Business and technology often mix in more ways than one. In many cases, companies will find themselves with a problem and the answer to that problem likely lies within some sort of technology. This kind of solution can be referred to as business-driven technology.
On the other hand, a piece of technology or tool may be developed, say through research and experimentation. In this scenario, the technology’s abilities may drive the creator or creators to start up a new business based on the solution. This results in a technology-driven business.
Let’s take a look at how both of these types of solutions are created or evolve:
Solving a Business Problem
While many businesspeople look at a problem as simply an unachieved goal, it is more of a journey with at least two points. The first is the manifestation or symptom.
Let’s use the example of an organization clearing invoices late; this can be due to several reasons. The cause or causes would be the second point in the journey. A possible cause of such a problem could be a delay in updating the list of supplies received.
Once you establish a clear relationship between a symptom and a cause, the business can reach out to the IT team for a solution. It is important to translate your findings in a clear manner. Without strong communication you may end up with technology that does not solve the problem at hand.
While a major part of solving such a problem may include recording the exact date each installment of products was received, IT may come up with a data entry system that only records total quantities and generates amounts payable based on a unit cost.
You may also need to create supplier accounts with periodic updates. Make sure you envision every step of the process of achieving a desired goal, and possible variations. Pass them on as actions that can be carried out using the technology to be developed.
Leave room for inquiries from the IT team. Their approach to solving the problem can be a learning opportunity.
Deploying a New Technology
Whether a technology has been built for a particular problem or independently, it can come with wider potential. To create a business off of a technology solution requires a detailed evaluation on both the technology, and the market or context within which it exists.
A good first step is to do a competitive analysis of what you intend to create and other technologies already in existence. Once you’ve discovered what other tools out there solve for similar problems, focus on them.
This next step is about finding the limitations of existing tools. It could be that they are not portable. Maybe they are lacking in speed, storage, or even other basic things like UI/UX (user interface/user experience).
When you have competitors’ limitations identified, you can then return to your technology and see what makes it stand apart.
For example, a messaging application may be created solely for the purpose of communication. However, as more people start to use it, you may find room for models around activities like advertising.
Technology-driven business does not always arise in one way. Sometimes, the technology has to be put in the hands of regular people who then naturally explore its abilities. With the results being watched, the developer can then get a sense of how it is benefiting its users.
Ultimately, when dealing with technology, it is important to leave room for people to engage with it outside of a particular objective. It is also crucial to have a good sense of where technology stops and humans step in.
Lastly, endeavor to understand the legal implications of using technology in providing services, from patents all the way to customer protection standards. The use of technology shouldn’t be green-flagged merely because of efficiency or effectiveness.
Are you considering a software solution for some of your business operations? Let the experts at ASB Resources guide you on choosing between off-the-shelf and customized technology. Schedule a call with one of our experts today!