How to Harness Disruptive Technology to Drive Business Growth
We’re living in a time of incredibly rapid change and innovation, where emerging technology is being harnessed to turn traditional business models on their heads and bring ideas to market almost instantaneously.
Digital disruptors are consistently challenging the status quo, while increasingly savvy consumers continue to expect a seamless Amazon-esque brand offering across an ever-growing range of channels.
This brings challenges, but also opportunity. Figures from industry analysts IDC show a huge correlation between the use of digital technology and business growth figures.
To be able to capitalise on disruptive technology though, businesses need to be able to identify and harness the right technology for their – and their customers’ – unique and developing needs. For example, in 2018, purchases via mobile phones overtook sales from physical shopping centres for the first time. In the same way, while still in its infancy, AI is set to have huge ramifications for all industries.
The importance of getting back to basics
While it is true there is a lot of exciting technology becoming mainstream, it is important for businesses to not try and run before they can walk. Often driven by a desire to stay one step ahead of the competition and carve out an advantage in an increasingly crowded and fast-paced environment, we regularly see businesses rush to implement technology which then doesn’t fulfil expectations.
Businesses need to ensure they have the basic building blocks in place in order to get real benefit from any technology, and this is especially true for growing businesses. A massively important part of setting a business up to harness digital technology for growth is recognising what you really need. Many businesses mistakenly think they just need a website, when actually what they really require is a quite advanced technology platform. This is a relatively easy error to make – after all, Uber looks like just an app and AirBnB just a website, but in reality they are both very complex booking systems.
Bringing it all together
Identifying, implementing and optimising the right digital technology for your business can seem like a daunting task. The following key steps offer a good guide of how to bring everything together to help realise investment and drive growth.
Don't lead with technology
Start with the customer and your business goals, not with technology. Don’t rush in and throw some technology at a perceived problem in the hope of solving it. Instead, look at how your customers are interacting with your business and how they are likely to in the future.
Build on data
Before purchasing any new technology, organisations first need to fully understand what they already have and what they want a new solution to achieve. Don’t make assumptions here; conduct an audit of current capabilities, skill sets and data to make sure you have all the information needed before making any kind of decision.
Get the right advice
Recognising that you need outside advice and expertise is a sign of astute leadership. You may be an expert in your business area, but the world of digital technology is fast moving and rapidly evolving. Niche expertise and experience is needed to navigate through all the available technology options. As such, seeking independent, expert advice can save considerable time and money.
Digital technology, by its very nature, doesn’t stand still. Neither do your customers. They are constantly adopting new ways of purchasing or accessing services and you need to ensure you can meet their ever-evolving demands.
Involve your employees
You can invest in the best piece of digital technology there is, but if it is not used properly it will be virtually worthless. Make sure you have the right team in place to implement, integrate and optimise your chosen solution, and do not overlook the importance of communicating with all employees about what you are trying to achieve with digital technology.
Used correctly, digital technology has the potential to streamline processes, drive efficiencies and accelerate business growth. With the right approach, advice and strategy, all organisations can harness digital to really stand out from the competition and realise their ambitions