How to gain maximum value from technology investments for your business?
The slow economy stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing organizations to identify and cut all unnecessary costs. Unfortunately, technology investments also fall prey to these budget cuts. It happens when businesses invest in technology without adequate planning.
According to a survey, 29.2% of respondents holistically examine their technology usage while searching for efficiencies. It may mean canceling or delaying new projects and purchases or reducing or canceling maintenance and support contracts for existing investments.
Research by Accenture reveals that while 47% of the companies are building their future growth strategies on mobility and technology, considering inefficient technology as one of the top hindrances to their growth. It is clear that IT-led innovation is the need of the hour, and 82% of companies are investing specifically in technology for improved growth.
Simply put, now, it is crucial to improve the return on investment of resources, optimize costs, and select the right solution when making sourcing decisions.
Here, we share a few tips to help you gain full value from your technology investments.
Ways to optimize costs
Gartner reveals that optimizing costs is essential for businesses and is one of the best ways to control spending and attain cost reduction while maximizing business value.
Optimizing costs should take into account:
- Automating and digitizing business operations
- Simplifying and standardizing applications, platforms, processes, and services
- Obtaining the best terms and pricing for business purchases
While this means ensuring that technology investments generate the maximum possible value, it also means cutting costs and considering how each technology investment drives business value.
Some technology may be expensive, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t providing value to the organization. Expensive technology may already be optimized because of the value it generates, while inexpensive technology may be unused and wasted. Therefore, it is important to make the right decisions regarding purchasing hardware, software licenses, or cloud services contracts.
Once you have identified and mitigated what you do not need and what you need, there are no more costs to reduce. It is time to look at how to optimize technology assets.
Ways to get the most out of your tech investments
Despite the cutbacks and search for savings, many organizations continue to invest in technology projects and accelerate their digital transformation initiatives. However, even with the economic slowdown coupled with pandemic-related uncertainties, organizations that have performed well during 2020 are looking to increase resilience by reducing risks and demanding shorter ROI periods on investments.
That said, the key to maximize ROI is preparation. It is essential to know that you’ve selected the right solution and are ready for implementation. Several surveys done in the past suggest that the software chosen is rarely the reason for any IT project’s failure. And a few leaders even agree with this, revealing a lack of investment in preparation, project management, and implementation. Even the simplest of IT systems require some amount of work to install and configure. So, the more complex your environment is, the more careful you will have to be.
Key factors to consider while developing a technology strategy to improve corporate performance are:
Investment profile: Your management team must identify your IT investment percentage (allocated to build significant capabilities) versus the foundational investment. Ideally, foundational investments should not be more than 40% of the total annual investments.
Organization focus: You must identify whether a significant portion of your internal resources aims to drive innovation or growth. Also, find out if you have the proper operating processes in place to drive these investments.
Tenure: You will have to figure out if your workforce has the right experience and skills to achieve the target.
Investment economics: Move over traditional measures and instead identify newer ways to evaluate your projects and investments.
A few technologies worth investing
Following are some of the technologies worth investing in the present business scenario:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Internet-of-Things (IoT)
- Self-driving technology
- Streaming media
Tips for getting maximum value from technology investments
To get maximum value from your technology investments, you should:
- Be prepared with clear objectives and outcomes. You must ensure that your vision aligns with that of the new technology vendor.
- Ensure that you have people, processes, and governance for leveraging the technology when deployed, reducing the time to both value and ROI.
- Identify and assess your data sources’ quality to develop appropriate metrics for accuracy and completeness of data and check for any improvements.
- Invest in the implementation and system or process integrations to make sure they are carried out successfully. If you are using any third-party service provider for the implementation, ensure that you hire a reliable and trained team like Fingent.
- Identify users and key stakeholders and invest in their time to maintain the system.
- To reap benefits early in the project and demonstrate the value of initial investments, take a phased approach. Phasing could be by business unit, geography, or environment depending on the organizational structure and business goals. This will ensure that the project is manageable.
- Provide both initial and ongoing training in phases to allow end-users to familiarize themselves with the features and functionalities they have learned about before undergoing further training. That said, make sure the new users are also appropriately trained.
- Ensure that third-party consultants have completed their vendor training or certification programs before allowing them to use your tools. Also, check if you are using the latest version of the tool. If needed, arrange for additional training.
Be smart with your tech investments
With technology and digital transformation becoming more pervasive across all industries, technology investment can make a huge difference in winning or losing a business. By focusing on the tips discussed in this article, companies can maximize value from their technology investments.
Technology wins only if it can appease users. A bad customer experience forces the customer to switch from vendor A to vendor B. Not only should you identify and invest in the right technology, but make an emotional connection to craft human experiences that drive customer satisfaction and differentiate you from your rivals.
Fingent helps you make a fortune out of tech investments by helping you leverage the latest technology trends. Our business technology consulting services focus on helping businesses tackle technology problems, attain business objectives, and derive value from tech and IT investments. Chat with an expert to learn more.
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The post-COVID-19 business scenario will not look the same across industries or countries. It will pose challenges and opportunities to leaders.
Tips for Business Leaders to Attain Success in the New Normal
While traits like empathy, authenticity, clarity, and agility remain crucial during this uncertainty, leaders face challenges to maintain a sense of connection and togetherness within their teams. However, as businesses are beginning to get back on track, leaders will have to leverage new insights and advancements to rebuild the workplace rather than returning to it as usual.
This article discusses five best practices that business leaders can follow and prepare their organization for the future.
1. Have a clear purpose
There is a big difference between a “factor” and a “must-have.” A company that has a unique affirmation of its identity embodies everything the company stands for. This purpose helps future-ready companies to attract people to join the organization, stay and thrive. Also, investors understand why it is valuable.
According to a survey, 82% of companies in the U.S said that organizational purpose is essential, but only half of these companies said their purpose drove impact. So, what can bridge the gap?
Leaders can set the purpose in motion and make it real for people. This can be achieved when employees identify and feel connected to their organization’s purpose. For example, Amazon leaves a chair vacant during meetings to represent the customer’s role in decisions. CVS Health stopped selling tobacco products to achieve the purpose of helping people to attain better health.
Research reveals that people who live their purpose at work are four times more likely to report better engagement levels than those who do not.
Simply put, purpose inspires commitment, reveals the untapped market potential, and even navigates uncertainty. So, companies must articulate what they stand for and use their purpose to connect employees and stakeholders in ways that justify their business choice.
2. Create a value agenda
An organization must create a value plan that helps convert its ambitions and targets into tangible elements such as business units, product lines, regions, and capabilities. This allows companies to articulate where value is created and set it apart to drive future success.
Organizations must use the value agenda to focus their efforts and enable their employees to understand what matters. If this is achieved, the results can be significant and hard to replicate.
For instance, Apple ensures it provides the best user experience. The company gives importance to not just the product design but also the product packaging. Apple has a dedicated packaging team to ensure users elicit the right emotional response while unboxing.
Having a clear value agenda will help a company devise better strategic priorities and become agile to shift resources as priorities change.
3. Distinct culture
Future-ready companies need to have a distinct culture that can help them distinguish themselves from others. Culture includes rituals, symbols, behaviors, and experiences that describe how an organization works.
For example, Amazon enforces its “two-pizza rule,” according to which every internal team should be small enough to be fed with two pizzas. This rule supports the company’s approach to meetings: no PowerPoint, shorter meetings, and start with silence to allow participants to go through the pre-meeting memo. These approaches may sound silly, but in reality, it enables the company to reach better decisions faster.
For successful companies, culture forms the backbone and fuels sustained excellence in performance over time. Studies show that companies with strong cultures are three times more likely to achieve higher total returns to shareholders than those without a healthy culture.
Leaders have to consider specific behaviors that employees at all levels adhere to create a robust performance culture.
4. Flatten structure
In recent years, the business environment has become more complex and interconnected. Many companies have adapted to these changes and created a more sophisticated matrix expecting it to solve market complexity. However, this is not how it should be.
Future-ready organizations must prepare themselves to become fitter, faster, flatter, and better at unlocking considerable value. The goal should not be to eliminate hierarchy but to flatten the organization, adopt the most uncomplicated profit and loss management structure, and reinforce business objectives with robust performance management and other mechanisms.
For example, Haier, a China-based company of appliances and electronics, adopted emergent and agile teams instead of the traditional hierarchy. The multinational company has no layers, no conventional bosses, and no middle management.
Another example to consider is Google. It follows a “non-zero-sum” management approach that emphasizes developing a communication line running in all directions rather than reporting relationships. It brings together cross-functional and professional skills while avoiding hierarchical mindsets. Such teams can act fast because they are flexible, are ready to learn from mistakes, and try new approaches.
In simple words, the future-ready organization must include models that are designed around people and activities. As technology advances, bosses will become coaches and enablers rather than micromanagers. When organizations set their priorities and ways of working, responsibilities, and transparent decisions, they can empower their frontline staff to make decisions.
5. Prioritize data-rich tech platforms
Data is of utmost importance, and future-ready companies need to take it seriously. For example, Netflix transformed from a small DVD-provider to a multifaceted global OTT content platform and media production company by leveraging insights from its user data through powerful algorithms.
So, future-ready companies need to understand that data can empower decisions, and the value agenda provides unexpected yet promising opportunities.
To get maximum benefits from the data, future-ready companies must create practical approaches to data governance, redesign processes in a modular fashion, and leverage cloud-based technology by dynamically reallocating their budgets. By utilizing the data effectively, companies can develop new products, services, and even LOBs.
There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has left many businesses in grief and economic dislocation. Business leaders must lead with empathy and compassion as they start to re-energize and revitalize their teams. The best leaders establish and reinforce behaviors that can support their organization during this crisis and after.
Contact us to know more about how Fingent’s leadership supports customers to ensure business continuity and enables employees to engage effectively during the current pandemic.
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According to data collected from almost 788 small firms by Fasthosts Internet, it is found that there is a huge difference in terms of adopting new technology in the workplace and finding success through using it.
One out of three firms said that they have failed in improving efficiencies, even after adopting business technologies like smartphones, tablets, and other computer software. The paradox here is that almost half of the small firms in the UK have admitted that they regularly purchase new technologies, even if it is without being certain that they need them.
In order to improve efficiency, it is not enough to merely jump on the bandwagon and adopt technology. You need to know the exact kind of technology your company needs and make sure that it is aligned with your business processes. You definitely need to get yourself acquainted with a lot of information related to technology and understand its relevance in your business, for which you will need the help and advice of IT experts.
The numbers that literally indicate the need for an IT professional
Further into the research conducted by Fasthosts Internet, there are several factors which point to the fact that business enterprises need to seek advice from IT professionals for their technological aspects. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Up to 35% of firms felt that their new technology purchases led them to work longer hours or failed to improve efficiencies in some way. Around 48% found their new technology to have increased efficiency and lead to “smarter working”.
- About 74% of small companies, that is to say, a vast majority of them, felt that implementing technology did not free up their employees’ work time, which they had hoped to use for raising the organization’s innovation and scope.
- Only 41% of them found their employees to be enjoying using new technology, while about one in five firms said that they employ staff who are frightened of using new technology.
- A large margin of firms, that is about 85% of them, admitted that they are almost never aware of how to use the new technology in the best way, as and when they are introduced.
- Only 1 in 10 firms has sought help from their IT advisor or their technology provider, in the event of being disappointed with a particular part or aspect of their adopted technology.
Off the list of figures, it is also generally found that many firms struggle with the way they buy as well as use technologies in their workspace. Although almost all of them are well aware of the importance and relevance of using technology, a lot of them find that success on using technology is a hit-or-miss situation. For some, it clicks, while for others it doesn’t.
Why does this happen
According to Stephen Holford, Marketing Director of Fasthosts Internet, “Busy business owners can find the time and advice needed to ensure all technology investments are well placed. An inadequate approach to buying and reviewing solutions can lead firms to miss out on the maximum value of technology.”
The major reason for such failures is basically the way technology is researched on by the companies. On the need for technology, companies resort to random research about the kind of technology they need to adopt, often leading them to irrelevant or even misleading information. It is on the basis of this haphazard information that they buy their technology. This results in a large number of firms wasting their money on solutions that they probably don’t even need or simply do not perform well.
What’s worse is that not all of these thoughtless investments are even brought to notice. Only 11% of small firms in the UK, review whether the new technology that they have adopted is working well, each time a new piece or part is introduced. And as mentioned before, not all firms go back to their provider or IT expert on finding that their technology doesn’t work satisfactorily.
What ideally should be one of the first things to do before adopting new technology, that is, seeking the advice of an IT professional, is done by only one in four firms. In effect, only 25% or about a quarter of firms, are doing the right thing.
In order to avoid such failures, business enterprises need to plan technology investments properly and consult IT professionals who know best about the right kind of technology for their business. They need to work closely with suppliers, throughout the purchase.
Once the technology is deployed, businesses need to keep track of its success rate and take necessary steps to overcome shortfalls or errors as and when they occur. They also need to constantly upgrade their knowledge, through advices, case studies, guidelines, and the like.
Have you consulted an IT professional for your business yet? If not, talk to us.