In the past few years we have witnessed the merging of two key disciplines: information technology and business management.
When gauging the general health of a business as a whole, it’s not surprising that business consultants often look to how well IT systems are performing as one of the primary areas of their assessment.
A key characteristic of very successful companies is that they continue to innovate by adopting IT systems and processes that help employees run their businesses smarter, leaner and more efficiently than competitors. Gaining increased market share often requires reducing the total cost of ownership with IT and other major company investments.
Businesses experiencing slow growth and/or major issues with customer relations usually have a decaying technology strategy that poorly aligns with business objectives. Alternatively, business growth can be realized by deploying the right technologies.
When analyzing technology strategies, consider:
• Burdensome IT costs such as premise-based infrastructure and legacy systems
• Poor user adoption rates that limit ROI
• Potential ROI for new technologies
• IT investments that contribute to business agility – how well your business reacts to changes in the marketplace
If any of those strategies are out of sync, your technology likely isn’t meeting a business need and should be re-evaluated.
There are a number of reasons why your technology isn’t working to meet a business goal but there are four key priorities of an effective business and technology management strategy:
1. Cloud Platforms
A good place to start adding cloud to your IT infrastructure is with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform such as Salesforce. Marketing automation software such as Marketo or HubSpot also provide business intelligence and lead nurturing services that improve how your market your business in cost effective ways. Offered in a Software as a Service (Saas), pay-as-you-go model, these applications provide powerful tools to implement, monitor and measure sales, marketing and service tasks. Migrating other enterprise applications to the cloud also reduces downtime, improves reliability and reduces costs.
Integration is everything when you consider all the applications your business is using or plans to use. Integration streamlines processes and provides a unified view, improving the usability of your applications and improving reporting for greater visibility over business performance. Use this information to quickly adjust to changes in the marketplace.
Mobility is the ultimate business technology goal right now. People want reliable, secure access to their work-related data in a “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)” format. In fact, a whopping 77 percent of companies in one study expected that mobile apps and services will soon be the No. 1 way people access IT systems for work. On the marketing side, mobile apps facilitate e-commerce and enhance a brand’s online presence to gain a competitive edge. Internet of Things apps also provide marketers with data on how consumers use products and services, which can be used to spur innovation.
4. Process Engineering
A lot of companies invest in technology systems that ultimately fail because of outdated processes that don’t work within the new technology. Process engineering should be at the forefront of any technology implementation. Let the business goal be the guide. Make sure you select a technology that will enable the type of customization your business needs to be successful with its processes.