23/04/09

By Andy Coote

The pace of technological change appears to accelerate by the week. Whatever your business, there will be options for you to adopt and use new technologies — hardware and software. But, just because it can be done doesn’t mean that you should do it. Keep the business plan in control. Unless your business is technology, being technology led is a bad idea.

Changes in technology are inevitable. There is a large industry dedicated to developing technology, they need to generate revenue and they have a large publicity machine. There is always going to be someone telling you what you MUST do to be considered ‘cool’ or modern — be it adopting tools like Twitter, Social Media Marketing or unified communications. Is all this new technology relevant to you and your business?

If you apply an ROI approach to technologies, you can begin to put it into context. Ignore the hype and the jargon and concentrate on the basics. Will it save money, make more money or open new markets for your business. If not, maybe you don’t need it for now and the expense and dislocation that goes with the introduction of change.

That is not to say that the technology won’t be relevant and won’t give you a return in due time. You do need to be aware of industry-changing technologies. The technologies that require your attention will be the ones that allow you or your competitors to do things quicker, cheaper or better and the ones that allow new competitors into your market. In those cases, you may need to act quickly but with one eye on the ROI throughout. If it doesn’t pay, it shouldn’t play.

Technology applied well can make a good business better. Applied poorly it can hold back an otherwise sound business. Your business needs should be driving the technology you adopt and not the other way around.