I am sure you have habits in your life. You most likely have morning routines where you do certain things at a certain time. Especially if you have kids but also if you “just” have a demanding career or way of life. These habits may be chosen consciously or unconsciously but they form a good portion of your every day.
When we as humans have these habits or routines for doing certain things, thinking outside the box can feel somewhat terrifying. Not because we know that we cannot do things otherwise, but because most of us need some kind of sense of security.
In business, this can be critical. Firstly in the sense that we often should not adjust or change things and processes that already work, but on the other hand we can get blinded by “the usual”. In typical management lingo consultant types talk about boxes and how we must be able to think out of these. Often these conversations or preaches also includes “to stay ahead”. This is often related to being prepared for something, being the first-mover or any other situation that puts you and your company in the forefront.
This is, though, not a management consultant lingo course or a pep talk of some sort. What it is instead, is a reminder to continuously assess possibilities. Where I come from we have an expression: To hurry slowly (loosely translated from Danish). In that lies that it is not about being first if that position is compromised due to things or events you forgot or did not consider before moving.
To give you an image of how that expression is used every day you can look at how emergency services like paramedics work. When the ambulance/EMTs/paramedic vehicle arrives you will not see them running towards the accident. Not that they are not in a hurry, but to be able to keep calm, and therefore be able to focus on the task at hand, the walk to the injury site.
With this in mind, a want to talk about the use of technology. As you might know, technology can be a blessing of unseen proportions, and at the same time a huge, time- and resource-consuming project to get involved with.
Choosing the right technology Ask any company or large organisation that at some point wanted to integrate or fully implement a large IT system. No names mentioned, but I guess you can at least mention one large system that showed to follow a cluster of fires to put out.
There is a truth in the saying: Tell me what you want to get fixed today, and I will tell you which problems you will face tomorrow.”
There still is a belief in most larger companies, that it is possible to acquire IT systems that can perform a wide range of tasks. I have experienced it my self-working as a sales representative for a SaaS company. My offer back then was a solution that handled all learning in the employee life-cycle. I thought it was kind of niche, but potential customers asked if it was possible to do payroll too and if we had a module for record keeping of information like staff ID, address and so on.
Looking at what my fellow colleagues in marketing departments around the globe are doing, I see that the same tendency must be applied to other departments. The so-called marketing stack is, as the term implies, a stack of tech tools that each serves one purpose. Even though the customer-faced communication tool can be used as a CRM, it makes more sense using the CRM that suits the sales departments needs better. But the customer service department can still use the tool of their choice because most tool now can integrate with each other, and thereby send data back and forth.
One of the most obvious benefits in this way of choosing and integrating different tools is, that your risk is being minimized drastically. If one tool lacks, is being deactivated or the price is raised to an unacceptable level, it is easier to get rid of. There a lot of different tools now that fits most companies’ needs, so unless you run a very niche and specialised company, then there most likely will be at least two to three different tools that can help you with each function.
But hurry slowly. Technology can automate processes that are costly to use manned resources for, but the range of possible tools, as mentioned, is quite large. It is not about taking the first tool you get offered or find on Google or Bing, but at the same time, you cannot afford to wait several years for just the right solution anymore.
The latest development in FinTech has shown that time is of the essence. Companies having too many unnecessary manual processes are going to be left behind. So get out of your comfort zone if you do not already embrace technology that can help you strengthen and grow your business.