One of the best executive coaches in the world, Marshall Goldsmith, once wrote, “What got you here won’t get you there.” While Marshall was referring to your leadership skill set, these words apply to many aspects of business and life. When I speak to leaders focused on driving growth for their businesses, they share that this is true of their underlying technology in their enterprises as well.
As businesses grow from plateau to plateau, the technology (IT) that got you here, won’t get you there either. I hear many common symptoms of this challenge that may ring true with you. If any of this sounds like you, now is the time to holistically address these obstacles with a clear strategy. IT should be viewed as a strategic weapon, an awesome strength of your business that propels growth, not hinder it. Helping clients with this challenge is what we’ve done every day for the past 15 years.
Is this you?
- Nothing works together. Customer relationship management, financials, payroll, billing, HR/recruiting, legal/contracts, mobile apps, collaboration, document management, marketing automation. You have it all—but nothing works together. Analyzing anything—client revenue, margin trends, inventories, staffing levels, utilization, account costs, buying habits, seasonality, demand signals—all of it takes a herculean spreadsheet effort to assemble.
Solution: develop a technology blueprint that supports your business strategy.
- No one is driving a technology vision that supports the company strategy. The IT people we have fix laptops, manage the network, deploy new licenses, help users with issues, rollout upgrades, execute projects requested by the executive team, and react to problems. No one is truly, proactively, driving a vision for technology that enables the business strategy and growth plan.
Solution: develop the IT organization model, skill set requirements, and install new leadership.
- Processes for IT are informal.We meet once a month to review what “projects” IT is working on, and we constantly adjust priorities. Demand for IT work, new projects, or new technologies arise every day, and we have no proper vetting process. Demand for IT floods in from all across the business. We don’t have business leadership agreement on what IT should work on. We don’t have a clear menu of services IT provides. We are unclear of our return on IT investments. What’s more, we’re not clear on how much we should be spending on IT.
Solution: leverage IT Service Management (ITSM) best practices as a guide to deploy new processes and change.
- Technology purchasing decisions are disconnected.Sales wanted Salesforce, finance wanted Dynamix, engineering wanted Slack, and a group in Chicago started using Yammer. The products team built an application to enable clients to place orders. We have a team looking into switching mail over to Google. We have no standard for video or web sharing. The executive team is having lengthy discussions about what ERP or e-commerce platform to use.
Solution: implement IT governance and PMO best practices.
- Technology is holding you back.We are not providing the tools that are expected by millennials. We don’t have simplified workflows. We are not an easy company to do business with (e.g., online contract signatures). We do not have elegant employee empowerment applications on mobile. We don’t have the decision tools at the executive level to continue to make good decisions. We don’t have enough analytics to drive new revenue opportunities. We are forcing employees to do lots of busy administrative work because of technology gaps.
Solution: perform a 360-degree IT assessment to identify problem areas and new opportunities.
Don’t wait to resolve the challenges above. Call Wavestone US today to help develop your strategy and implement the solutions noted above.
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