Strategy Is Key To Implementing Technology Successfully

In this podcast, we discuss why strategy is the first step toward achieving a 360 view across your organization. Technology is the tool that can help get you there but without a proper strategy, technology will only compound rather than solve your problems.The following blog serves as a general outline with highlights of the podcast. Additionally, you will find links to tools that will help you get started on your journey of digital and business transformation!

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The Difference Between Technology & Strategy

The late Peter Drucker is famously attributed with the phrase, “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” and we couldn’t agree with him more. In fact, at DPT, we have our own take: strategy eats technology for breakfast.

Just as culture formulates a solid foundation to build and ultimately implement strategic initiatives, strategic focus provides the same foundation for technology applications. In many businesses, this also equates to the difference between technology and solutions.

The Challenge With Technology

Gartner reports that 75% of ERP projects fail, followed closely by failing CRM projects. This causes a negative experience for anyone who has been involved in such projects and that’s why here at DPT Solutions, we often say CRM is a swear word. 

Forbes attributes the 3 Main Reasons Why Big Technology Projects Fail to the following reasons:

  • Because companies don’t have the necessary talent
  • Because executives fail to support big technology projects
  • Because most corporate cultures are actually anti-technology (in spite of rhetoric to the contrary)

To put it simply, technology is the “impulse purchase” made to fill a current and immediate need. In contrast, a solution is planned. It’s rooted in a strategic vision that incorporates both current and future-state business requirements.

Human nature lends to pushing the conversation to an immediate and impulsive decision. Too often, this “solution” is a band-aid that resolves only a single and immediate need without much consideration for the long-term consequences. While addressing that need may be necessary, this approach lacks strategy and will inevitably lead to an ecosystem of unsustainable technologies and endless integrations. We also refer to this as technical debt. In other words, a long list of headaches that could have been avoided with a well-planned strategy.

If you were constructing a home, you wouldn’t want your builder to start pouring a foundation without blueprints. There’d have to be planning involved. You’d talk about the basement, square footage, the number of stories, and layout before beginning. In this situation, it may seem like common sense, but your business should be taking a similar approach to building sustainable applications and technology solutions.

When implementing applications ranging from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions to business process management solutions, stick to a tried-and-true approach to collect business requirements. This helps to ensure you tie people, process, and technology into the business solutions you ultimately implement.

Start With A Strategy

The next couple of years will be pivotal in the way that organizations adjust to the new hybrid work environment, supply chain issues, labor shortages, and other impacts from the pandemic. The Great Resignation is proof that employees want to be more engaged and empowered in their roles.

Business process strategy & automation is the one true way to achieve efficiency and data visibility across your organization which is the gateway to increased employee engagement and improved customer service. But how do organizations move toward this goal while managing the ever-changing work environment? It begins with organizational leadership getting the team on board with working toward common goals.

Perform An Audit

Slow down. Don’t make impulse decisions. Take the time to understand the strategic business initiatives. Interview key shareholders and stakeholders throughout the organization to increase visibility and alignment between each area of the business. Listen to the unique requirements and pain points they have. Key stakeholders will appreciate being involved in the chartering process. Provide internal mechanisms to gather feedback from employees and customers. Engage your employees and  engage your customers, they’ll both jump at the chance to provide feedback when asked.

Assess Audit Results

Once you have put a high-level framework around the solution requirements, reconvene with the key stakeholders to discuss recommendations. These recommendations should be ranked and prioritized based on critical success factors for achieving your business goals. Ensure a solution is tailored to your business and workflow by focusing the discussion around people, process, and technology applications.

Define Your North Star & Make Your Map

Once the requirements and goals are firmly documented, understood, and signed-off on, proceed with a detailed project plan. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make sure your goals are definable and achievable.  Assign an internal sponsor, team member, or manager to each project.

Hire A Project Management Professional

It is always wise to involve external Project Management Professionals (PMPs) to guide the entire process. While key team members often hold intimate knowledge in critical areas, a project manager will help ensure these subject matter experts are pulling the rope in the same direction. An external professional also adds a fresh perspective to the way that things may have “always been done” at your organization.

One of the biggest challenges can be finding a project manager that is truly unbiased with the respect to the technology or product they are selling. During your vetting process find out how the project manager gets paid. Customers are often best served by consultants that get paid directly vs. commissions on a technology, product, or service that they are selling. Find someone local that can get to personally know you and your organization. Introduce the project manager to your team and get their input on whom they like, trust, and envision working with on the project.

Choose Your Technology

Once your strategy is in place, then and only then, it’s time to consider the technology that can help your business achieve its goals. CRM (Customer Relationship Management), ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), SaaS (Software as a Service), and many other acronyms are trendy technologies at the moment, but they are only successful when the entire organization is committed to using them. If you hire an unbiased project manager, they should be able to steer you toward the best technology options based on the North Star and road map you’ve constructed.

You Just Have To Start

The process of vetting and implementing a solution may seem long and tedious compared to quickly patching up a problem, but it’s worth it. Just like “eating an elephant”, take it one bite at a time. Remember: strategy eats technology for breakfast. So become proactive and avoid issues down the road by carefully considering and planning solutions that are driven by your strategic business goals and objectives.

If you are local to the Greater Grand Rapids/West Michigan Region we’d love to work with you. We don’t charge for our initial conversations and consultations. We are a proud Microsoft partner which means that many of our solutions work within the Microsoft framework of products such as Microsoft 365, Microsoft SharePoint, and Microsoft Dynamics. We do not get paid commissions from Microsoft and the products we may recommend. We have not sold new technologies to 30% of our clients as upon conducting audits we found their current technologies sufficient for their needs. While none of us are truly unbiased, we strive to serve our clients with the best solutions for their individual needs.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the possibilities of how a strategy could help your organization, contact us. We’d love to help!

Download The Innovation Playbook

With each podcast we’ll provide an Innovation Playbook that will outline the steps you can start taking immediately, to kick start your strategy and improve business performance. Change doesn’t happen overnight. Download The EP 04 Innovation Playbook and let the innovation begin!

Episode 04 Playbook Highlights

  • Systematic & Strategic Solutions Approach
  • Audit & Assessment Tips
  • Goal Setting & Planning
  • Hiring a Project Manager
  • Choosing A Technology

Contact Us

If you have questions about any topic we covered in this podcast, want to offer feedback on our discussion, or need help kick starting your strategy, contact us! We’d love to chat or meet for coffee. We love what we do, we love talking shop, and we love teaching others what we know.

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If you’d like to stay on top of our new podcasts and blogs as they’re published, join our newsletter. We won’t spam you and we won’t share your contact information with anyone else.