Role of Technology In Business Success: A Management Perspective
Role of technology in business & life in general is too known & sold for any one like me to dwell anything upon , so I would not do that . Hence I am neither the first nor the best one to talk on ‘Technology ‘—I am glad that I am not a tech expert hence can express my views or ask questions freely without getting conscious of ‘being watched ‘ ; the advantage of not being an ‘insider ‘is ability & freedom to think fresh , unconventional , to hold a perspective, out of the box
While I don’t come from a Tech expertise end, I come from the other end – the user end. I may not be an expert car mechanic, but I can drive my car well & know what I need for that. I also know that for best of business success, things always have to start from & be oriented towards the user – the customer. Here is a User’s perspective.
In either usage or invention, we need to be clear as to who the horse is & who the rider is … if you are not riding the horse, you can’t blame the horse to take you to the Jungle. To me technology is an essential part of business strategy – whatever be the business; but technology is not the strategy. Just like the classic question … whether we live to eat or eat to live. Technology is a means but not an end. Technology has to serve the business goal & not the other way round. Above all technology is for an application & not for knowledge.
ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY
Technology should enable, not enslave …. It should reduce ‘dependence ‘not create .It should become your strength, not weakness. This is best illustrated when we see people & their mobiles being inseparable entity – wherever they go (like Karna had his armour, by birth) A devise though very useful & convenient but which was non-existent 20 years back has created addicted slaves.
Technology has to follow a business thought process, not substitute.
This is where most users get confused (or enamoured) in procuring technology / software ahead of thinking of peculiarity of their need context. I have seen them buying CRM software or on line performance appraisal software, even before creating a problem – solution framework & flow. Obviously it does not work & technology is not at blame here.
To get the best juice of the powerful tool called technology, the user needs to be extremely clear as to what is the purpose. At Handiman (which is a service organisation in facility management industry) technology is a very key part of our 2020 – Rs 500 Cr growth plan. Parameters which I have set for technology to deliver:
- Speed of access , information , action
- Significantly enhance people / resource productivity.
- Potency of management time ( from exploration to application ; from being a controller to a facilitator )
- Bring in predictability & control ( reduced scope for human error )
- Facilitate customer empowerment
- Integration of efforts
HANDIMAN INDUSTRY CONTEXT
Ours ( facility management of various premises with services like Housekeeping , Security , Gardening , Plumbing … etc ) we currently are hugely people / labour dependent in terms of service delivery & also costs , making us one of the lower GP industries . High person dependence makes us vulnerable on continuity , consistency & predictability of our service delivery
This has degenerated this essential service industry into a commoditised ; low value – low margin operation . We at Handiman have a clear strategy to break this commoditised operation into a differentiated offering , commanding a margin premium . Let’s see where & how does technology fit into our grand strategy to go from Rs 54 Cr to Rs 500 Cr in revenue in 4 years by 2020 . I have defined into 4 category application :
1 )Operations application ( Service , Sales )
To bring in predictability , consistency , efficiency & speed in service delivery .
- Mechanisation of service delivery to reduce labour dependence
- Supporting surveillance equipment / system ( for Security service )
- Service delivery monitoring / GPS ( like ATC has for monitoring airplane movements )
- Site attendance automation & online information
- Billing & collection cycle
- Professional sales presentations , online upgrades / training for sales team & sales reporting
2) Customer application
To bring in Customer empowerment by providing unlimited & online access – as the best prompter for excellence
- Order processing , tracking / management
- Information / feedback sharing , live query resolution
3) Employee application
To create a better connect with the organisation & each other for enhanced work experience
- Accessing information , experiences , prior applications for on job application
- Knowledge , skill upgradation , training , mentoring
- Salary processing and other HR / Admin applications
4) Management application
To drive speedier , effective decision making & performance management
- Comprehensive , authentic data analysis ( save time from seeking information to action application )
- Information and policy – live updates , data warehouse
- Dynamic response to changing market , competitive scenarios
In sum , technology today is not longer a discretion or an option , but an intrinsic part of business strategy – whatever be the industry and yet , it is a tool ; not the destination . It is a powerful horse we ( user ) needs to ride & not let the horse overwhelm nor overpower nor intimidate us .
In effect , to be at your best ; your business strategy needs to lead technology and technology needs to feed business strategy – which is where it becomes an unassailable , symbiotic business success .