(Why Stuff Sucks® series)
Stay Ahead Curve & Get Your Technology Strategy in Order
Let’s be honest, most things in business are getting more complex due to the increase of technology. In fact, the pace of that change sucks.
Building a customer base, keeping up with the latest trends in technology, surviving recessions or pandemics and fending off any other threat to your productivity, effectiveness, or success.
Suckity. Suck. Sucks.
Are we like dinosaurs doomed to have our company or career become extinct?I’m here to tell you that digital strategy doesn’t have to suck. There are ways to enjoy the day-to-day drinking from the information fire hose so that you don’t have to down a fifth of pepto during the day or a bottle of melatonin just to sleep at night! Why Stuff Sucks® exists to ensure your skills don’t become extinct technologically.
As a conference keynote speaker, marketing coach, and SEO consultant, I am the ideal guide for your journey, having been a trailblazer in the fields of tech and digital marketing. With my help, you will:
- Approach new technological changes with confidence, rather than sheer panic
- Manage millions of dollars in marketing/technology budgets without losing any sleep
- 2X, 3X, or 4X your website traffic, qualified leads, & revenues
- Transplant technology successes across a variety of industries
- Scale the newest tech hacks with poise
- Continuously deliver superior business growth
Learning to understand and implement continually changing technology is not as intimidating as you think. Rather than allowing ourselves to be terrified, focusing that energy on solutions will allow us to shift from paralysis to business and career success.
I simplify the complexities of information technology strategy and regularly witness the “light bulb of understanding” go off for others. I can do the same for you, and as a result, you’ll see your awareness increase, your technology dollars go further, and your business become more successful.
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Supercharged Technology Strategy for Companies of All Sizes
Technology isn’t something that you hand off to your IT department and forget about until something breaks. It’s the leading driver of evolution in the business world, which is why you can’t ignore it. As you’ve read, most of the companies that didn’t take technology seriously fell by the wayside.
If you want to incorporate a winning digital strategy at your company, you’ve come to the right place. The right approach can significantly increase your business growth. If you want to undergo a positive digital transformation, let’s get to it.
What is Technology Strategy & Why is it Important?
A technology strategy is an overall business plan focusing on how your company will use tech to achieve its business goals. It should also include a forecast of any significant technological changes in the next 3 to 5 years.
Your plan should include realistic goals, reliable tactics, and a timeline.
The idea is to keep your business one step ahead of the curve regarding technology.
There are countless examples of this happening in the past. A great example is when Netflix offered to partner with Blockbuster. To Blockbuster’s CEO, the idea was preposterous. His technology company was on top of the world, and he had no reason to partner with the competition.
You know the rest. Netflix took over the world, and Blockbuster is now a distant memory.
They failed to adapt to emerging technology, and it cost them their business. That’s why a technology strategy is so crucial for your organization’s survival. A robust plan will allow you to roll with the punches and adapt to new changes in technology.
5 Bankable Benefits of a Technology Strategy
- Does your company have a tech strategy in place?
- If so, does it stretch beyond one year? If not, then you’re missing out on what a long-term plan can do for you.
A short-term strategy tends to only focus on the technology side of things. In other words, it’s all about strategy implementation at your organization.
That’s great, but it’s only one side of the coin.
You’ll need to have long-term technology strategies that align with your overall goals. A proper technology strategy unites your tech and business strategies together.
While few companies implement long-term technology strategies, you should follow this path and enjoy numerous other benefits, such as the 5 I’ve compiled here.
1. Aligns Business Strategy, Objectives, & Goals to Customer Needs
Remember, you don’t want to isolate your IT department. Instead, include them in your major business decisions. Once you’re all on the same page, you’ll enjoy better performance across the board.
It makes sense if you think about it; business units should work toward common goals.
That leads to a boost in efficiency, consistency, and agility. So if you have communication barriers between your IT department and the rest of your company – it’s time to take a sledgehammer to those walls.
Also, better alignment will help you fulfill customer needs quickly. If customers complain about a particular issue, your technology department may have the solution. Once you align IT with the rest of the organization, you’ll be firing on all cylinders.
2. Builds Noteworthy Long-term Results You Can Measure
A proper corporate strategy focuses on the long-term, building actual results. I can’t say it enough; you need to try to anticipate the future with your business strategy.
When forecasting, you need to look at market trends and your competitors.
You should try to predict evolutions in technology, while leaving room for contingencies.
Positive change takes time and a series of goals and organizational objectives. Yet, your technology strategy is something that you can measure. Keep a close eye on the metrics for your goal. (i.e., monitoring website traffic if your goal is to boost it.) That will help you stay on track and let you know if you need to make any adjustments to your corporate strategy.
3. Reduces Operational Inefficiencies & Costs
If technology is good at one thing, it’s cutting costs and improving efficiency. If your company is a bit behind the times, you’re wasting lots of time and resources. Implementing time-saving technology (such as automation) will help you in the long run.
Of course, rolling out new tech is something that takes time and adequate staff training. And if you’re worried about what your team whose jobs you automated are going to do, don’t be. The labor shortage will keep things in balance; machines still need people to manage/run them.
Yet, this short-term investment is well worth it, considering what you stand to gain.
That’s also why you need to maintain a robust technology strategy into the future. Who knows what new evolutions and developments will come out in the next few years. If you’re too slow to implement them, you’ll end up wasting money and losing business to more agile competitors.
4. Provides a Definitive Competitive Advantage
An intelligent technology strategy will provide a noticeable advantage over competitors. That’s especially true if you outmaneuver them and prepare for the long term.
Let’s consider an example to illustrate what I mean here. Say that company A has no tech strategy, and their IT department operates in a siol. They’ve yet to incorporate technology such as cloud services and automation, or if they have, they haven’t considered the goals of other departments.
As a result, the org is less agile, inefficient, and spends a lot of resources just to operate.
On the other hand, Company B took the time to develop a strategy framework. Their IT department works in tandem with the rest of the company to achieve their goals. Because of this, they have cloud services, automation, and clear technological goals for the future.
It’s clear who has the competitive edge here. Company B is more efficient, agile, and effective due to its technology strategy. They’re set up for success, and they’re keeping their eye on the horizon for innovations.
Company A is stuck in the past and slowly gets swallowed up by its competitors.
5. Avoids Decline & Ensures a Secure Future
The last thing you want is for your company to end up like Napster or Blockbuster. Both companies had shortcomings with their technology strategies, which caused their decline.
It doesn’t take long for new technology to sneak up on you and bury your business model if you aren’t careful.
Your best bet is to develop a tight technology strategy and remain flexible if situations dictate. That’s the most reliable way to avoid a decline in relevancy and/or sales.
So if you don’t want your business to wake up in a landfill suddenly, you have to include technology in your overall plans and business objectives.
5 Effective Steps to Develop a Top-notch Technology Strategy
By now, you should understand why developing a technology strategy is so crucial. It will help you stay relevant, build long-term results, and reduce costs. There’s every reason why you should want to create a technology strategy for your company.
Yet, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about it like anything else.
You need to align your IT department with the rest of your company and create a plan that covers both the short term and long term.
I’ve put together 5 fundamental steps for creating a technology strategy to simplify things. I learned these steps from years of experience as a digital strategist so rest assured they’re battle-tested.
1. Build Consensus & Secure Budget
The first step is to build a consensus among your team that a strategy is necessary. You’ll want all the decision-makers at your company to agree on its development.
That means getting together with your CEO, stakeholders, and executive suite for meetings and ongoing dialogue about it.
You’ll need to explain why your company needs a technological strategy to stay relevant. Remember to let everyone know that ignoring technology can lead to a sudden downfall.
Also, don’t forget to mention all the benefits involved. The right technology strategy will help you cut costs and give you a competitive advantage.
If they need more convincing, remind them about examples like Blockbuster. If your company fails to keep up with technology, you could lose it all.
Once everyone agrees, then the next phase of this step begins – creating a budget.
You’ll need to determine a realistic budget for your technology strategy. What costs are involved? You might need to hire a consultant, which is an investment. You’ll also need to dedicate time and effort toward your strategy. Implementing new forms of technology is another expense.
Once you have a budget secured, you’re ready to move on.
2. Build an Internal Team or Hire a Consultant
In this step, you’ll need to decide if you’re going to hire a team or a consultant. Of course, there are pros and cons to each.
- A team can do a lot more for you, but they can get bogged down in internal politics or focus on the inertia of “the way it’s always been done before”. Yet, there’s something to be said for an entire group of people working alongside each other on your technology strategy.
- Consultants also offer elite-level expertise and can provide unique insights as an “outsider”. If you go the consultant route, you’ll need to designate some existing team members to carry out your plan. Your consultant will develop an expert strategy for you, but it’s up to your team to implement it.
It will all come down to your unique needs as a business and internal resources…
3. Create a Solid Tech Strategy Plan
Now it’s time to create your plan. To start, you’ll need to identify your existing long-term business objectives. Your technology plan should cover how to achieve those objectives over the next 3 years.
Remember, you don’t want your technology plan only to cover a few months or a year. That’s not long enough to cover a technology transformation. These things take time, and it’s often longer than you’d expect.
Once the plan is set, you’ll need to make sure it works with your existing technological ecosystem.
In other words, you want to make sure that you don’t overstep your current technological bounds. You won’t be able to realize your strategy if you don’t have the proper infrastructure.
It’s wise to create a roadmap of sorts for your technology strategy. That will help you map out any changes you need to make (and on what timeline) with your existing tech.
4. Prioritize Execution Tactics of the Plan
You’ll want to prioritize the most essential tactics of your plan. Why? It’s because of how easy it is to get distracted. Along the way, special projects may pop up that occupy your team.
That’s why you need to define which tactics are the most important and prioritize them.
Sit down with your team and determine which aspects of your plan are the most crucial. You’ll need to designate these aspects to take priority over anything that pops up.
That will help you stay on track toward your ultimate objectives. Of course, pop-up projects have their place too if they are more important than other prioritized ones. It’s just critical to re-prioritize so you don’t fall behind on your plan.
5. Implement, Track Results, & Adjust
All right, now that everything is in place, it’s time to implement it. Once you get the ball rolling, you’ll need to monitor your results. Remember to use analytics tools to track your specific goals.
If you find that you don’t see results after a while, you’ll need to make adjustments. That’s why monitoring your analytics is essential. They will let you know if what you’re doing is working or if you need to go back to square one.
After a bit of trial and error, you’ll settle into what works for you. Once you get there, you will need to keep the train in motion by setting future strategy.
3 Relevant Examples of Successful Technology Strategy in Practice
The proof is always in the pudding with any type of business plan or strategy. By now you should understand why you need a technology strategy and how to develop one. Yet, where is the evidence that a technology strategy can save your business?
There are countless examples of mainstream companies using technology strategies to great effect. Some used technology to stay relevant, while others used it to dominate the market.
Here are 3 examples of well-known companies that found significant success due to their technology strategies.
Starbucks is one of the largest and most recognizable restaurant chains globally. It turns out that a tech-savvy strategy is to thank for that fact.
You probably have at least a few Starbucks locations in your town. They’re notorious for popping up all over the place, but it turns out there’s a strict method to the madness.
The company uses an AI-based tool called Deep Brew to select its new locations. It features robust machine learning so it can analyze data such as:
- The population of the area
- The average income level
- Average traffic levels
- Any competitors in the area
Once it finds an adequate location, it can provide an accurate sales forecast. The AI program affords managers a level of strategic management to know what to expect in terms of revenue and peak business times. Since Starbucks leverages technology so wisely, they dominate the coffee market.
The team at Nike has paid close attention to technology for quite some time. In particular, they excel at using mobile apps to increase interactions with customers. They’re well aware of the prominence of the digital marketplace, which is why they haven’t been shy about embracing it.
Nike also uses apps to build relationships and loyalty with customers.
For example, their SNKRS app is a shining example of this. It features rare sneakers with limited availability. In order to score a pair, you need to have a high ‘interaction score.’ That means buying Nike products, interacting with apps, and signing up for exclusive offers.
It’s a very clever way of using something desirable (rare sneakers) to encourage brand loyalty. If you want the sneakers badly enough, you won’t dare buy from another company.
LEGO was one of the leading toy companies for the longest time. That was until 2003 when they were facing bankruptcy. The tide shifted for toys, with video games and mobile apps beginning to take over. Kids were putting LEGOs down in favor of a controller or tablet.
Rather than accept their fate, LEGO took action.
They put into practice a brilliant technology strategy that saved the company. They began to invest in mobile apps, video games, and movies. The idea was to bring the magic of LEGOs to the digital space, and it paid off. LEGO is currently one of the most valuable toy brands.
They also continue to innovate with their flagship toy blocks with technology. Customers can create their own LEGOs with 3D printing. Some LEGO blocks even feature sensors and lights.