How to be Strategic with your IT Spending

With the various trends occurring in business and technology today, businesses who aren’t making tech investments are in the minority. According to PwC’s 24th annual CEO survey, companies have admitted increasing their spending on digital investments by 10% or more – higher than other spending categories.

Even though businesses should be upgrading their IT on a regular basis to stay current, one of their biggest concerns is being able to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Today, it’s not uncommon for many businesses who are investing in technology to do so in order to keep up with technological advances.

For those businesses that wish to change the current environment, a change in mindset is needed with regards to IT spending. Here is how it will look.

Twice The Value In Half The Time

One of the major rules for this mindset shift is that business owners will need to ask themselves a crucial question: “What needs to happen in order to realize twice the value in half the time?”

What this question does is change the dialogue with regards to investing in technology and pulls companies away from falling into traps that many businesses often find themselves in —buying more costly technology and demand employees to adopt to new changes after a year or two.

This shifts the focus away from technology and focuses on the outcomes that the technology can provide. Businesses are more focused on driving profit and getting the most value out of technology, but the problem is the outcomes in mind aren’t clearly defined nor does the technology assure that value is delivered on that level.

The neglect of this question has resulted in businesses feeling like they’re upgrading to keep up and aren’t differentiating themselves. In order to differentiate and to be more strategic with IT spending, consider these six imperatives.

Connecting Technology To Clear, Differentiated Customer Outcomes

What unique value does the company create for customers? What few things does the company need to be great at to deliver that kind of value? How will technology help in differentiating those capabilities? Is there a way to clearly articulate and measure how technology will differentiate a company versus the competition?

Having clear answers to those questions can ensure that the technology purchased in the end will not only further the unique value proposition that companies have, but digitalize the work that is being done.

Balance Investments Across Big Tech, Small Tech, And No Tech

Not every problem needs an expensive solution. Often, the solution involves making some small adjustments in the form of simpler automation, processes, policies, or changes in employee behaviour.

At the same time, this doesn’t mean solve all problems with small tech pilots either. The key is having a mixture between big tech, small tech, and no tech involved and ensuring solutions provided deliver outcomes faster whenever possible.

Be Picky On Innovating And Integrating

Making great outcomes for customers doesn’t always involve work to be done in-house or to create a unique customer solution. Opportunities to innovate are growing rapidly as companies are bringing in new technology to the market every day. With that in mind, companies shouldn’t be afraid of integrating technologies that others have offered.

Customizations and innovation are the key contributors to true competitive differentiation – and customers are willing to pay for it. If owners can’t honestly answer whether customers are even remotely inclined to pay for those investments, it’s not worth the investment.

Align Operating Model With Desired Outcome

Getting the desired outcome will need more than implementing systems. It will take changes in roles, processes, policies, skills, metrics, behaviours, incentives, data, and more. In most cases, if the team isn’t multi-disciplinary, companies will favour targeted technology investments and they will not reap the full value.

When a team is outcome-oriented, they bring a wide spread of skills that can work together and can fit anywhere within an organization. These individuals will be able to work and ensure that they deliver clear value to customers.

These teams must be permanent and not solely formed with part-timers working for the duration of a project. These individuals are crucial as they will break down traditional silos and make it clear on whether technology investments are needed or if they are good as is.

Changing The Relationship People Have With Technology

Bringing in new technology is tougher for companies as it involves retraining staff and encouraging them to be on board. Some will adapt quickly while others will often resist and that will cause plenty of delays. This is in addition to plenty of errors, guidance, and time being spent initially for people to understand new technology.

One way to be strategic with IT spending is when money is spent on new technology, don’t focus entirely on getting people comfortable with using the technology. Get them excited by showing them how the new technology will work. Make this technology relatable by tying it to their work or daily lives.

By changing people’s daily activities with technology, they become familiar with the underlying systems. By revealing what’s in it for them with this new technology, it’s easier for people to buy into it. Especially if they understand how it ties in with their jobs and helps in connecting them to the organization’s purpose.

Rethink Business Cases Behind Tech Investments

Businesses that invest in technology today focus almost entirely on being more efficient. After all, robots are better workers in all counts. But technology does have limitations and there are some roles that robots can’t replace.

To be more strategic with IT spending, owners need to move away from efficiency thinking and think bigger. Think about how investment changes will relate to customer growth or retention. Or maybe consider how technology will improve insights to allow the company to better deliver the value proposition. And even consider the environmental impact or how much of a carbon footprint technology can leave behind.

If business cases can’t even address those potential outcomes, then the technological leap isn’t that significant, and it will end up wasting resources.

Ultimately, the conversation of adopting technology shouldn’t just fall on the technology itself but also on the organization and the workers. No longer should success be measured by whether a system becomes operational. It should be based on whether that technology and the people and company using it are able to deliver larger changes and better outcomes to the customers.

That measurement isn’t easy to do, but with people constantly upgrading, it feels like companies are crossing their fingers and hoping that the upgrades are enough to make a difference. And not every business should be trying to bet on itself to achieve success when it comes to buying technology.

Mtek Digital Managed Business Service

Mtek Digital provides help with virtually any business technology requirement. From IT services to Web and Video Marketing, we’re capable of servicing the tech industry throughout Canada. Contact us today.