Likely all entrepreneurs, leaders and managers believe that they have the right ideas and vision and that they correctly understand their business ecosystem. But as I often point out, the overwhelming influx of a technology can sometimes be so sudden that it’s basically impossible to plan for all effects and identify the impact on your business model. There’s no magic bullet, but consider this short list of questions to ask yourself in order to grasp if you’re in good shape to weather the challenges of a sudden transformation in your business ecosystem.
1. Do you have the right mindset?
First and foremost, you need to view technology as the greatest and most powerful driver of innovation for your business. Having the right mindset means quickly and continuously adapting to new technology. Think about the future, but also about your organization’s present, as the transition is already well underway. You definitely need the right mindset if you want the sharp reflexes and keen intuition needed to implement new technology at the right time and place for your organization!
2. Are your employees digitally literate?
Did you know that 64% of businesses say their employees don’t have the skills needed to carry out their digital transformation? This has all been well documented, and you can easily find some great articles on the subject, but there’s one key thing to remember: the more informed and familiar your employees are with new technology and digital innovation, the easier it will be to accelerate the changes and transformation you want to create. If you work in recruiting, you should hire people who believe in the potential of new technology and advocate its implementation (assuming they’re qualified, of course).
3. Does your software infrastructure let you amass all the data needed for your business?
In 2020, your equipment is no longer the foundation on which your business rests, and this is increasingly true of your workforce as well. Instead, businesses are more and more dependent on their internal systems and databases. This is why it’s so important to keep these tools in top‑notch shape and to ensure your data is as clean as possible. Without a solid technological foundation, it’s basically impossible to stay up to date or keep up with your competitors when it comes to integrating new technologies.
4. Do you see technological innovation as an ongoing process?
If you said no, then you don’t see how important it is to steadily and continually invest in your company’s digital transformation. You need to stop seeing innovation as compulsory, as a tiresome roadblock you have to overcome or as a project that may require great effort, but only so you can be free from having to think about it for a while. Ongoing innovation reframes things so that you are consistently moving forward on multiple minor tech projects at the same time, looking to garner medium- and long-term benefits rather than always seeking out the shock and awe of a fast and easy gain.
5. Do you feel as though you’re lacking all of the data you need to make the best possible decisions?
Reliable data is now an absolute must for organizations to make informed decisions. It’s not enough anymore to skate by on flair and experience. Events move too quickly now, and a poor decision can cost you significant market share or bring about a decline in revenue that will be hard to reverse. For the majority of the organizations of the future, management will be wholly based on decisions directly related to business, market and economic data, among others. Every business should be fully cognizant of the incredible potential of the data they have at hand and of the fact that today’s leading organizations have already taken the plunge to become data-driven companies.
6. Do you invest at least 3% of your revenue in technology each year?
The best representation of this approach is that you no doubt have a minimum amount you invest in training your employees every year. In today’s era of technology, you should see annual investment in innovation as a key element of survival and essential to keeping your business competitive. It would be a mistake to see this as a one-off investment and to underestimate its medium- and long-term impact on your business model.
7. Does everyone in your organization know that you want to be a digital leader?
This is one of the oldest management principles I know, yet one that is to my surprise quite often neglected by the senior management of many companies. If you want to prioritize the digital transformation of your business processes and synergize your people and technology, you need to keep your company abreast of developments and hammer home the message as often as necessary. It’s true that adopting a status quo approach is easier and more comfortable in the immediate term, but it will cost you so much in the medium and long term that it simply isn’t an option. So get going, transform your business and take heed of technologies before they become the industry standard. If you wait too long, you might end up too far behind to catch up!