Technology needs a value proposition, not three letter acronyms

Technologists love detailed features.  Those early adopters will geek out on everything from the dimensions of the latest products, to the manufacturing technique of the chips inside them. That thin slice of the population might get excited by the new portable multi-function communication device, with IP67 rating, equipped with matrix lens with optical zoom, recently released from their brand loyal electronics manufacturer in the new additional colours of “Black” and “Jet black”.  Most consumers however, are more interested that their new mobile phone is water proof, takes better pictures, and perhaps most importantly, makes them look cool.

Businesses are really no different.  Sure, most businesses are not making technology choices based on the colour, but it’s how it will bring value that’s important, not what it does.  The problem is, even as the pace of change completely upends our ideas on traditional business roles and relationships, the way we talk about the role of technology hasn’t necessarily come with it.

If you distill it down, there are really only four ways a business can increase its value:  It can sell more product, increase its customer base, reduce its overheads, or expand its capability.  So when choosing or selling technology for business, we need to show how that technology will bring value in one those ways.  Target just one, and you may see a little extra profit or improvement.   Target all four, and the results can be significant!

The Four Pillars of Digital Business grew from those core principals;  A fresh look at not just how technology can create value, but make a meaningful difference to business.  Providing a simple framework, in a language business can understand, to assess technologies and strategy for business.  Taking recognition that it’s people and processes that drive successful businesses, no matter how fancy their technology.

How is technology bringing value to your business?  Can you confidently describe the benefits of your technology investments across these four pillars?

  • Reach New Markets: Identifying and connecting new ways which to sell your products and services
  • Engage Customers: Allowing your customers to feel like part of your business, rather than just selling to them
  • Eliminate Waste: Effortlessly connecting people and information, creating new process and eliminating cumbersome, old, tired  ones
  • Innovate & Grow: Capturing new ideas and delivering them to market faster, easier, and at scale

If not, perhaps it’s time to take stock, and reconsider the role your technologists are playing in your business strategy.  Look beyond functional silos and start considering the holistic impacts to your business.

We are biased towards thinking about technology solutions within the constraints of our organisational roles and structures. There’s even a term for it: Conway’s Law.  However, technology itself is changing our preconceptions of what those roles and structures should be.  Is it time to stand above those self imposed constraints, drop the functional three letter acronyms and engage in conversation on value?  Perhaps the Four Pillars is a start; A place from which to re-imagine your business for the digital age.