fb pixel

Aligning Your Technology with Your Company’s Industry

You read an article about a competitor making a massive technology investment. You can’t help but wonder, “Are we doing everything with technology that we should?”

If your inbox looks like mine, then it’s a constant barrage of sales emails for the latest software, tech innovation, and promises of transformation. It’s hard enough sorting through the noise as a technology professional; for nontechnical business leaders it’s even more challenging.  Regardless, as a leader, it is your responsibility to make sure your organization leverages technology effectively. But how?

Especially because innovation continues to accelerate! And AI is about to make that acceleration much, much faster.  If it’s been hard before, get ready for blistering speed.

What to do?

The key is keeping up to date with the innovations that impact your industry, specifically.

Start with a goal: how close to the “bleeding edge” do you need to be?  Does your business model require you to be a constant innovator? Is your industry in the process of being disrupted? Most businesses should strive to be in the top 35% of business when it comes to leveraging technology. It’s risky to be in the bottom 50%.  Being in the top 10% is well worth it for some but will require extra investment and attention.

Build Internal Competence

Set an expectation that every business leader keeps a pulse on the industry and bring creative technology ideas to the leadership team.

Develop the internal competence, across departments, to maintain awareness of the technology innovation that is unique to your industry.  This requires multiple people with clear responsibility.

You can outsource pieces of a technology team, like systems, security, and support (that’s what Mainstay is here for!). But you can’t outsource all the strategy behind the way technology integrates with all business processes.

A healthy organization has a board that is aware of the importance of technology, executives who understand technology-integration as strategy, department heads who champion technology for their area of the business, and IT leadership that draws it all together. 

This is a whole-organization competence that only grows in importance each year.  Larger companies (typically over 300 people, or smaller but with a heavy tech reliance), may have a dedicated business technology leader (separate from the direct IT leader) who oversees the software, business, and technology integration.

Systematically Stay Informed

We recommend every organization create a systematic approach to keeping up with the technology innovations in their industry:

Build an informal peer group

Identify and build relationships with 6 peers with whom you can share technology recommendations.

Attend Conferences

Find the top 2 conferences in your space and ensure business leaders are attending and spending time with the vendors.

Explore software

Identify the types of software and the leading vendors in the space. Take demos regularly. Expect department heads to be regularly taking demos! And subscribe to newsletters from these companies, even if you don’t buy, as a way to stay informed.

Educate yourself

Find any books, podcasts, or YouTube videos that help educate you on concepts that are important. Is ChatGPT likely to disrupt your industry? Then make sure you understand it well, using common podcasts and books to help.

Engage consultants

When helpful, identify and work with an industry-specific consultant. Business consultants are most effective when they specialize in a type of software you need (like helping you select a CRM), or in your specific industry (helping you select and design the technology software that runs the business). Don’t be afraid to work with a software consultant nationwide – niche expertise is vitally important.

How Mainstay Can Help

Mainstay ensures our clients have the IT department they’ve always wanted – one that inspires trust and is enjoyable to work with – but that’s only part of the story of technology in the business. Outsourcing IT helps our clients focus their attention on the overall integration of technology in their business. 

With fast-evolving AI, that attention is more important than ever.

If you need a partner to handle the systems, support, and security that you need for a strong IT base, please consider having a conversation with us. Mainstay has brought clarity and confidence to hundreds of leaders like yourself, whether it’s through an assessment, through ongoing services, or through a simple meeting. Contact us!