What challenges can technology bring to your business and
how do you overcome these obstacles?
In a rapidly evolving market, it is important for SMEs to implement innovative technology in order to grow and scale-up. However, there is often a big question mark when it comes to exactly what type of technology to use. Businesses are also faced with rising speculation of whether artificial intelligence can take over and leave workers redundant. Speaking on the first day Elite Business’ live event on March 9, Jenni Young, Chief Marketing Officer at Tappit revealed how to choose the right technology for your business to bring long-term growth and success. She discussed the challenges with new technology and why it is important to invest in a product that fills in the gap and provides a solution to your business operations.
When it comes to choosing the right technologies, businesses are often spoiled for choice with the different types out there on the market. However, Jenni insisted SMEs must do their homework and have a good think about what types of technology they need. It’s not about implementing the latest technology out there, but rather using it to meet the needs and challenges of your business as a whole. She advised businesses to consult their team and understand the obstacles they face in day-to-day operations to find the right technology and help them do their job better. “You’ve got the data and you’ve got a rough idea of what you want to buy and what you need to do but you have to look at it clearly around what’s in it for you,” Jenni said. “You’ve got to focus on your pain points. To get the right pain points and unlock the right value from picking your technologies, you need to ask your team what it is you need and you need to be clear about it. There are lots of ways you could ask your team that could cause fear. You need to ask them about their pain points. What is making their working day not so good? Is it too much email that they’re handling? Is it the Wi-fi or the internet connection is not as good as it can be when you’re scaling at a rapid rate? Is there not an effective communication tool for your business that means people are missing out? What are things that are stopping your team from doing the right job? But please be careful about how you ask those questions.”
Further on in her talk, Jenni spoke about the differences between RPA and AI and addressed rising concerns of whether technology can make human jobs obsolete. Despite the worries, she stressed how people are the most important thing when it comes to implementing technology. It is essential to structure a cohesive team with a clear vision and good communication to ensure your technology is implemented in the best way possible for your business. Without having employees onboard, it will be difficult too successfully implement your technology, she said. “By 2025, half the work will be done by robots and it’s incredibly important that we take people on this journey because they’re going to make technology succeed, but they can also make it fail if they want,” Jenni said. “When you’re implementing technology, just think about who you’ve got on your team and who is doing what.”
Jenni emphasised the importance of keeping your teammates on the loop when it comes to bringing new technology into your business, to constantly ask for feedback and to address employees’ concerns if they are hesitant before using the new product. If not, businesses could face several obstacles down the line if your employees are not completely on board. “Successful implementation is the marketing perspective,” Jenni said. “You are basically selling a new product to your team and workforce. The first thing is co-creation. You’ve listened to their pain points, you’ve reassured them, so you also need them to help in the actual crafting of it. It is important to give employees feedback and make them feel like they are part of the journey because let’s face it, it’s so much easier if you’ve got everyone to buy into the technology from the very beginning rather than just going ‘Ta-Da!’, here we have a new product that’s going to make your life better. If you don’t take them on that journey and they don’t feel they’ve had that input, it’s just human nature to shut down.”
With all the positives technology can bring to a business, implementing new technology is always a work in progress and will not be perfect from the start, Jenni said. It is all about constantly working out your data and breaking it down into small chunks before looking at bigger possibilities for scaling up. “Manage expectations, Jenni said. Technology is not a silver bullet. It really isn’t. So often, projects fail because people are expecting everything to be sorted and that it’s going to be absolutely perfect from day one. This kind of thing means projects often fail from the outset or people fall down a rabbit hole and think that there is so much data, what can we do with it? Actually, you’ve got to sort the first part out, get it working right, then we can start looking into other possibilities for it.”
On a final note, Jenni added: “Just because technology is great, doesn’t mean you can use it absolutely everywhere. You have to make sure that you’ve got what you need to succeed, not what you want. I mean, I would love a Bentley but I’m stuck with my battered old car! You’ve got to make sure that you don’t just use it everywhere because you have it. Make sure that you are using it because you are responding to a particular need from your business and that you can really make it work. Then you can move on to the next project.”