Leveraging Technology

Do you proactively leverage technology?
A. No. We definitely lag behind.
B. We try to keep up with current technology.
C. We leverage appropriate current technology.
D. We proactively leverage appropriate current and emerging technology.
E. We proactively leverage appropriate current and emerging technology, and we monitor how competitors embrace technology.
[Score:  A=0, B=1, C=2, D=3 and E=4]


Why is this question important?

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency.  The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency”.
Bill Gates

Mobile devices are rapidly changing the customer experience and continuously forcing businesses to rethink how they engage with their customers and employees. By enabling consumers to carry the Internet in their pockets, mobile devices have made them more informed, more mobile, less private, and more social than ever before.

Businesses have a unique opportunity to create competitive advantage by understanding that mobile devices are not only tools to drive innovation, but they can truly transform the customer and employee experience.

Today’s mobile device is no longer simply a phone. They are:

  • a communication system – providing the ability to communicate anywhere, anytime
  • an application platform – providing apps (like contact manager, calendar, mobile banking
  • a sensing platform – providing context-aware data (using built-in GPS, digital camera, environmental sensing, etc.)
  • a ‘digital’ extension of the individual / consumers in a digital world

The mobile device has evolved from being merely a digital information manager to a full-fledged digital assistant. It …

  • has changed the way business gets done – employees can work from anywhere and collaborate with anyone at any time and the tool that they’re using to collaborate is not a barrier to innovation.
  • businesses can empower innovation by leveraging mobile technologies for their employees enhancing collaboration and opportunities for innovation.

IT is a key business investment for every business, potentially enabling them to:

  • Reduce costs
  • Standardise processes
  • Enhance productivity
  • Improve workflow
  • Improve communications
  • Improve customer service
  • Sustain repeatable service levels
  • Implement new business strategies
  • Gain competitive advantage

Even the most basic use of technology can radically enhance business productivity and efficiency.

For example, think about:

  • cloud computing – the way forward
  • social media – marketing, awareness and brand building
  • accounting software – speeds up bookkeeping and dramatically improves accuracy and access to key information for decision-making,  managements accounts, costing and pricing information
  • word processing software – set up standard letter templates and other document templates
  • email / SMS / MMS – improves your internal and external communications, speeds up decision-making and helps you transfer and modify documents
  • systems integration – connecting your systems with your suppliers (SRM) and customers (CRM) systems can improve productivity right through the business process



Challenges for the development of IT strategy:

  • You need to be involved and committed
  • You need to have clarity on your overall ‘business strategy’ and ICT’s role in this
  • You need to avoid “over-hyped” expectations
  • You need to develop confidence in the ability of ICT to deliver
  • You need to accept that technological uncertainty is part of the strategic challenge for your business

No matter how important and difficult ICT can be, do not lose sight of the fact that it is only a means to an end; it isn’t an end in itself.  You really should devote time and energy to managing ICT; ideally you need (or need access to) technical skills to get the best from ICT; you almost certainly need to invest in ICT – but the use you make of ICT should not be driven by ICT itself, but by the needs of your business.