In an effort to truly make technology your business advantage, you must acknowledge that nobody does what you do quite like how you do it.
In other words, your organisation is totally unique unto itself - which means that you need to throw out the idea that there is some "one size fits all" approach to technology. Your long-term business strategy was built with your unique context in mind, and the same needs to be true with regards to the way technology is incorporated into that strategy.
Whenever a new client chooses to partner with Lanrex, we always try to convey this simple yet important idea as early and as often as we can. The right IT infrastructure can absolutely empower your business by putting your strategy first, by supporting your customer, and by allowing you to both address today's challenges and better prepare yourself for the ones tomorrow might hold.
The wrong IT infrastructure is ultimately just a bunch of noise. Not only will it NOT empower your business... it will likely end up holding you back.
This is the type of thing we work hard to change at Lanrex, and today we want to show you how to do it. It's actually a lot more straightforward than it sounds - it just involves four basic steps and a steady, helping hand by your side. The four steps to make technology your competitive advantage are:
- Focus on Your Business Strategy.
- Ensure Employee Engagement.
- Conduct a Total Technology Audit.
- Best Practice Benchmarking.
Step 1. Focus on Your Business Strategy
Before you even begin to develop your larger strategy for technological transformation, you need to ask yourself questions like:
- Where are you playing, and how will you win?
- What will your organisation look like in three years, compared to how it looks today?
- Where, specifically, do you see your business in five years within the context of ideas like expansion?
All of these are questions that only you can answer, but once you've done so you'll have a better understanding of the types of things you need to be thinking about before you even bring up the subject of technology.
Even though your digital transformation is going to end with technology, it can never begin there. Your transformation should support and empower these qualities for the absolute best results.
Step 2. Ensure Employee Engagement
Any type of technological transformation always requires a complete buy-in from every last member of your organisation. This begins with the leaders at the top, yes - but if it doesn't also extend down to the most recently hired employee on the front lines of your organisation, any project you're thinking of pursuing is doomed before it's even had a chance to get off the ground.
Of course, that's not to say that digital transformation is the only reason to focus on empowering your employee engagement. Far from it. Consider the fact that, according to one recent study:
- Teams that are highly engaged tend to show profitability levels that are about 21% higher than those who are not.
- Another recent report revealed that a full 89% of all human resources leaders agree that engaged employees are one of the keys for successful outcomes.
- Employees who feel like their voice is both heard and valued are as much as 4.6 times more likely to perform their best work.
Employee engagement is an important part of how you make technology your business advantage because it once again gives you an opportunity to answer questions like these:
- What, specifically, is being required of your employees on the front lines?
- What, if anything, is currently getting in their way?
- What tools do your employees need to more effectively do their jobs?
- How can you use technological transformation to provide those tools?
In the short term, strengthening employee engagement will absolutely help with transformational buy-in. In the long-term, it will make you a more productive, more profitable organisation capable of doing better work on the other side of that transformation.
It's a simple investment in your workforce that can pay dividends for a generation if you do things properly, which is why it's such a key part of this process.
Step 3. Conduct a Total Technology Audit
Any journey requires intimate knowledge of both an origin and a destination - and a digital transformation as significant as this one is certainly no exception. To put it another way, once you know where you're trying to go, you also need to recognise where you're starting. Only then do you have a chance to connect those two points in the most efficient, cost-effective ways possible.
This brings us to step three of making technology your competitive advantage - a total technology audit. You need to think about things like:
- What your current situation looks like from an infrastructure perspective.
- Where the opportunities that you should be taking advantage of are located.
- The challenges that currently exist that are preventing you from capitalizing on those opportunities.
At Lanrex, this is one of the many techniques we employed when we assisted a specialist underwriting agency in the creation of a new IT strategy that could help them scale and grow as their business continued to expand across Australia. After making sure that we had a thorough understanding of all of the company's important issues and requirements, we were able to come up with a system that not only supported the singular entity of the business during expansion, but that also supported and empowered its employees and their online trading platform that itself is used by more than 650 brokerage houses across the country (and counting).
None of this would have been possible had we not taken the time to understand what their technology looked like, so we could get a better understanding of what it needed to be. There are countless examples of great IT strategies that businesses of all types can learn from, and the one thing they share in common is that none of their architects skipped this critical step.
During this process, you must have a solid understanding of what your current technology situation actually looks like. At that point, you'll be able to identify those best practices that can help you maximize your existing assets for greater performance.
You'll also be able to learn more about the new assets you need to implement to push your entire business further down the line towards success moving forward.
Step 4. Best Practice Benchmarking
The final step of this process involves best practice benchmarking - something that again involves processes that are unique to your organisation and what you are trying to accomplish.
Now that you've identified your goals, you're in a better position to honestly reflect on how you rate in certain key areas. You now know what "leading" actually looks like, so you'll have an easier time identifying whether you're doing so yourself. This speaks to how you're doing in relation to your competitors, yes - but also how you're doing internally when referencing how you're utilizing your systems, assets and even operations.
The only way you'll ever be able to improve is if you know what improvement actually looks like. You need to define "success" BEFORE you strive for it, or it will be a bit like trying to hit a moving target. Success isn't just external - there are always room for improvements internally, too.
The Lanrex Approach
At Lanrex, these are four key steps that we believe in deeply - to the point where we've made them each core pillars of our Lanrex 4 Stage Business Diagnostic. As a functional process, it's designed to uncover precisely where technology connects to your business. In a broader sense, it's the starting point we need to not only audit your existing infrastructure against every industry best practice available, but to also develop the actionable, insightful and forward-thinking plan that is perfect for you and everything we hope to accomplish.
How Our 4 Stage Diagnostic Works For You
After partnering with you we make sure we understand what your unique business strategy actually is before we even think about talking tech. We'll then use our extensive internal technology setup and optimization experience to help you get everything in order as far as employee engagement is concerned.
When UES International grew faster than their technology. Lanrex's strategic focus ensured they were able to scale safely.
Then, we'll take the lead with your total technology audit - helping to identify all the best places to focus on maximizing all of your existing assets for an even greater performance and return on investment than ever before. We'll finish everything off with best practice benchmarking - something that will truly show you where you stand so that together, we can help you get to where you're going.
We have data reflecting businesses of all shapes and sizes AND their optimum tech systems, assets and operations. All of this is data that we are ready and willing to leverage to your advantage.
How The 4 Stages Have Helped Businesses Like Yours
It's something that we've done for businesses all over the world time and again - like when we helped a rapidly expanding company turn slowing servers, unreliable backups and low team productivity into a brand new IT infrastructure. Not only did this allow them to enjoy a clean slate and leave all those problems in the past, but it also gave way to a competitive advantage that serves them will do this day.
We also leveraged these principles when we assisted a charity group and their cancer support experts as they successfully relocated the entirety of their IT infrastructure. By breaking what would typically be a daunting process into these series of four manageable, actionable steps, we successfully installed and migrated the client's IT system and infrastructure to their new office without any type of significant disruption to speak of.
How You Can Make Tech Your Business Advantage
These are just a few of the real life examples of these four core steps in action. Rest assured, there are many more. But in the end, remember that if you truly want to make technology your business advantage you often need to let the technology itself be your guide - and having a valued partner with years of industry experience like Lanrex certainly doesn't hurt, either.
If you'd like to find out more information about using technology to create a competitive advantage for your business, or if you have any additional questions you'd like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don't delay - contact Lanrex today.