Thoughts on technology and innovation
Ron Wile, VP
I have a saying, “It’s not about the technology.” You can have one of the most robust systems available on the market today but the features and capabilities of that system are only as good as the people and processes you have in place to support it. How well have you accounted for the softer side of technology such as training, processes, procedures and knowledge management?
Through our various client engagements, I came up with a list of 10 questions and tips to get you thinking about how well your internal systems support your organization:
1. How well do your systems support your strategy/mission?
Take out or dust off your strategic plan and see how well it maps to the systems and processes you have in place.
2. How well do your systems support your brand?
Outline all of your customer touchpoints and rate how well you believe technology is supporting your vision.
3. What percentage of your existing systems' features and functionality are you actually using?
Appoint a super user for each of your systems and give them time to explore the system, go to user group meetings or conferences. They can become a great internal resource and assist others in your organization with training.
4. How many Excel spreadsheets exist to complement your current systems?
Take an inventory of the excel spreadsheet you have and come up with a plan to reduce them. Think of Excel as a way of working with your data instead of storing critical customer information.
5. How current are your systems (NOT "Are you on the current version of the software")? Are the features and functionality in your software current with what is available in the marketplace?
Have someone monitor upgrades---I am not talking about the percentage of bug fixes to new relevant features.
6. How well do your systems help you to be magnificent at the core competencies required of your marketplace?
Compare your existing systems' features, your use and application of these features to what is needed to be magnificent in the marketplace and come up with a plan to address this.
7. How would your employees rate your systems in allowing them to be efficient and effective?
Survey your employees about what works. Better yet, get out there and do their job for a day. Chances are they have ideas on how you could be doing things better. Just ask!
8. How well would your employees rate their training and knowledge around your existing systems?
Ask your employees how well they know your critical & expensive business systems and then develop a plan to address any gaps.
9. How well is your current system and the procedures on how to use it documented?
Stop everything you are doing and document the most crucial procedures right now. Don’t have time to do this? Hire your system partner to do it for you. Better to do this now than to be left in a bind when critical employees leave the organization.
10. How well would your employees rate your use of technology as compared to all the other technology they interact with on a daily basis (ex. Facebook, Amazon, Gmail etc)?
This is a good gut check as to how easy, user-friendly and helpful your current systems are with respect to helping people do their jobs better.