By: Susan Smithfield, Columnist, International Director
“If it ain’t broke….”
We all know the drill. With the emergence of technological innovations unrolling one after the other, there are still those who refuse to go with the flow. In the business landscape, while many adopt new technology without skipping a beat, there are still those who have reservations. After all, their legacy systems worked and got them this far, so why change them?
The thing is, those hesitations aren’t without merit. Emerging technology, while promising a plethora of benefits, may also come with its share of risks. When it comes to high and disruptive technology, there’s no way to predict the outcome, and that’s where risk management comes in to balance innovation.
Should I invest in high tech?
Technology over the years has rapidly advanced. It has affected the way consumers behave and how they gain access to the products and services that they want. Technology has also impacted business models, rendering some obsolete and giving birth to new ones.
The question now is: What improvements can high technology add to a business that make it worth investing in?
Why business leaders should invest in high tech.
There are many reasons why companies adopt emerging technologies, and why you, as a business leader, should follow suit. For one, technology can potentially transform your business in ways that you may not even imagine. It can also improve several aspects of your enterprise, which are necessary to its survival in this increasingly competitive business landscape.
You can’t afford to stand still. Times are always changing, and not having the flexibility to adapt to the moment is something any business can’t afford. Think of it this way: As a manufacturing plant, you may consider investing in new machinery that will speed up production and shorten the process, giving you higher yield. These are just a few of the benefits that you will get with the upgraded equipment. The investment involves buying the machine. However, the cost of not investing equates to losing the benefits and potential profit increases that your company may receive.
Investing in high tech is always a matter of justifying the costs against the time savings and cost reductions. Is sticking to your legacy systems and outdated equipment still paying off, or are there perhaps better ways to do things with the help of new machinery and systems?
Boost productivity. This is a no-brainer. Everyone today has a smartphone, and people have come to rely on this tiny device for all their needs and deeds. Mobile is where people shop, look for jobs, get paid, carry content, share, bank and work. By investing in technology that brings your business mobile capabilities, for example, and allows your employees to work remotely, you create a refreshing change for your organization. You pare down your business processes and automate repetitive tasks resulting in a significant boost in productivity. According to the State of the American Workplace report, employees who work remotely more strongly agree that they make more daily progress compared to those who don’t.
By investing in a hot technological commodity such as cloud computing, you empower your employees to work and securely access their work data, even when they’re not even in the office. It also makes collaboration so much easier, allowing workers to tackle projects remotely and be on top of these even when they’re not together in the same room.
Gain a competitive edge. Perhaps one of the main driving forces for many companies to invest in high tech is the fact that it brings them an advantage against the competition. Technology has always been used this way, from the Industrial Age and even way before that. However, this isn’t just boasting about the bells and whistles. By investing in high tech, you will also be able to scale your business: do more, build more, produce more and deliver more. And this, of course, will lead to a more profitable bottom line.
For example, investing in technology that allows you to gain more insight into customer behavior opens a new world of possibilities. You’ll be able to look at your consumers in ways you hadn’t even thought of before, and therefore use that information in several ways, from product development to marketing strategies and more.
Get closer to your customers. Today, it’s normal for people to research a product or company extensively before making a buying decision. They’re also quick to air their opinions. In fact, one negative comment can easily go viral and bring a huge hit to your reputation.
By investing in technology, you’ll find more ways to interact with your customers on the same level, particularly through social media. You will make your brand more approachable and relevant to today’s times. For example, having a state-of-the-art feedback system that can also make it easy for customers to share their experiences on social media can allow you to market your products more effectively compared to traditional methods.
Furthermore, consumers are smart about technology and are interested in all things cutting edge. Therefore, investing in high tech allows you to be on the same page as your customers, which they will know, appreciate and support.
Speed up every aspect of the business. Investing in high tech creates a ripple effect that impacts every aspect of your business. For one, technology improves the speed at which we do things. You can automate certain operations and reduce the man-hours it takes to do what is otherwise labor-intensive work. Processes and tasks will be simplified and streamlined by adopting the right software or equipment in your operations.
With the emergence of apps for almost anything, you can easily and quickly perform complex tasks in just a few minutes, whereas your legacy systems may take hours or days—or even be incapable of doing the job.
From production to delivery to many back-end processes, you can speed up everything with the right technological upgrade. As a result, customers will also be happy because of your speed and efficiency, bringing a win-win situation that reflects well on your company.
Generate huge savings. While it’s true that investing in high tech requires considerable expense in terms of the upgrade itself and the training it may require, you will still end up saving more in the long run. With the right technological updates to your business, you will create savings in terms of time, manpower and resources. You’ll also decrease the losses that you may potentially suffer due to human error, inaccuracies, delays and redundancies.
For example, investing in a good expense-management program alone can help you save on paper and ink, small things that can add up through time and as you scale. You will also lessen the time it takes for your employees to create and approve expense reports and reimbursements. Expenses can be recorded and reported as they happen, putting time on your side. You’ll also enjoy greater accuracy, taking out the frustration brought by easily avoidable costs due to human errors.
The C-Suite following suit
Before you invest in any new technology, you must conduct a cold and objective analysis of your business. What does it need, and what challenges can be solved by procuring new systems or replacing legacy operations with more advanced options? How efficiently will you be able to deliver results? How much better will your products and services be? What are the real costs of this investment? These and other questions must be studied thoroughly before you invest in new and high technology.
Nevertheless, it goes without saying that advanced business solutions are here to stay, and the best way to be on top of the game and thrive in this ever-shifting business landscape is to ride the waves of technological change.