ technology architects to do this job, but of course as a startup or SME, this will have to be a task that somebody else picks up. It does not need to be complicated either – just a single point of knowledge of how all your current technologies work and importantly cost, where there are shortcomings and gaps.
Second you need to evaluate your needs around what I call “tier one” items. These are common for all businesses – only the complexity varies. For example, Communication, CRM, ERP, Desktop Apps, Storage, Security, Financial platforms can all be placed in this bucket.
The next step is to evaluate the “tier two” items. This list will vary, however could include social media tools or service desk tools. They are generally less in criticality than the tier one items.
Once you have done the evaluation for your tier one and tier two technology needs, the fourth step is to define the requirements and selection criteria to help you implement best in class technology that either replaces exiting systems, closes gaps, or brings new capabilities. .
Integration is the fifth step. This is about having different systems work with each other seamlessly. For the startup / SME sector this is easier than you might think, compared to corporates, because you can access third party tools like Zapier to get the job done as I do across my companies.
Finally, the sixth step, but often not fully appreciated, is to ensure you are leveraging the broader capabilities that your technology partner can bring to you – even without additional investment. This might be accessing services such as 24×7 support, or educational and training, because this will make it easier for you and your team overall!
Meet The Alibaba Of Software
Dane Eldridge, Founder & CEO of Already Built, recognised these challenges of how to find proven technology that solves problems while also being able to be integrated relatively efficiently, and importantly not cost a lot!
What he and his team created is a market place for buyers and sellers for proven software. It’s a disruptive business model, and I am sure Dane will not mind me saying this is that I think they are the “Alibaba” of custom software development!
Here, businesses who have gone down the path of discovering ways to solve problems and then designed specific software to do this seamlessly for their own organisations can now “sell” this knowledge in the form of code to businesses seeking the same or similar answers! Great for seller, great for buyer bringing total cost of ownership down for both.
Remember To Address This Holistically In Your Business
There are many ways of how you may consider addressing this and while each of the six steps requires a lot more detail in respect to the specific “how to”, these steps should help you being more structured in how you go about this in your own business.
So, if you are a startup or SME, start now by listing the current technology you have in your business and what specifically in terms of outcomes they bring you. Then, think about your priorities and what are the “nice to haves”, after all we do have to be wise as to where we allocate our resources. Then where you have identified gaps, which you will, find ways holistically, to close them. In other words, don’t by off the shelf software unless you know how all this fits in with the bigger picture.
You Must Do Differently!
Keeping up is a challenge as everyday there are new technologies going to market. At the same time avoid being attracted by every bright and shiny object.
Also, to keep in mind that in today’s age, we must look beyond just automating the process to transforming the process.
We must see things differently and we must do things differently in this age of The New Economy.