Saturday, March 18, 2006
Lousy Businesses and Technology
Quite a few of us work for or consult to such 'lousy' businesses. Oftentimes we (as IT) evangelize that the path away from lousy (short of selling out or closing down) is the implementation of new technology schemes. The mistake often made in these cases is that implementation and use of the technology itself will right the organization and lift it from lousy to good, or even great.
The mistake in thinking this is that these initiatives fail to provide the business with any competitive advantage in its markets or against its competitors. If IT is going to enable a shift away from lousy, any technology investment must:
- lower the cost of doing business in a manner that cannot be easily duplicated by competitors. If every market player gets the same, nearly-immediate advantage from a technology implementation, what's the point in doing it and spending the money?
- provide the basis for disruptive products and services that lift the business over its market and competition.
- furnish the data and capabilities that drive the insights of marketing and sales functions to exploit market and competitive inefficiences to the organization's advantage over other players.
And depending on the circumstances of your business and the marketplaces you serve, apply the above criteria liberally before issuing any purchase orders.