While technology is critical and necessary for businesses, it often is challenging to effectively … [+]
Innovation and technology are at the top of nearly every business agenda. Technology is critical to innovation, and it also serves as the accelerator for many parts of businesses’ growth plans, from manufacturing to distribution to marketing to finance. As the last decade has increasingly shown, companies that are unable to adopt new technologies quickly and effectively or don’t have the right mix of talent run the risk of being outpaced, outsmarted, and otherwise disrupted. In many cases, the willingness and ability to adopt technology determines a company’s very survival.
In fact, our research showed that leading companies that amplified their technology investments during the pandemic significantly extended their growth advantage over competitors, growing revenue at five times the rate of laggards, exceptionally higher than the two times rate of growth they enjoyed a few years prior.
While technology is critical and necessary for businesses, it often is challenging to effectively implement and apply. To make the right technological shifts, companies need to have the right organization, people, and skills in place. This is a fine line; organizations sometimes move too quickly, which could lead to unintended consequences like operations glitches, security and risk concerns, or a poor customer experience, while firms that move too cautiously run the risk of being outmaneuvered as they find it harder to satisfy customers, attract needed talent and ultimately lose market share.
Technology transformation is necessary, but successful transformation depends on solving two key issues.
First, companies need to make not only the right investments but the right amounts of investment, in people, training and technology infrastructure. And, importantly, this needs to be done across the technology spectrum. For example, at one level, technology automates simple processes and lowers costs. At a higher level, it provides insight leading to better business decisions and ways of working, enabling people to be more effective in their roles. Companies need to address both levels, integrating technology to lower costs but also to support and encourage innovation.
Second, companies need to figure out the right pace of adoption. This can be tricky, as innovation does not often move at a predictable pace. Rather, it moves in fits and starts, with frustration and stagnation often preceding periods of rapid progress. Bill Gates was quoted as saying back in 1996 that “We always …….