Technology – the Second Key to Growth
The second key in the world of creating a steady, consistent and profitable growth organization is Technology. Old technology does not count. The key word with technology is emerging. New and cutting edge technology is the focus for breakthroughs in productivity and growth. Examples are numerous as to what technology has done to and for organizations.
Some old technology examples that created productivity increases include things like telephone systems
(now referred to as communication systems due to complex coordination of technology.) which reduced the need for operators; fax machines that allow for immediate transfer of people documents including invoices; personal computers on desktops leading to easier creation of documents and spreadsheets allowing for instant analysis of data point changes due to strategy or investments. Databases and information became portable for sales people, managers and team members.
So what is emergent technology and how does it impact growth opportunities?
Emergent technology is what can create an edge or a competitive advantage in the marketplace. One of the prime examples of emergent technology is the use of the Internet. Companies that have learned to utilize the Internet for excellent customer service have built systems that allow for customers to freely check on orders, deliveries, status of deliveries, review payment schedules, account receivables, accounts payable and additional customer status information.
Human Resource departments have placed the routine benefits and information packages on the Internet for employees or retirees to review without actually talking to a live person. (Personally, I enjoy the live person thing – but that’s another topic.) Even Performance Management systems are housed on the Internet for managers and staff to track their performance, development and projects success whenever they need this information.
Enterprise Wide Systems allow for organizations to immediately know what is going on at plants, distribution centers, R & D locations, financial data/analysis and customer information is available online to whomever needs it for decision making. These systems facilitate the coordination of efforts and results around the globe.
Technology has improved systems for marketing and marketing research. Customer surveys or feedback can come immediately. A current example of technology impacting the performance of products or services with any company are the wide spread use of blogs. Blogs are exploding in numbers and impact. Employees blog, customers blog and executives even blog! Instant information or feedback that can no longer be ignored by leaders. Responses and replies in an open format are requirements rather than optional.
Another area of technology that is red hot at this moment are the social networking systems available. You Tube, FaceBook, LinkedIn and others have become the feeding grounds for viral networks. This systems use what is called “Buzz” to build brands and followers of products and services. Traditional advertising is losing its impact to the power of social networks.
The main use of technology in my opinion is the power of customer databases. The ability to create and maintain accurate customer and prospect information on computers is invaluable. Growth companies know who their customers are, what they buy, when they buy and why they buy. Using this information, the growth companies stay in contact or “touch” their customers at the right moments to keep a “top of mind” presence.
Brand loyalty is created using a combination of technology functions that create high quality product and services; allow the customer to have free access to information needed to purchase or track a purchase; to service products for long life and get any necessary information they need for continued satisfaction. Brands and brand loyalty create additional growth due to word of month (low tech stuff!).
Remember this key point regarding Technology – Emergent Technology comes to automate the routine and allow your people to become more effective in their use of time and abilities. If the technology is making everything more complex (as in very hard to use) then leverage is limited – make a choice quickly before the investment of time and energy become excessive. The other point is make certain that the technology does not hinder or negatively impact the customer’s experience.
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