MPact » Insight
Avoiding the common pitfalls of new tech adoption
By Jason Lee, Technology Solutions
At the 50,000-foot level, you can put businesses into two buckets: those that said, “Hey, we’re going to take this opportunity to innovate and try to leapfrog ahead of our competition by leveraging technology,” and the those who didn’t change and their business either suffered or slowed down. The latter were in a defensive mode – they focused on protecting their investments and their assets, so they were using technology to protect what they already had.
- Identify solutions for your unique challenges instead of adopting all-in-one tech approaches.
- Without a cloud strategy and clearly defined time-saving opportunities, you risk making a major investment with marginal impact.
- Standardize the technology you use to create one source of truth and reduce costs.
Digital transformation means so many different things to different people. For some businesses, digital transformation is about the customer experience, automation, or leveraging new technologies. For others, it’s about harnessing their data.
We often hear that data is the new oil or the new gold — companies that recognize this begin to know exactly what to do with the data and they move towards a single source of truth that enables them by making data-driven decisions. Once you get a culture of data-driven decision, you can begin to explore other transformation initiatives such as modernizing your digital infrastructure and applications to meet what you want your customer experience to be.
Technology companies are always trying to work with customers to meet their end business objectives and goals. There are so many flavour-of-the-month technologies out there that cause executives to invest in technologies like automation or artificial intelligence. They invest in these technologies to stay competitive with their competition, but when you take a step back to assess, you may realize that you don’t even have the data to be able to leverage the technology properly and most effectively.
Companies need to figure out what technology they should be leveraging for their specific customers, and not just what everyone else is using. Technology alone isn’t going to drive your business outcomes. It takes people with experience, changes to process AND the right technology. It’s different for every solution and company. Some companies have the people and know-how but need to change the way they work before even considering new technology. Ask yourself, “How are you using your data today and how can we use it better to meet your business objectives?”
No two markets are the same
Retail took a huge hit the last year. We found that some of our retail clients closed their doors for much of the year or were very limited and therefore cautiously planning, so their focus wasn’t on the customer experience. Instead, their focus was on how to keep the distribution centres open, how to maintain supply levels, and how to be prepared for reopening.
Then you had banks. Slow-moving giants that a year ago didn’t really have a cloud strategy or hadn’t even considered remote workers an option. However, they manoeuvred pretty quickly to get their entire team working remotely and working on cloud solutions. You can apply the same solution to clients, but I don’t necessarily agree that is the best option, especially in a world where how you differentiate from your competition is critical to success. How does my technology investment drive business outcomes?
Automation and AI
While there is this motivation to automate a lot of processes within a company, and it makes a lot of sense to do that, people are hesitant to go all in on it. An example is the move (again) to cloud services. The cloud has tons of benefits but you need to go into it with eyes wide open because there’s a cost implication that needs to be addressed holistically. Otherwise, you’ll be one of those companies that invested in the cloud but didn't find the expected cost savings.
Did you get rid of all the on-premise equipment and resources? Did you retrain staff to enable other service offerings or cost savings? You don’t just turn on cloud services and save money. That cost should be offset by the fact that you do not need as many infrastructure resources as you used to support your IT. Automation and AI implementations can help you with workflow as both can leverage predictive analytics and help streamline a business to make it more efficient proactively. The sooner you recognize and address potential impacts, the less costly it should be.
We’re fortunate that we live in a day and age when we have access to such great technology and digital infrastructure. For me, it is about adopting a holistic solution in terms of how companies leverage those technologies more. The bigger the enterprise, the more you should standardize. I see a lot of clients using multiple platforms for communication and multiple platforms for storing data, but it is a lot easier when there is one kind of strategic initiative, and that is standardization.
I take my cues from wanting a single source of truth. We can apply that same approach to the way we communicate and leverage technologies by streamlining, simplifying and reducing costs while doing it. It’s not always possible, so take that with a grain of salt. I’d be a hypocrite if I said that’s my case: I’m currently running four different messaging platforms for work.
What have we learned?
The pandemic has taught us that things are going to happen. A lot of companies have always talked about disaster recovery and business continuity. The pandemic really tested those plans and strategies and customers who had those elements as part of their work culture really got through this a lot easier. Business continuity and disaster recovery plans were about hardware failures and electrical outages. Now we’re looking at it with additional lenses: What happens if the world shuts down? What happens if we’re on lockdown? What now? Now, you have to adjust all those plans to include these scenarios.