Filed under: Business Growth, Profitable Growth, Uncategorized
Business people are fascinated by the benefits, profits and potential of technology. Just visit any tech event and witness the financiers, service providers and the media networking with techies to discover “the next business thing.”
But despite all this “technology-transfer”, why isn’t there more technology in business? After 15 years of consulting with more than 430 firms and presenting to or interviewing another 10,000 business leaders, I’m dismayed by how little technology actually makes it into most mainstream, medium and small businesses:
- Most inventories are still managed without RFID or other systems tied into the POS. Despite this decade-old technology being “so easy,” I still see many companies doing it by hand.
- Few companies have good CRM systems. While this software works, few customers integrate their systems with their own sales culture and process or ensure sales force commitment, crippling many users from benefitting from such new technology.
- True cost-accounting information is scarce. Ask business owners what their product or service really costs to make, sell and service and few honestly know. If they had more knowledge, they could more confidently limits test new offers and features.
- Knowledge businesses still communicate with tools from the 1900′s. Despite the many better ways to present and engage their audiences, the gap between what companies say they sell and what customers hear and buy remains enormous. Too few businesses are developing mobile apps or distance learning.
Here’s why there isn’t more technology in business:
- The culture of technology clashes with mainstream business. The technology culture values perfection of their means while mainstream business struggles to convert these means into profitable ends.
- Tech people are schooled to woo investors and grants not to sell to customers. Inventors and startups believe they must write plans to get financing before they approaching and selling customers. Customers need to be understood and served but investors want to be bought out and move on. Who is more important to business longevity?
- Associations and business-plan contests reward planning skills not results. Our schools, associations and governments reward techies more for their thinking than for their sales and profits.
- Social media often encourages engagement without closure. Blogging and tweeting without closing business is like having a fiancé for five years without a marriage.
Why should you in the technology community react or even care? Because mainstream businesses need you, your value and they have money to pay you.
Consider these 3 ways to help you put more of your technology in business:
- Make your “thing” work manually before you try to make it work with technology.
- Understand how your customers use your thing to make money, and whether it’s by selling more, spending less, saving time, reducing risk or improving their lifestyles.
- Sell some version of your product or expertise from the start while you seek investors.
Technology companies have big shoes to fill in sustaining the Western Pennsylvania economy beyond steel. Doing so takes driving their products and services deeply into mainstream business.
Through this column, I will provide you with ways and ideas to do so. Together, we can put more of your technology into business.