The age of technology isn’t just upon us, it’s already showing up in our rearview mirror. Unfortunately, there are still companies who don’t feel that way, insisting that they’re manufacturing companies, healthcare providers, retail businesses, or other entities that uses technology to compliment what they already do.
Wrong, wrote Forbes writer Joe McKendrick, after analyzing an EY Technology and Mergers Acquisition report. “With the rise of cloud, Software as a Service, and now, the Internet of Things (IoT), more organizations–in all types of businesses–recognize they are evolving into technology and data companies,” McKendrick wrote, “so they are creating both strategic and tactical partnerships to try to make the most of this evolution.”
Alan Murray, also a writer for Fortune, agrees. “In today’s economy almost every big company … is on a journey of digital transformation. Cloud and mobile computing, ubiquitous sensors producing endless streams of data, and ever more intelligent algorithms have created the potential to transform nearly every aspect of nearly every business,” Murray wrote. “Getting ahead in the digital journey can lead to outsize success … . Falling behind, in a race with winner-take-most dynamics, can cause fatal disruption.”
In an article for Techcrunch.com, S. Somasegar, managing director at Madrona Venture Group, and Daniel Li, an investor with Madrona Venture Group, write that the question isn’t which successful companies are using technology but instead, which technology companies are going to be successful in other fields of business?
Somasegar and Li outline five ways companies can rethink how they do business in a technology-first world:
-Change must come from the top: “The level of engagement and investment to lead a successful transformation requires the CEO and board of directors to not only be fully bought in but to be the main drivers of the change,” Somasegar and Li wrote.
-Talent is the key asset of a technology company. Equipment is rentable and servers are plentiful. What isn’t always readily available is talent. Somasegar and Li stress hiring the best and the brightest in the tech field to help your company thrive.
-Place technology at the company’s core: No longer relegated to the space next to the freight elevators or an occasional seat at the conference room table, Somasegar and Li say technology must be at the center of each company’s mission and operation, meaning all employees must see the value in technology so they can have an honest buy-in into the new culture.
-Move fast and keep moving: Don’t wait for someone else to develop the software that will define your industry. Be quick, take smart risks and be prepared to eliminate or evolve the programs that aren’t working.
-Keep looking forward: Somasegar and Li Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma when pointing out the pitfalls faced by traditional companies. “Businesses can reject innovations based on customers’ current needs while innovative upstarts develop products in a way that meets customers’ future needs,” they wrote.
In other words, companies should keep working toward new technology without the added burden of making sure that they’re current customers are being served. Those two responsibilities fall squarely into two camps, and smart businesses know that the nuts and bolts of dealing with the here and now are completely separate from making plans to success in the future.