Machine learning, natural language processing, data analytics, AI, blockchain—there’s no question, when it comes to technology, there are a lot of tools out there to help your business grow. But which ones are right for your business?
That isn’t an easy question to answer—and it’s one our participants grappled with at a recent roundtable discussion comprised of public company CEOs and CFOs. One thing they did agree upon? In today’s business environment, you can’t simply invest in technology for technology’s sake. To avoid disruption—and actually thrive—you need to be deliberate in how you leverage the various forms of technology at your fingertips.
So how do you differentiate between the tools that will push your business forward and those whose costs exceed their benefits? By making sure your approach is strategic, taking time to win over the employees that will be using it and ensuring that each investment has a purpose.
Create a strong technology strategy
Given the prominent role technology plays in business today, it’s understandable that it would need its own strategy—a strategy that, ideally, aligns with your business strategy. This plan should ensure your adoption of technology fits into your business’s overall direction and is part of your plan to achieve specific business goals.
To effectively integrate IT into your business strategy, you may need to give your IT team a louder voice in your strategy discussions, rather than imposing the business strategy on them. This can ensure you’re allotting company resources to the technology investments best suited to your organization.
Win over your employees
A new technology investment is worth very little if your people are unwilling to use it. For this reason, it’s important that—with every new investment—you have a plan to effectively integrate it into your culture.
This will likely involve getting a feel for what your people are capable of from a skills perspective—and what they’re comfortable with. With this information in hand, it will become easier to develop training programs and policies to ensure the new technology is within your employees’ wheelhouse and they understand the value of it. This will, in turn, increase your chances of ensuring your employees welcome the new technology, rather than resent it.
Tech investments with purpose
In this era of business, if you’re not thinking about things like technology—and, specifically, data—you’re likely getting left behind. But that doesn’t mean you should jump in feet first.
Take the time to understand what assets and processes you already have in place and how they can best be leveraged to enhance your business, and then determine which forms of technology are needed to further reach your predetermined end goals (outlined in your business strategy). So, for instance, in the case of data analytics, chances are your organization is already collecting data—it’s simply not providing useful information. If one of your business’s goals is to launch a new product or service in the near future, you’d likely want to use your data to better understand your customers’ buying habits and anticipate the type of product or service they would most appreciate.
In many cases, this may involve doing a deep dive, finding out what information you have collected in the past, itemizing that data and determining what’s relevant. You may also want to establish a set of relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) and use the data to shed light on them.
The future is here
Like it or not, technology is a staple in today’s business environment—and it’s changing all the time. To keep pace, public companies will have to turn their attention toward creating a strong technology strategy, working to get employees on board and making sure every technological investment has a purpose.
To learn more about how Grant Thornton can help you in your technology efforts, contact us.