How Leveraging Technology Can Grow Your Business
Jim Collins points out some pretty interesting stuff about how some companies have transitioned into lucrative enterprises in his bestselling book Good to Great. Collins looked at a number of companies and explored how some managed to succeed over time and sustain this long-term growth. Many of these companies had good DNA built into them, getting them off on the right foot and propelling them into a lifetime of success.
Unfortunately, not all businesses are born with great DNA. Some struggle to take off right from the beginning, while others see a short period of success and then meet their demise. What Collins wanted to know was what these businesses could do to change their future and turn themselves from poor to good to great. What universal characteristics cause a business to follow this path?
Technology to Embrace
In the chapter title “Technology Accelerators,” Collins points out how businesses can lever technology to accelerate growth, bring innovation and better serve their operations. Leveraging technology can make the difference between being successful and falling flat.
There is no shortage of technology in the workplace, but a few key advances have helped organizations experience more growth within. Examples include:
SharePoint: Microsoft SharePoint optimizes communication, centralizes data, highlights key business metrics and facilitates collaboration between departments. Since all communications are in one place, they can be accessed any time and on any device.
Cloud Technology: Cloud technology like Dropbox or Zoolz saves money and enhances productivity. Cloud storage can be used for all types of documents including videoconferencing, email and calendars. It costs far less than buying and managing the software, and it allows people within an organization to have greater flexibility and mobility.
Customer Resource Management (CRM): CRM software is designed to track leads, manage prospects and drive the sales process. It helps increase sales while boosting the quality and effectiveness of customers.
Document Management System (DMS): A well-thought-out DMS increases efficiency, decreases storage costs and allows people to access documents quickly and efficiently. Having all documents stored in one central location also makes it possible to manage a large amount of content.
Human Resource Information System (HRIS): This online system is designed for HR departments to track employee progress, streamline communication and generate performance reviews. A system like this improves management operations and reduces overhead cost.
Reputation Management: Free and low-cost sites that can help grow your social media presence include Sprout Social and Crowdbooster. From one platform, everything from sharing content to building a community to listening to what is said about a brand can be accomplished.
Obviously, the list of technology advances that can be used in the workplace is extensive, and our list only includes the very basics. The most important aspect is that you’re open and willing to leverage technology where you see fit. Overlooking the importance of technology because you fear change or don’t want to learn something new will only hold your company back.
How to Leverage New Technology
Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take to ensure that your organization is leveraging technology well.
Know your business goals in advance. It’s not always easy to pinpoint your goals for the year ahead, but do your best. Envision where you want your company to be in a year from now and how technology can help you get there. Many small businesses start off with business objectives but lose sight of them as the year goes on because they get so caught up in payroll, invoices and more.
Share your goals with other departments. Make sure that the other departments in your organization is familiar with your goals. For instance, if your IT department is aware of your longer term goals, they can align their services to meet them.
Invest in innovation. To be successful, you’ll need to invest both time and money into innovation and look at it as an investment, not an expense. Although you’ll be spending more money today, it will help you save money in the long run. Schedule time to educate and understand how technology can boost your business.
Encourage a culture of change. Get your employees motivated to experiment with different types of technology, and make it a goal to implement at least one new technology monthly/quarterly/annually. You don’t want to overwhelm your employees, but you do want them to be eager and excited to try out new advances that will make their jobs simpler.
Leveraging technology is just one of the ways that you can take your business from good to great. Technology streamlines tasks, increases communication and boosts collaborative efforts, all things that generate success. It also makes things simpler and more time- and cost-effective. At the end of the day, it’s important to be open to technology and the rewards it can bring your business, even if you’re frequently on a learning curve.