When I talk to business leaders who need help with their company’s technology challenges, there’s a question I hear frequently: “What’s the difference between the companies that struggle with their technology versus the companies that have a high-performing technology organization?”
Of course for an issue this complex, there can be many contributing factors to consider. However, one of the most crucial things for business leaders to examine about their organizations is whether they are strategic or scattered with their technology. Most leaders don’t intend to be scattered, but it’s unfortunately common in today’s business environment, and the impact can be severe.
What causes a company to become scattered?
With so many cloud technology offerings available these days, it’s easy for silo-focused leaders within a company to sign up for a cloud software without coordinating with their I.T. organization or other technology initiatives. While that offering may be a fit for their department and seem okay within their “silo,” it may not integrate well with the other technology systems and investments within the company, and it may not be the right fit for the overall company. This issue is compounded as other departments also take this silo approach. Over time, the company’s technologies become more and more scattered.
Cloud solutions can be a great option, but they should fit within the company’s overall strategic technology plan and architecture. The organization must have a strategic master technology plan and know in advance how the pieces will fit together. Attempting to retrofit a bunch of disparate technologies after adoption can be very expensive and chaotic.
What are some common signs of a scattered technological organization?
I.T. costs continue to increase, but I.T. service and satisfaction declines.
Lack of a comprehensive technology strategy and roadmap.
I.T. is not agile and can’t keep up with the pace of your company. I.T organization is reactive and tends to be “order-takers” instead of strategic leaders and enablers.
Data silos: the reports that executives see don’t paint an accurate, unified picture.
Cybersecurity issues and other potential technology risks: scattered technologies often inadvertently cause cybersecurity gaps and other lurking threats to the business.
The Amazon example
Amazon has been very disciplined and strategic with their technology investments and has thoughtfully leveraged their superior, strategic model for a significant competitive advantage. Not only does Amazon leverage this competitive advantage in their retail business, they have also made their technology organization (AWS) one of their most lucrative businesses. When a technology strategy is properly executed it can be very powerful. But when your technologies are scattered, the results can be disastrous.
How do you fix it?
The following are some tips for getting things back on the right track:
An unbiased catalyst
The same people that created the scattered environment aren’t the right ones to diagnose and fix it. You need an independent, unbiased expert to help your company properly assess the current state, help you plan the proper target state, and serve as a catalyst to help your organization execute the proper actions for a timely transformation.
The right expert
Don’t engage a career consultant; engage an expert that has hands-on working experience and proven results. You don’t need consulting theories— you need results.
The right relationship
The expertise and relationship are far more important than the firm’s size. While big firms may have a lot of people, you probably don’t need an army— nor does your budget. Instead, look for the best proven expert for your specific needs that has track record of successfully helping companies like yours.
Have an independent technology review performed
It will help assess your current state, opportunities for improvement, and the right roadmap to achieve success.
Is your company’s technology strategic or scattered? If you have questions or concerns, take the right actions now to get your company on the right track.