The Use of Technology for Business Growth

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke

We have spoken at length about customer service, websites, social media sites and information available on the internet. All these together can be put together as great use of technology and every business and person needs to invest in technology if they are to be socially competitive. There is no doubt that technology does incur cost but the opportunities created by the use of technology outweigh the costs. Most people tend to make the mistake of viewing the cost while making use of technology rather than looking at the benefits and this is despite knowing that a computer, email address and being active on at least one social media site has become essential. There is no denying that in every sphere of life we will find use of technology and it is each person’s and company’s responsibility to understand and appreciate this importance.

For making use of technology to the best possible advantage, companies must ascertain what they need, for what and the benefits they seek to gain from the technology they decide to use. From a customer service perspective, most technology is primarily aimed at gaining customer data, managing this data, reaching a larger target audience and maintaining cordial and workable business relationships. In addition, when companies have a hold on customer data, they know their customers and this makes it easier to provide enhanced service levels and customized products and services and also put the customers in the driver’s seat such that they feel involved and valued. From the company’s perspective use of technology drives improvement, streamlines day to day running, enhances efficiency and reduces costs and manual processes. When both customer service and internal operations are running smoothly as company is able to focus on enhancing business rather than being worried about the nitty-gritties of everyday processes. The smart use of technology allows companies to showcase themselves as the ideal employers and business partners, thus attracting the best employees and some key market players and partners.

 

The use of technology is a commitment and would involve some amount of monetary investment. It is only when companies are able to ascertain the immediate and long term benefits of technology, will they be happy in putting aside some percentage of their revenue for technology. A study reveals that industries spend between half to ten percentiles of their yearly revenue on technology – there is probably no right or wrong, but companies must ascertain if by being too low on the spends they are missing out or whether being too high they are spending more than they should. The balance and understanding must come from within the company – since in the current business environment it would seem tough for any company to survive without the use of technology.

 

Investing in a big ticket item like technology, companies should breakdown the costs of the overall investment they would be required to make initially and over time. The first cost would be in hiring a consultant to ascertain the company’s ‘technology needs’ and then investing in the hardware and software as suggested by them. Post investing in the technology recommended, the company would also need to hire staff to manage the technology and invest also in providing relevant training to them such that they are easily able to make the technology work to the maximum advantage of the company. These would constitute the upfront and immediate expenses for the company. On an on-going basis, just like with any process, there would costs for maintaining the systems and technology – both for licensing, proprietary status and continuous upgrades if and when required.

Companies must also ascertain how much other costs they would save – man-hours reduced (which are high due to processes managed manually), costs saved on losing business to competition or due to being slow in meeting customer demands and the costs of risks involved in maintaining manual records and operations. Even though, looking at all these factors is recommended, it would be appropriate to say that trying to run a sustainable and successful business in today’s day and age without the use of technology, seems like a futile exercise. The only questions seem to be how much to spend and which portions of technology to spend on. These questions are best answered by the individual company and it seems that most companies spend a maximum of their budget on infrastructure of the technology i.e. the actual computers, servers, and net service providers. We have all seen the stupendous growth of the internet and both companies and customers are conducting more and more business online and therefore it is highly detrimental for any company to not invest in technology and take advantage of the myriad opportunities it offers to expand their business and sky-rocket their profits.

The great part of technology is that there seems to be something for everyone – whether it is customer relationship management or simple on-line chats or the more multi-faceted and beneficial troubleshooting through decision trees. These are just a tiny portion of what technology has to offer. The use of technology for any company must be a fine balance – not too less such that there is no improvement in business and despite investing your customers and potential ones, are steadily moving in the direction of your competitors leaving you vulnerable. Also spending and putting in too much and very complex technology could frustrate your employees and also put your company in a situation where they are paying too much attention and investing too much time just understanding and maintaining the technology. The use of technology is aimed at simplifying life and adding to productivity – use it wrong and you could be doing just the opposite for your company. For example – from an individual perspective – an acquaintance was habituated to buy anything new that would hit the market – technology included. The same thing happened when a new but rather expensive device was ‘born’. This person spent huge amounts trying to be among the first persons to own it. It so turned out that despite all the effort and money, the device proved extremely complex and completely un-useable for this person. This was a valuable lesson and this person has now learnt to take time out to ascertain his requirement before buying any and everything.

 We discussed that it would be a great idea to hire a consultant to help you ascertain your company’s technology needs. This same consultant could also help with helping you set-up your systems, align your company’s operations to the systems and technology, provide training to the core team and be around to provide expertise and specialized service as and when the need arises. Hiring a consultant / expert also leaves you to focus on the core business of your company, while they come up with ingenious methods to make use of technology and propel your company forward. To be committed to technology, it is a good idea to have make investment in and the use of technology an integral part of your company’s business plan.

Every company needs to think innovatively and strategically if they need to remain competitive and this is true of any company in any line of business. In the light of these reasons, the use of technology has now acquired main-stage. It does not always have to be expensive or cumbersome – making the right enquiries and ascertaining the best use of technology for your company will ensure that your company will reach its goals and operate more smoothly for a long time.  Technology has been evolving and does not show signs of letting up – the prudent use of technology will help you keep pace and also showcase your brand and business to the world in more ways than one.

 

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