Using Technology to Promote Business Growth
Technology can be your best weapon when trying to grow your business. The effective use of technology solutions such as ERP can have an enormous impact, however many businesses are failing to capitalize fully on the technology available to them – whether it’s an underutilized in house system or the absence of a plan to purchase a new one.
Technology should be viewed as part of an overall strategy to re-orient the business to a better position, and not just a tactic for solving a specific problem. Look at the big picture; technology isn’t simply an operational decision, but a strategic decision that can help shape the future growth and development of the business.
Having the right technology in place doing the right things means you are armed with better data. That data can now be extracted and grouped in different ways, which allows you to make major business decisions in a matter of hours as opposed to days or weeks; and that has a tremendous impact.
Unfortunately, many executives see technology as an expense, as opposed to an advantage. They assume that carving out a certain percentage of their budget to dedicate to technology will yield a desired percentage of return, which is incorrect. Instead, executives should view technology as a tool, and consider what they could accomplish if they used that tool to its true competitive advantage.
When thinking about ERP, it’s important to realize that these platforms are an investment, and will be a part of your business for 10-15 years if you make the right decision. I often see executives making ERP decisions with less consideration than when they buy a new color printer, and that’s misguided.
As a long term strategic platform investment, ERP is akin to looking at other productive assets in the organization. ERP isn’t a point solution; it should be strategically integrated into the business. Often times, systems are purchased to handle one specific set of functions, and then not extended across the board to incorporate the other functionality. And while you might be utilizing 80% of your solution, it’s often the untapped 20% that can make the biggest difference.
Those businesses that evaluate and utilize the other 20% generate a huge amount of return.
Think about it this way – when you go looking to buy a house the features that have the most value to you are the finishing’s. The choice in faucets and handles, the appliances and carpets, paint colors and the overall look are what compel you to purchase the house. All those finishing’s make up only 20% of the entire house, but they contribute disproportionately to your buying decision. It’s what is in that 20% that can make or break the sale, much like the untapped 20% of your technology making the most difference to your business.
Underutilized technology is prevalent across most industries, and I would venture to guess that any business could find ways to better leverage their technology solutions. In my next post, I will discuss some of the reasons technology solutions are often underutilized.
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