(Time to read this article is about 90 seconds)

Clients around the world keep telling me that running a business today is 10 times tougher than it used to be…and in many ways they’re right.  We all have more demanding customers, more and stronger competition, increased complexity, shrinking margins, and the challenge of attracting and keeping top talent. So, ‘yes’ in some ways running a business is more challenging than ever.  But in many ways running a business today is easier than ever before…and it’s all about ‘technology’.    

As you look to technology to give you the competitive advantage you need in 2019 and beyond, it will be useful not to lump ‘technology’ into one big confusing mess, but rather to examine how technology can help you in each specific area and function of your business.  

Sit down with some of the best minds in your business, or department, and use the 9-point checklist below to explore the possibilities. Seek expert help.  Depending on its size and complexity, every business should have three or more trusted technology ‘heroes’ to keep them ahead of the pack.  

At bare minimum you should have a ‘Marketing – Customer Intimacy’ technology hero looking after data analytics, relationship management and Social Media, an ‘Operations’ technology hero looking after the technologies that operate the business functions and a ‘Break/fix’ technology hero who keeps the hardware and software protected and running.  In a small business, these will be part-time contractors.    

So, here’s your checklist of where technology can bring you the competitive advantage you need.  Put an X in the box beside each one that has possibilities for you…and then investigate, decide, take action and follow up. Some of these ‘possibilities’ may not apply to your business …but most will.

  1. Technologies that will help you design and create new and better products and services.
  2. Technologies that will help you produce more efficiently and with higher and more consistent quality.
  3. The technologies of logistics that will help you more quickly, efficiently and accurately deliver your products or services to existing customers…and perhaps to a wider customer base.
  4. Technologies that will help you improve the speed, quality, depth, breadth, individuality and consistency of the service and experiences you deliver.
  5. Technologies that help you more efficiently communicate your compelling value message to customers as a group, and as individuals.
  6. Technologies that allow you to listen to, understand, engage with and respond to your customers as a group, and as individuals.
  7. The equipment, systems and process technologies that allow you to operate, control and manage every aspect of your business more effectively.
  8. Technologies that help you operate in a more environmentally responsible, less wasteful and more sustainable way.
  9. The technology of researching industry ‘best practices’ and emerging new business models. This one is easy…it’s called Google searches through which you can study competitive websites and articles, discover who in your industry, worldwide, is doing innovative new things…and what disruptive new business models could become your new worst enemy.

So, there you have it.  Nine ways to look at how technology can help you create a competitive advantage in every part of your business.  What will you do with this…and when?  Do you have technology ‘heroes’ who constantly coach and challenge you to get ahead…and stay ahead?     

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