Do you have the right procedures—documented processes—in place for technology to drive your business success? Maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy. Here’s why.
Technology has advanced to the point where businesses cannot viably sustain themselves without it. From a management perspective, efficient and proactive use of technology is crucial to the longevity and growth of your business. Working toward the mark of success does not happen overnight—it takes planning, making the right decisions, and putting the right processes in place to enhance team culture. Although you need technology, the first step is knowing why you need that technology and how it works within your organization to increase productivity and efficiency.
It all starts with documented processes. For many organizations, technology is a fundamental resource that is, in most cases, the expected way of conducting business.
Most companies use tactical decision-making when considering I.T., when it would be more effective to develop a more strategic approach. Several factors are at work when considering strategic and operational benefits. These include:
- Capabilities of the technology
- The economics and efficiencies of acquiring, deploying, and maintaining the technology (applications, services, and infrastructure)
- Skills and abilities available to design and implement these applications
- Skills and abilities within the organization to use these applications
- Capabilities to effectively manage any organizational changes due to the technology being used
- Pressures to improve performance or adapting to any changing circumstances such as regulatory issues
What is the solution?
Knowing where you currently are and where the business needs to go is the first step. Having an outside consultant assist in documenting processes to determine your path and attain your goals is key. C-level leaders usually look at I.T. in relative terms, such as how can this technology help us increase the bottom line? A more practical approach would be aligning technology to your business goals for effective growth. As I.T. continues to drive the way companies operate, understanding how this function operates, affects your business, and affects your role is crucial.
Adopting a strategic mindset
Most functions of a C-level executive involve strategy. In most cases, that strategy does not involve the I.T. function. Implementing documented process improvement strategies is a step in the right direction, but what types of process do you currently use?
Here are a few additional questions to consider:
- Are your documented processes proactive, or reactive?
- Are your I.T. objectives designed to provide sustainability and growth over the long term?
- When was the last time you or your team conducted a technology audit?
- Is there a process in place that monitors this? How do you know you are within regulation for your industry?
All of these questions are part of critical organizational competencies and processes that drive process improvement, and culture transformation for effective and sustainable change.
Being proactive vs reactive
Many top-level executives take the lackadaisical approach when it comes to their I.T. function. A typical mindset is: When things go wrong, we’ll fix it. This essentially means you’re waiting for issues to occur, which is a loss of time and money. Here are a few reasons why it’s better to be proactive than reactive:
When your technology fails, you lose productivity in a number of ways. What if your server or system is down for a few hours, or even an entire day? You can’t service your customers, you don’t have a back-up system in place, and you miss important deadlines. All the while, your employees are unable to work effectively, or at least efficiently. For many organizations, this could cost millions.
Being proactive helps you save money. Your team is able to detect any potential issues, and prevent them before they occur. There are always warning signs, but if you don’t have the systems or processes in place to detect those issues, it could cost you more than you are willing to admit.
The goal is to create and maintain a business model that is scalable and can grow. You want the business to increase profits and grow revenue, while avoiding increased costs. This begins with ensuring your technology is stable, secure, and scalable. By having a plan—documented processes!—in place to select, implement, and maintain the right platforms, you will poise the business for success.
Four main areas impact this function:
As a top-level executive, you may not view security of your technology as an integral part of your business foundation. Security is a high-priority process that should not be ignored. Would you invest $50,000 to avoid a cyberattack that could cost millions, or would you rather invest that $50,000 for a chance to make $200,000 in revenue? While the $200,000 seems to be a good investment, taking the risk of not having security processes in place would be more costly. Can you afford to take that risk?
As technology drives business, having a system that deters customers is a recipe for failure. Your infrastructure must be “on” at all times.
One of the main objectives of the business should be to grow. This requires an infrastructure that will be able to accommodate new demands in a scalable digital infrastructure. You must be prepared for the impact of growth, which requires proper planning and the right processes in place and properly documented
Security, stability, and scalability are all critical, integral processes, but maintaining longevity is the key. Will you be able to sustain these long-term? Do you have an I.T. plan in place?
Technology and digital businesses are fluid, with constant traffic fluctuations. Your infrastructure in this digital environment must be the foundation on which to build a successful business. The integrity of this foundation must be stable, with functionality for internal and external customers. It should be able to respond to new demands, and must be able to sustain these changes over extended periods of time.
These are the elements of your core business. How can you transform the business through documented processes that are efficient and effective? Start with a workshop from an outside analyst.
Why an outside analyst?
An outside analyst can come into your organization with one goal in mind: getting your management team up to speed. For executives that do not understand how important the I.T. role is to the organization, this will provide insight that will help protect the business as they learn.
An outside analyst will evaluate your current processes, business culture, and decision-making strategies to determine the key areas where you need assistance, helping to shift the current mindset to one of growth and opportunity with technology as the driving force. Internal management is too close to the company, so they may not have an objective view of what is really needed to create documented processes and a culture that works.
Knowing how your technology plays a role in the current business structure, restructuring current processes, implementing best practices, and adhering to all regulatory guidelines makes a difference in making decisions on technology that runs efficiently and is scalable for the future and long-term success.
Additional information about process documentation and business leadership is available in a free whitepaper: The C-level leader and technology.