Article originally provided to and featured by the Business Bank of Texas: www.businessbankoftexas.com/business-resource-center/10-signs-that-you-need-to-evaluate-your-business-information-technology?utm_campaign=Q1%202017-%20BRC%20Business%20Owner&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=67812255&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_3Ijyjrn7y_qXbKbV9nfknJH98Uz-NKoASCvR6Zu4MyMrI0XUZWH_IZaqu_AzHAYsZ8-r8zfcO4AlltGdjhgkODIE6og&_hsmi=67812255
Technology plays a key role in every modern business. If it’s been a while since you’ve assessed your business’ information technology practices, there’s never been a more crucial moment to get up to speed. Digital transformation continues to reshape the business landscape, meaning digital leaders will capture new market share and laggards will struggle to gain traction.
While cutting-edge technology can provide significant business advantages, it can also pose serious risks. Whether it’s due to a breach from inadequate cybersecurity or missed opportunities from an obsolete solution, the results of an unexamined information technology program can be devastating. Furthermore, when your technological solutions are down or inaccessible, you not only risk lost profits, but lost customer confidence as well.
If it’s been a while since you’ve had a comprehensive, independent evaluation of your company’s information technology, there are most likely many issues that you’re not even aware of. Here are some signs that it’s time to assess your information technology (I.T.):
This article is the fourth and final part of a series on the technological challenges business owners face in 2018. In past articles, we’ve looked at cybersecurity measures, getting ahead of the technology skills shortage, and building agility into processes. Today we’ll look at how businesses can incorporate smart processes with technological solutions, or to put it simply: digital transformation.
In order to improve operations and deliver more value to customers, businesses need to effectively integrate the right technologies. All too often, company leaders are lulled into thinking they can maintain the status quo and continue to perform well. But recent history is full of examples of companies that fell into this mindset; by the time they finally responded, it was too late.
Times have changed. The age of digital transformation rewards early adopters (and a few super-fast followers), leaving others to play catch-up and struggle to survive.
A recent cautionary tale
For an example of how digital transformation affects businesses, let’s look at the retail industry. Years ago, local family-owned retail stores dominated most of the market. Then Walmart came along; their “just in time” inventory system facilitated lower prices and an ever-growing network of stores. They looked unstoppable… but along came Amazon. Though at first it seemed like just an online bookstore, Amazon had ambitions of expansion and a well-thought-out digital transformation plan.
As a result, the once-dominant Walmart has been significantly impacted, and has closed stores across the country. In this instance, Walmart has been relegated to the role of “superfast follower.” In an effort to compete, Walmart purchased online retail startup Jet.com and revamped their leadership team to fast-track their plans to catch up to Amazon.
Amazon’s digital transformation has changed the way the retail industry works, and they’ve left big-box retail stores struggling to stay above water. All it takes is a look around the empty shopping malls and shuttered outlet malls to see the impact of digital transformation on the retail industry as a whole.
How to stay ahead
Which role will your business play: the digital transformation early adopter, or the straggler? What should you do now to make sure you are in the right market position?
The following recommendations should help you get on the right track:
Identify and acquire the required resources
To win the digital transformation game, you need to have the right tools and team for success. Assess your ability to execute your digital plan with the resources you currently have. Typically, the technological solutions that brought you to this point won’t be the same ones that will drive your future success.
You also need to determine whether your current internal resources can continue to run the day-to-day aspects of the business while effectively driving your digital transformation. Engage a seasoned advisor who can provide an unbiased review of your current systems, identify opportunities, and drive timely execution. Digital transformation is a new concept for most people, and many companies struggle to figure it out on their own. The right advisor can help your company avoid missteps on the road to a timely and successful outcome.
The Right Plan
Some companies mistakenly think that implementing a new ERP, CRM, or financial system is the extent of digital transformation. While those tools may be a piece of the overall plan, they’re far from the full potential a digital transformation can offer. True transformation involves internal processes, customer experience, delivery of services and products— essentially the full continuum of your business. Make sure your digital transformation leaders understand the difference and are prepared to serve as change catalysts. That means challenging traditional thinking and identifying needs, gaps, and opportunities.
Act and execute like your future is counting on it… because it is. Amazon didn’t gain their advantage in the retail industry by merely crafting a great plan; they also executed the plan in a more timely and more effective manner than their competitors. Innovation and business opportunities have a window of opportunity. Take action now, start fast, and execute to win this race.
Below is a graph illustrating how the list of the world's largest companies by market cap has changed in just the past 15 years.
It's interesting to note that only 1 of the top 5 from 2001 is still in the top 5.
If you go back to 1955, the top 10 list includes General Motors, US Steel, Chrysler, Amoco, CBS, Goodyear, Firestone... and NONE of the these companies make even the top 20 list today.
We live in a rapidly changing world. So, why do once thriving companies fall from their market position?
1. The Status Quo: Company leaders get too comfortable with the status quo. I have frequently heard company leaders state "this is the way we have always done it in this company". Well, that may be, but eventually someone with a more progressive view will change it. For example, Kodak failed to transform their business to digital in a timely manner, Kodak's market dominance in camera film lulled them into ignoring the market shift. By the time they finally acted, their competitors had captured the new digital market and Kodak was no longer a top contender in the new digital camera/film market.
2. Narrow Perspective: Company leaders often rely on just their fellow company leaders and people in their same market for guidance. While it is comfortable to talk with people that think like you and have the same perspective as you, it is also a risk. You need to a broader view to consider all the factors and fresh new options. Business leaders should engage experts from outside their comfort zone to get a broader view and progressive ideas. If you don't, a competitor will.
3. Change: Once you determine your plan of action, it must be executed in a timely manner. Often companies talk about change and progressive ideas, but fail to fully execute. Do you have the right "Change Catalysts" on your team?
Whether you are a market-leading, multi-billion dollar company or a small company, these business principles apply. Currently, Digital Transformation is reshaping every industry. How is your digital transformation going? Will your business be gaining market share or loosing during these rapidly changing times?
Invest in the right Thought Leaders and Change Catalysts to help you craft your company's future.
Market-leading companies fully leverage and optimize technology to improve their operations and deliver more value to their customers. When your technology fails, you’re not only losing profits, you’re also losing customer confidence. Businesses are currently in a Digital Transformation race that rewards the first movers and most agile, and leaves the others playing catch-up to survive. Inadequate cybersecurity can expose sensitive information and put your business at risk. If it’s been a while since you’ve evaluated your company’s technology, most likely there are many issues that you’re not even aware of.
The following are signs that it’s time for an independent review of your Information Technology (“I.T.”) organization:
If you observe any of these signs, it's time for an Information Technology assessment.
Xtrii performs comprehensive, cost-effective technology assessments that are conducted by proven technology experts that have helped some of the world's best companies achieve extraordinary success.
The following is a written transcript of an interview of Mark Johnson, Chief Executive of Xtrii, conducted by Exec Tech.
In addition to providing business technology guidance to companies, I’m often asked which personal technologies are the best. As we wrap up 2017, I'm sharing my best of 2017 recommendations in this series of articles. While many technology magazines provide their recommendations for the best technology, their opinions are typically formed in their lab and can be biased based on their advertisers and alliances.
The Advantages: My recommendations are not influenced by advertising, corporate sponsors or other relationships that can impact magazine recommendations .... I simple recommend the best technology. My recommendations are based on a much larger testing environment that includes extensive hands-on experience, feedback from a very wide variety of customers and environments, 30+ years as a technology leader and global technology advisor, and leveraging feedback from a large resource pool of other global technology experts and their experiences.
For this best of 2017 review, I will cover the most requested personal technologies in a series of weekly articles. This week’s article will cover the best:
The Best Smartphone: Apple iPhone X
Over the years I have used both Android and Apple phones. I used an iPhone for many years, and three years ago I switched over to Android. Until recently, my primary phone was an Android phone, the Samsung S7 Edge. Experts point out that the both Android and Apple have the strengths, and I agree. Like many technology professionals I have historically tried to avoid being on the Apple bandwagon, and liked the flexibility of Android. I reviewed the latest offerings, including the Samsung Note 8, the Samsung Galaxy 8, LG V30, Google Pixel 2, and many others.
But, the iPhone X just look Apple to another level, and after using the iPhone X for several months, it is without a doubt the best phone I have ever used. The form-factor of the iPhone X feels really nice in your hand, and is well-balanced. The Note 8, iPhone 8 and other smartphones with comparable screens feel top-heavy and awkward in your hand, and lack the “just-right” feel of the iPhone X. The iPhone X’s Face ID works great, there is never a screen lag (like you see on Android phones), it has amazing battery life, and the best overall user experience. Sorry Android fans, Apple created a winner, and overall the iPhone X is the best.
The Best Smartwatch: Apple Watch Series 3
I have used many different smartwatches, including Android Wear, Samsung Gear, FitBit and Apple. For the past two years my preference has been the Samsung Gear S3 Classic Watch. The Samsung Gear looks great, but the battery life was terrible (it often couldn’t last a full day) and the lack of apps was very disappointing. By far, Apple has the best selection of apps for a smartwatch, and with the Apple Watch Series 3, they finally got the hardware right. With the Apple Series 3, I typically have more than 80% battery life available at the end of the day, and I’ve gone 3 days on a single charge. The Series 3 also adds the cellular capability and phone number mirroring with your iPhone, which gives you the ability to leave you phone at home and still send/receive your calls and messages. The apps, the user interface, the heart rate monitoring, and the overall experience is better on the Apple Watch. Smartwatches will continue to evolve, but currently the Apple Series 3 is the best smartwatch.
The Best Laptop: Dell XPS 13
The form factor, The Dell XPS 13 fits a 13” screen in a 11” form factor. The amazing display is a stunning, edge-to-edge (nearly borderless, infinity display. The size, weight, case material, aesthetics, included ports, and performance are all superior and all make the Dell XPS 13 the best overall laptop. For those that want a 15.6” display and even more horsepower (most people don’t really need it), my recommendation is the larger Dell XPS 15. HP has made improvements, but their awkward trackpad, and overall configuration can’t match the Dell XPS. Lenovo, Samsung and others have too many quirks and quality issues to be a contender. Apple has their following, but the current line of Apple laptops are disappointing, and their core components and overall value can’t match the Dell XPS.
The Best Home Technology:
Mark Johnson is the Chief Executive at Xtrii. He is a proven, 10x CIO, renowned, global technology advisor and business leader.