Establishing a Competitive Advantage with Technologies

Leverage Technology & Transform Your BusinessAre you using technology to help you compete, to propel your business forward, to increase your profits?

Do you get that we’re going through a paradigm shift with numerous converging technologies?

Remember the buggy whip?
Manufacturers of buggy whips thought they had it made –
EVERYBODY needed a buggy whip.
Times were good for the buggy whip makers.
Then cars came along….

Consider the dramatic changes wrought through all facets of western civilization by the Industrial Revolution. What’s happening now will be as significant and impactful as that paradigm shift.

Are you ready for the change?

Are you leveraging technologies – or is it business as usual? Those who leverage technology well – engage in meaningful ways with their customers, utilize cloud services, manage projects well, and ensure their IT is aligned – are better positioned to compete and win.

There are so many tools available now, cloud services, software-as-a-service, mobile, social media, and open source technologies that can all be leveraged:

  • Website platforms can now incorporate blogging and social media outreach – and many of them are free. Blogging is now a standard practice for smart companies who realize that their company blog is their sales brochure.
  • Social media tools are inexpensive and scalable for small to large firms. More of the global 1000 are using Twitter than sites like Facebook. And recruiters everywhere are more and more using Linkedin.
  • Open source platforms and tools support custom application development in ways never before affordable – or possible.
  • Mobile application development and needing one’s website to be mobile-literate (or, in some cases, having a mobile version of one’s site) is a major trend that one ignores at one’s own peril.
  • Cloud services are now available to help even small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) compete more effectively with larger firms.
  • Software services such as Google Apps, Salesforce, and some newer multi-platform apps like Evernote are changing the way business is done – and there’s more each month that’s transforming the way one can do business.
  • Retailers who understand how to recognize their customers – and sell TO their customers in the ways their customers like to buy – will enjoy a competitive advantage.
  • Computers are only tools – and the less we see of the computer – and the more we see of what we need, the better for all.
  • Printing is going to be a huge change soon also, along with other types of computing devices (as I write this, Google Glasses are all the rage)…. with far-reaching implications.

So how are you leveraging technologies to help drive the top line while containing costs?

  • Are you still building server rooms? Why? Can you afford to ignore being better off having it professionally hosted, network security managed and monitored, and having all patches and upgrades professionally handled?
  • Are you still installing and maintaining plain old legacy telephone systems – and not moving forward into the world of VoIP and converged services?  This is not new!
  • Are you still making major investments in SANs or other huge data storage units for local storage – when you might just use a cloud storage provider at hugely lower costs, which would also provide you with offsite storage and disaster recovery?

Are you keeping up on the disruptive technologies – seeing how you might leverage some of those technologies so as to ensure that your business model won’t become irrelevant in 18 months?

  • Witness Google’s Wallet, using NFC and reader devices to securely enable paying via credit or debit card for transactions with one’s phone: What do you think last year’s lawsuit from Paypal against Google was all about? It’s about Paypal being at risk of irrelevance – regardless of the allegations of trade secrets being divulged by a Paypal ex-employee.
  • Paypal has pushed hard on its mobile payments platform, so as of this writing (updated 7/2012), they’re enjoying 56% market share per IDC study of all mobile payments in US.  That’s ahead of Apple’s iTunes and Amazon.
  • Witness RIM playing catchup with the Blackberry: Once the predominant force in smartphones, now they’re in deep trouble with the disruptive technologies widely adopted by more and more users: Apple with its iPhone and Google with its Android – the Android OS that’s on millions of smartphones, adopted by many smartphone companies globally.
  • Witness data storage providers like EMC who are now behind the times as small startups leverage virtual cloud data storage – more flexible, easier to use, scalable, less costly – are passing the big guys by.
And what about social media, video, customer engagement, fostering relationships? Is your business leveraging the social media tools available on the internet to foster engagement, extend your brand, listen to customers, enhance product development?
Social media has been instrumental in some amazing world events – and you think it won’t impact your business? How much are you spending on in-house technologies – have you done an analysis on whether it would be cost effective to use more cloud services?

Leverage technology to compete and remain relevant. It’s a key differentiator – and the smart and fast can win.