A recent blog talked about how technology is creating a sharper divide between the haves and have-nots in an increasingly global, increasingly data-focused economy. For some companies, the cloud, social, mobile and big data are bringing the best of times. For those trapped on the wrong side of change, it will be the worst of times.
The best or worst of times doesn’t happen overnight. There are warning signs that your technology infrastructure is falling behind and moving you into the have-nots category. Here are 6 examples that form the canary in the coal mine for many companies:
1. Missed opportunities – Organizations experiencing infrastructure failure often have as a first sign the inability to move to meet an opportunity. Missed opportunities can be as simple as failing to have a social media presence to a full-on digital marketing failure. Companies that don’t have sufficient technology infrastructure can’t ‘see’ their customers and react to changing preferences. Reading reports that are generated on last month’s data is increasingly a dead-end for today’s marketplace.
2. Low productivity/morale - Employees that feel out of touch with technology being used in your industry are very likely to be less productive, for sure, but also experience low morale. Looking at the airline industry, there are plenty of examples of green screen technology even today and plenty of frustration to go with it. Productivity tools have jumped forward over the past decade and companies that aren’t using collaboration, automation, user-friendly analytics and cloud applications are forced to work harder to accomplish what others are doing.
3. Increasing cost, decreasing satisfaction – The classic sign of technology headed for the worst of times appears in increasing costs without a matching increase in business satisfaction. Legacy systems never get cheaper without a new way of doing business, like more efficient integration. Instead, the cost of maintaining older systems grows with time from a combination of labor and complexity.
4. Increasingly higher risk – A great example of higher risk would be airlines, who’ve recently suffered very public outages that grounded their planes and made headlines. Systems that are getting old and creaky begin to show their age by inconsistent performance and outages. Also, as systems grow older, the knowledge required to maintain them tends to become scarce, leaving the organization increasingly exposed.
5. Compliance delays and problems – Whether compliance is government regulated or imposed for quality and competitiveness, it gets harder when systems won’t keep pace with change. In financial services, for example, creaky systems from decades ago are often still in place, making transparency to market auditors very challenging. In non-regulated environments, competition for commodity goods often requires an ability to ‘show what you can do’ and this is hard when the technology is poor and outdated.
6. Silo’d information and processes - This is the most insidious of all challenges brought on by outdated technology. Whether the problem is a lack of integration or lack of the right tools and applications, businesses that have silo’d processes and supporting data are prone to errors and find it nearly impossible to change with the times.
If these are your reality, you need to get busy finding ways to bring your technology up to date. That doesn’t necessarily mean huge consulting bills or software outlays. There are opportunities to leapfrog past waves of modernization by using integration tools combined with cloud technology to get where you need to be.