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Does Business Use Its Technology Effectively?
It's true that business has been well served by technology. Since the inception of the stand alone personal computer in the early 1980's when desktop computing came to offices, empowering staff with the ability to control their own information, the workplace has changed beyond all recognition. Would we consider not giving an employee a PC, a mobile device? Of course not, that would be unthinkable.
In those thirty years we have moved from individual pc's through local networks to enterprise systems and now look to a future in the cloud. In that time we have embraced the Word Processor, Spreadsheet and any number of desktop tools that make us better at what we do. But the technology that has changed the office experience beyond all recognition is for course Email.
Email can, if allowed, rule our work day, email's have a way of demanding attention, response often without reflection, we live in this instant world that demands instant action. Or does it?
When was the last time you, along with you colleagues, discussed the workflows you employ on a daily basis to review if they are still fit for purpose or how you can improve them to give the customer a better journey.
Lead or Led?
Its time to understand who rules the roost when it comes to Business and Technology. For many businesses over the last 20 years the adoption of technology has been driven by the back office in defining the tools used to manage and advance a business. The decisions made are not always based on the best business strategies but rather the 'fit' in the existing IT structure. New devices are now mixing up this status quo and businesses are asking why they can't use tools that give the user different ways of absorbing and understanding the information we need to make good business choices.
Little more can be done to improve automation and efficiency in the back office. We need to harness the front office to deliver real gains with sales and marketing teams having the accessibility to agile solutions that enhance sales processes and build customer engagement.
What is a Business Technologist?
Business Technologists offer the skills that bridge the gap between the back and front offices and the IT staff who glue the enterprise together. The Business Technologist is able to communicate to users what is possible with available technology and find new opportunities for innovation.
The business world is becoming increasingly customer-driven. Social content and social-networking tools are placing real power in the buyers' hands. Organisations must adapt their IT systems to place customer interaction at their core.
It needs someone with a strong affiliation between marketing, sales and technology to pull this off, but the payoff for the business will be huge.
Cleaver use of marketing and sales are the fastest way for organisations to increase revenue. So strategies for acquiring new customers, and the technology that support them, are central to the business technologist's skill set.
You can see this happening already. For example, many cloud-based marketing services are being bought at departmental level with just a credit card — often in complete disregard of the corporation's IT policies. This trend isn't new, CRM systems were bought the same way 20 years ago. Take the issues over 'bring your own device' (BYOD), the smartphone demonstrates a technology that has been adopted by users and the initial response from IT departments was to ban as worst, or actively discourage, at least the use of these items in the business environment. It took a number of years before IT was able to embrace the smartphone. These are examples where a business technologist can help bridge this gap between IT departments and their marketing and sales counterparts.
We are witnessing business entering an era where technology is no longer the province of a standalone IT department.