Who is Integrated Strategies?

October 9, 2007

The Power of Technology

Technology can provide a powerful way to differentiate your company. Whether it is your ability to use technology to lower your costs, improve your service or increase your visibility, technology should be on your radar. The cost of implementing different forms of technology has decreased in terms of cost and ease of execution. A few years ago it took an expert to start up a blog. Now all it takes is a few seconds and the ability to type. With free blogging services the cost is nothing either. The same is true of user forums and wikis (such as wikipedia).

Every company is different in how they would be able to use technology, but there is no one who can't benefit from some use it. The benefits are there for anyone to see: improved communication, quicker customer feedback, active community involvement in design, etc. Technology is not a cure all for every company though. Some business cultures just cannot support it because employees are scared of it or customers don't need it or their IT rules are too strict to allow it. It is these companies that need to look at alternative deployment methods.

For companies that have scared employees, start a grassroots movement until it gains traction. Start a program to roll it out to interested employees and develop a history of use. Prove its benefits and eventually everyone will buy in. This applies particularly to the newspaper industry. For decades they have had a very successful and profitable business model. Over the past five to ten years that model has begun to fail with panic spreading across the industry and many insiders becoming technology-phobic. However it is the companies that have strong technology models that are having the most success.

For companies with customers that aren't technology savvy, begin training them in the ways it can be used to their advantage. Also, branch out and begin drawing in new customers using technology. The wine industry had been very anti-technology until just very recently. Australian wine companies discovered that technology could be used to produce inexpensive, superior tasting wines. Others in the industry now have to try and catch up.

For companies that have strict IT policies preventing new technologies, it may be time to reevaluate why those policies are in place. Often those policies came about through fear of the unknown or were reactions to stories in newspapers and magazines. Different companies require different security policies and often require multiple policies depending on the group or customer involved. Just because one group or customer needs the highest level of security and policies does not mean it should apply across the board.

Technology should be part of your core business model. Even though it is changing at a seemingly daily rate you should be willing to embrace it and put it to work for you. Be wary that it does not leave you behind in the changes though. It is not a one time investment and then forget about it. It is a long-term investment of time and energy, but it will pay off in the end.

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