Differentiating is a Tech Imperative
By Larry Walsh
Technologies continue to evolve, providing enterprises with greater levels of automation, productivity and operational efficiency. On the surface, these characteristics seem like tremendous value propositions; as they often lead to cost savings over manual or legacy processes.
In reality, technology grounded in cost savings alone is not enough to sustain an enterprise, and really doesn’t do much to facilitate true growth and profitability. No enterprise ever succeeded to greatness through cost-cutting; most do so through creating competitive advantages in processes and products.
The paradox in the current technology paradigm is advancements in technology are said to give businesses a competitive advantage. Yet, the companies producing technologies are also peddling their wares to as many customers as possible. If said technology is used, unaltered, out of the box by a large number of enterprises, the competitive advantage created by the technology is essentially nullified.
The first response to such as assertion is that no two technology implementations, even if they use the same products and software, are the same. True enough. Fingerprints, snowflakes and IT implementations are all unique. However, how technology is implemented isn’t the point; it’s about the outcome. Just as a billion unique snowflakes accumulate into one uniform blanket of snow, most IT systems – no matter how unique – are designed to produce similar outcomes to competitive systems.
CEOs, CIOs and IT managers need to look beyond the technology and start looking at outcomes to gain competitive advantages. Rather than looking at better servers, routers, and applications, enterprises should be looking for systems that will help create new products, open new markets and generate new and sustainable revenue streams.
This isn’t impossible or some utopian pipedream. The days when email and wireless networks produced a competitive advantage are over. But the days when the ability to create service catalogs with pre-built applications ready for on-demand services in cloud environments are here. So too is the technology to enable brokering applications and workloads between distinctly separate clouds. And, increasingly, enterprises have it within their power to use technology to create whole new products out of the ether that either create revenue or add value to existing products.
The point is enterprises can no longer afford to rely on technology itself to deliver value. It must look at technology as a piece of the larger business equation and a tool for building real value that’s conveyed to end customers. Technology never solved a problem; technology is a piece of the equation for resolution of business issues.