As change becomes the only constant, the ability to spot new business opportunities, innovate fast, and scale with confidence is vital to future success. Many of these abilities depend on having the right digital foundations in place, which means business leaders also need to be able to make tech decisions with no regrets.
Easier said than done, right?
When it comes to tech choices, the decision-making process can seem overwhelming. Which digital solutions are right for our business model? How can we improve our processes, not just multiply them? What are the tech trends we should be considering?
Here are five pointers that will help you make the right tech decisions for your business strategy — with no regrets.
1. Identify a problem that needs solving and keep it front and centre
Technology works best when it’s used as an enabler. Rather than investing in some whizz-bang new tech for the sake of it, a tech strategy should be focused on the customer problem it’s trying to solve.
This is exactly the approach that Melbourne—based health technology company Curve Tomorrow, takes when developing digital health solutions that transform lives. They apply human-centred design principles to understand customers’ core needs and then design solutions — with tech playing a big role in most of them.
Strategic tech choices, then, are less tech-focused than they are problem and people-focused. For example, Curve Tomorrow knew that parents and coaches needed support for managing concussion in junior sports — that was the problem. The solution is an app from Curve Tomorrow that enables parents and coaches to triage and identify concussion.
2. Be transparent and ethical in your tech choices
The State of the Connected Customer report shows that only 48% of customers trust companies to use AI ethically and 54% are concerned about its potential bias. More than three in five customers feel they’ve lost control over how their personal information is used. Customers want organisations to make tech choices that will improve their experience, but they want it done with transparency. Tech decisions, then, must prioritise building customer trust. Otherwise, you end up with technology that alienates the very customer you’re using technology to help.
3. Look for ways to make life easier through automation
Keegan Bakker, former radio host and founder of Audata, knew that the industry needed better processes when he lost the piece of paper he used to write down a listener’s contact details — a listener who had just won a $10,000 prize and was waiting to collect it.
It was a common problem. Radio presenters were giving out hundreds of prizes per day to listeners but had no system of keeping track of who got what. Staff were burdened with an inefficient paper system or with manually entering data into spreadsheets.
Keegan created the Audata Promo app, which automated the capture of the data and released staff from chasing up winners manually so they could focus on what they were great at: engaging and creating content for their audiences. “I’ve had customers come up and hug me,” says Keegan. “It saves them so much time.”
4. You don’t need to specialise in tech to make good tech decisions
Keegan was a radio presenter long before he started building apps. He wasn’t a developer and had very little experience with the security and infrastructure aspects of an app.
Did that stop him? Nope. It was all about the tech choice. “The joy of building the product is solving the problem and getting it to customers as quickly as possible,” he says. “With Heroku, the infrastructure and security was all managed for me.”
And when it came to expanding? “We could just drag that slider and scale up.”
Choosing Heroku as part of his tech strategy meant he could get the product to market at speed and then start responding to the feedback it generated.
5. But do give IT a seat at the table
The latest State of Marketing report shows that 77% of high performing marketing teams make technology purchasing decisions with IT. Given 76% of customers say they expect consistent interactions across departments, and 68% say the pandemic has elevated their expectations of companies’ digital capabilities, making tech choices in collaboration with your IT colleagues is important to achieving a 360—degree view of the customer.
Basically, collaborating with your IT team ensures that your tech strategy aligns with your business strategy.
Making big decisions about your business or its technology solutions can be daunting. But centring customer needs, looking for new efficiencies, maintaining transparency and staying collaborative will help make sure your decisions are the right ones.
Want to hear more about how Trailblazers are making smart business decisions and leveraging technology? Tune into the Dreamforce 2021 sessions.