CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, CISOs, CMOs, COOs, and CFOs spend trillions of dollars every year on digital technologies (Gartner tells us that technology spending in 2018 will reach to $3.7T, which signifies a growing increase of 4.5 percent by 2017). Where does this money go?
Here are the only 5 questions, managers and executives need to ask (and also the answers they need to receive) to make sure they are spending all that money in an ideal way. There's a great chance that you are spending too much cash on the wrong technology together with the incorrect sellers stuck previously -- and you need to know why.
5 Questions on Business Technology
- Who are the vendors helping us resolve the issues (and the ones not helping at all)?
- What are the business issues that technology is solving for us right now?
- Who within our organization is helping tech solve these problems (and who is not helping at all)?
- How are we measuring the return on the technology spending?
- What are we doing with Digital transformation (and the emerging technologies which enable DT)?
Who are the vendors helping us resolve the issues (and the ones not helping at all)?
It's always time to maintain your vendors' toes -- and penalties -- to the flame. This constant task is working one for businesses (such as yours) that outsource any, part or all its technology products and services. List both the operational and strategic sellers on your payroll. Examine the costs and advantages of each one. But do this strategically. As an instance, how quickly are you going your infrastructure and software services into the cloud? Assess your vendors' donations to a competitive data strategy. Which ones understand your company and technology architectures? Remove those that compete for the business if they're sleeping. They’re only mission is to boost revenue, not enhance your business. You're the last arbitrator of value, not your sellers. Be mindful not to abdicate responsibility to your own small business model and processes to vendors simply because they're "educated," glib or enjoyable. You must own the business technology strategy of your company. Actual seller "partnerships" are difficult to find. Do not forget that the marriages between you and your sellers are arranged and defined entirely by the dimensions of their dowry -- nothing more and nothing less.
What are the business issues that technology is solving for us right now?
The issue identifies operational and tactical problems. Operational problems are how too many executives establish as "technology" -- email, MS Office, ERP programs, networks, and laptops. While these all are necessary, they're not enough to technologies optimization. Strategic technology encourages manufacturing and distribution, finds clients, services customers and maximizes the whole product/service value series. While the trains need to run on time, they have to stop at the appropriate places. If you can't directly link operational or tactical technology spending to a specific issue, you are wasting money. In addition, you need efficiency. You will need to "rationalize" your entire technology stock each year. I guarantee you are updating and supporting 50 percent more software applications that you desire (or even use). You are also likely not spending on information, information integration, and data analytics. You need to be certain your networks, databases, and software -- all -- are secure. Hard questions about security (and solitude as GDPR extends to your company) must be requested daily: you are just one occasion from a significant fiscal disaster.
Who within our organization is helping tech solve these problems (and who is not helping at all)?
Can you have professionals with the perfect understanding, demeanor, and ambition to acquire and leverage digital technologies? Really? Who are they and why are they so special? Who would be the technical tech specialists who know the tactical technology well enough to develop your business? You will need professionals who see the tech world through functional, strategic and disruptive lenses. In addition, you need absolutely clear government structures and procedures. Who "owns" technology at your organization? Can it be a fundamental office of the CIO, or is ownership shared across your company units? Would you pride yourself on strict technology criteria, or do you "let" business units to explore the operational and tactical technologies that contribute the most to growth and profitability? The number of members of your staff deeply understand your business "domain name"? How many know the nature of digital transformation Can the staff understand the trajectory of the business and that electronic technology is changing almost quarterly?
The answers? Technology can't be owned by one central organization. Business models and processes change too fast. Centralized "IT" should only consist of plumbing. The rest should be strategically compatible with the pipes, however, acquired, deployed and supported by business models focused on traditional and (external and internal) disruptive competition. This usually means you have to assume the company model and processes that produce revenue and gain now will change dramatically over time (and occasionally over a very brief period of time). Technology is the newest fulcrum. track it, leverage it, fear it. When you have Luddites on your group, eliminate them. When you have executives and managers who need to control technology for undisclosed reasons, eliminate them from all governance teams. In case you have professionals feeble in either domain or technology expertise, replace them, and if you have professionals that understand very little about business and technology trends, replace them immediately. "Seek-and-destroy" technology cheapskates, skeptics, dilatants along with terrorists. They have no part to play in business enabled by -- and totally dependent upon-- functional and strategic technology.
How are we measuring the return on the technology spending?
To begin with, the easy answers. Reduce the number of software you have on your working and tactical technology portfolio. Make sure business unit strategic technology spending works with business operational technology spending. If it's not, you may pay handsomely for technologies to operate together: "technology integration" makes vendors richer. Employ some independent consultants -- none of your present technology vendors-- to create ROI models of operational and approach technology efficacy.
The metrics for the two classes are well known, such as the Number of safety breaches (for operational technology) and social websites advertising customer conversion speeds (for tactical technology). The metrics should be refreshed on a real-time dashboard for all to see. This project group should be handled as an "independent counsel" to the entire small business technology surroundings of your organization. No one having a vested financial interest in tech delivery should own any portion of it.
What are we doing with Digital transformation (and the emerging technologies which enable DT)?
How attentive are you to a conventional -- and disruptive -- opponents? Likely more the former than the latter because it's difficult to see what's coming from left field. So you concentrate on the competitors that you know, which is a massive mistake. Digital transformation (DT) is all about both types of opponents. It's a matter of how far you look into the future and the way encompassing your peripheral vision would be. Some of you will look to another quarter, although others will seem a few years out. Where do you sit on the DT spectrum?
The very first step is simulating current procedures followed by simulated models of future processes. What will these procedures tell you? Locate the ineffective processes, simulate new ones and then pilot the digital technologies most likely to enable the improved processes. Managers, executives, and other stakeholders should require quarterly upgrades on DT jobs, programs, successes, and failures, which necessitates piloting emerging technology-enabled procedures and at times even whole business versions.
You need to have at least the next emerging technologies in your listing:
- Internet-of-Things (IOT)
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning
- Virtual/Augmented Reality
- CybersecuritySecurity & Privacy
- Business & Robotic Process Automation
- Augmented Analytics
There you have it 5 questions (with sub-questions and answers) which will permit you to make a few tough and rewarding decisions about digital technologies. You are spending too much cash on the incorrect technology together with the wrong sellers stuck in the past. It is possible to save and make tons of money by creating evidence-based decisions about the acquisition, deployment, and support of operational, tactical and emerging digital technology. But be certain to just ask those who have absolutely no vested interest in the questions that you should pose daily.
The ROI advisors you employ must be compensated for their services using a healthy percentage of their fees calculated by how much cash you save/make from their guidance. If they are unwilling to risk some of their charges against their own performance, find a few other consultants -- and keep requesting the 5 questions raised here. Good Luck!