Posted on: July 4, 2022 Posted by: AKDSEO Comments: 0

Rafael Sweary is the Co-Founder and President of WalkMe and serves as a mentor and investor to many startups.

Will the technology you’ve just invested in give your company an edge? Honestly, no. Probably not. Will it bring you closer to real digital transformation? I’m not sure that it will. Not because it can’t do these things, but because of two simple truths: Every company has access to good technology, and most don’t use it properly after it’s deployed.

I’ve been talking about digital transformation for 20 years, probably longer. Any company with the desire to stay in business knows that embracing sophisticated technologies can support growth and efficiency. So we have CRM systems and business intelligence tools and dedicated platforms for legal, HR, finance, sales, marketing and so on and so on. But if everyone can access this tech, where do you find a competitive advantage? Well, using those platforms properly is now a differentiator.

Digital transformation requires the adoption of technologies, not just availability. That adoption needs to be widespread, well-informed and ongoing. At the moment, too many companies are just throwing money into new technologies, without making sure they get the value they need from them. This is not surprising, given the menu of options open to us.

Tech-soaked, tech-blind and blinkered

The global market for digital transformation was worth around $608 billion in 2021, according to Grand View Research. For context, the global smartphone market was worth $365 billion at the time, and that’s with 6.26 billion people using smartphones. What’s truly remarkable is that the digital transformation market is predicted to hit $1,759 billion by 2028—and Grand View Research is being conservative. IDC predicts $2.8 trillion by 2025.

It seems there’s no end to the list of solutions being brought to market, nor our appetite for them. Why? Because we’re technological shopaholics. Every time we see a new solution our company could use, we can’t help ourselves. We love the promises of productivity, efficiency and ROI.

The constant pursuit of competitive advantage has rewired our collective thinking, so we chase the next technology. We think this is the one that will speed up process X by 8% or reduce our capex spending in that department over there. We have an addiction to “new” and “next.”

Management, Covid-19 And Lasting Change

The problem is that we forget that in order to actually get proper ROI from technology, you need to use it properly. We don’t follow through after our initial spend. Personally, I think this is due (in part) to the way senior management works. They identify solutions, authorize spending and oversee everything up to the point of deployment—and then they have to move on to the next project. That’s the nature of business. But, without dedicated teams to keep an eye on adoption and usage, the ROI for a solution can stagnate.

Covid-19 made us speed up tech adoption and integration, in earnest. It wasn’t just about digital transformation anymore; it was about accommodating a remote or hybrid workforce. Many technologies had to be adopted by everyone and used daily just to keep business moving. How long will that last though? What should we do to keep getting ROI from our tools and get the kind of competitive advantage we’ve always chased?

From what I’ve seen, the solutions are simple, but they aren’t easy. They involve honest reflection, organizational behavior and maybe cutting out some of the new tech noise.

Uncover The Competitive Advantage

In order to unlock this advantage, you must constantly measure, analyze and adapt. You must first find a way to measure how employees are actually using your technology investments—if they do at all. You may be shocked when you see this in black and white. But once you have these insights, you’ve also got the seeds of change.

The next step is to find those particular pockets or teams where the software isn’t being used correctly or where it’s used all the time but people get stuck—or where features are ignored or underused. These places are where you’ll find out what you need to move ahead and increase your ROI, so these pockets aren’t problem areas: They’re a dormant competitive advantage.

When you’ve found your nonusers, misusers and partial users, take a look at what’s stopping them. The obvious reason would be a lack of understanding—an increasingly common challenge, especially as technology constantly evolves and becomes ever more sophisticated. However, we often overlook another challenge: the sheer number of programs and services that we ask our employees to use.

We’re overwhelming our teams with technology. Have you considered the variety and number of platforms your customer service reps have to use in a day? If you added another one, would they really jump into using it with enthusiasm? If anything, you may find it’s worth cutting out some services entirely or partially as there very well could be redundancies. Make sure the platforms you keep are used most effectively. After all, your people represent a wide range of technical experience and knowledge, as well as various levels of digital dexterity.

After you’ve uncovered your insights and asked your questions, you could go in a number of directions. Set up a training program or refresher course. Hold town halls where you gather people’s input. Appoint people within the business to keep an eye on specific applications. Or, there are specialists out there who can deploy and customize digital adoption platforms and strategies for your particular organization. The crucial bit is to repeat the “measure, analyze and adapt” process on a regular basis. Tend to your tech investments like your bottom line depends on it.

So, if I had to boil down my thoughts on this to a single sentence, it’s this: Stop throwing money at technology and then abandoning it. Pull out insights on how (and if) your current technologies are used. Then adapt so your business and your people get what they need from them. New tech may be sexy, but tech that you maximize is what’s going to make the difference.

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