Roadblock #8: “Technology Is Not A Threat To The Way We Do Business” (Lesson 8)

Have you found yourself at conferences or networking events and heard your competitors talking about the latest technology they’re implementing, and you wonder if they really are utilising new tools or just bullshitting? And if they are using new tools successfully, what kind of competitive advantage might that give them?

Often, the CEO or owner of a company will tell me that they are scared of technology like it’s a dirty little secret. Once I start delving into that with them a little bit, I find that along with the technology itself, they often fear what the technology may do to change the structure and culture of a company.

The reality is that things change. It’s about the only thing we can count on. One hundred years ago, you had the assembly line of people putting together a Ford automobile. These days, most of those people have been replaced by robots. Those specific jobs have been lost, but jobs manufacturing and programming the robots have been created.

The most basic tenet of business is that it exists to make a profit. If you can’t follow that one principle, you won’t be in business very long.

If your competitors are getting ahead of you technologically, you need to catch up. Truthfully, you need to try and leapfrog them. If they implement a technology that makes them 200% or 300% more efficient, where does that leave you?

It’s admirable to have a concern for the culture of the company and your employees, but in my experience, there doesn’t often need to be a lot of downsizing. Most organisations that take on new technology do so because they are growing and there is actually a need for more people. You’ve got them right there; they just need to be retrained.

Too Many Options To Sort Through

Another big fear I routinely encounter is when the owner is standing at a fork in the road when it comes to technology and is unsure which direction to head in.

This is why the organisation needs a well-developed strategic plan. If you don’t have a solid idea of where you currently are and where you wish to go, how are you going to plug that gap with a digital solution?

What if that gap isn’t a digital solution? Might it be that a certain segment of your business doesn’t make sense anymore and it should be dropped? Technology can create greater efficiency with a money-losing business segment, but if you can’t make that technology effective, what’s the point of having it in the first place?

Identifying these issues and developing solutions is much easier if you have a strategic plan in place.

Even after you identify the issue—let’s assume you’ve determined you need a new customer management system—finding the proper solution can be a challenge. Try typing “customer management system” into the search bar on Google. It yields nearly 2 million results.

How are you supposed to know which is the answer for you? Do you have someone in the organisation that understands your goals and can match up a technical solution? Should you trust one of 100 websites that offer a “Top 10 Best Customer Management System” list? Probably not.

There’s a great chance that not only do you not know enough about technology to make the important decisions, but that there are few within your organisation who can. You’re either going to want to develop someone into that role or find a consultant/advisor who can serve as the independent voice.