In his seminal book Good to Great, author Jim Collins outlined seven characteristics of companies that transitioned from merely “good” to truly “great.” In the chapter titled “Technology Accelerators”, Collins outlines how leveraging technology can accelerate growth, bring innovation, and serve the business better.
What do we mean by leveraging technology?
The word “leverage” is defined as the exertion of force by means of a lever. When we speak of “leveraging technology”, we are referring to the use of technology to make significant changes in a business. When an organization harnesses the power of technology, the investments pay off in an exponential return. Intentionally leveraging technology can be the difference between a struggling business and a stable one; between a flat business and a growing one; between a standard organization and an exceptional one. As Archimedes famously said “Give me a lever long enough…and I shall move the world.” As an IT provider, we seek to bring knowledge of these forces to our clients, giving them every opportunity to leverage technology in their organization..
Exactly how does technology accelerate growth within an organization?
Here are just a few examples of leverage at work: .
- SharePoint – Microsoft SharePoint functions as an intranet to optimize communication, increase transparency between departments, highlight important business metrics, and centralize data. Now your company communications are accessible from anywhere, on any device.
- Human Resource Information System (HRIS) – This is an online system for human resources to track employee progress, manage performance reviews, optimize communication, and streamline human capital development. Implement an HRIS to improve management systems and reduce overhead costs.
- Document Management System (DMS) – A centralized repository used to manage the creation, storage, retrieval, and expiry of a large amount of document content. A well-designed DMS will increase efficiencies, decrease storage costs, offer transparency, and enable individuals to find and share information easily.
- Custom applications – With a custom application, you can automate a manual process often done in Word or Excel, or you can develop software around a niche or function that highlights your unique value proposition. Custom applications often provide dramatic opportunities that save time and costs.
- Customer Resource Management (CRM) – Companies like SalesForce or Microsoft (Dynamics CRM) design software programs to track leads, manage pipelines, get intelligence on sales cycles, manage quotas, and drive the sales process. This can help increase sales and improve customer acquisition efficiencies, while increasing customer management quality and effectiveness.
What can you do to ensure your organization is leveraging technology well?
- Know your business goals for the year ahead – Define 3 key elements you must master to hit your goals.
- Seek strategic alignment with your IT partner – Make sure your IT team knows about your organizational strategy so they can create a strategic plan around those business goals.
- Dedicate the time to seek innovation – We encourage our clients to schedule time to work with us on an intentional process to educate, understand, and plan how specific technology can accelerate their growth.
- Encourage a culture of change and ideas – It takes focus and attention to create and maintain an organizational culture that seeks out technology opportunities and embraces the resulting change. When you make the commitment to implement at least one new use of technology (monthly/quarterly/annually), the opportunities that result are endless! We also encourage clients to set a reasonable pace of adoption – keep consistent momentum and deploy new innovations in such a way as to not overwhelm the organization.
- Track the progress and stay open – Examine the business results of any new implementation, and seek data on the changes. Evaluate the return on investment, track progress, and continue to seek the next opportunity.
Technology innovation is occurring at an exponential pace – faster and faster. Be intentional about leveraging technology, and your organization will not only enact change today but also prepare for the years ahead!