Are you too busy to look at technology?
Have you stopped to reflect on the seven pillars of business and which ones you are overcooked on and which ones you are underdone on?
Just as a quick reminder, the seven pillars can be phrased as:
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1. Proposition and marketing
2. Talent management
3. Finance and administration
4. Sales team and process
5. Quality of service
6. Leadership and strategy
7. Technical capability and IP
It is no surprise that in my company technical capability and quality of service are top of mind for the whole team.
That still leaves a gap in IP and building better process around the how we do our technical work which is filled by senior staff.
However, I realised that for the past few months I personally have been very focused on other aspects of the business and, in fact, have not had much time for technology. This got me thinking about the issues faced by people who run businesses that are not technical, I can imagine the technology aspects can become the last thing to get any attention.
At Combo we do work hard on all of the pillars and we have IT systems that support each of the pillars. This may be stretching that a little but our website seems to hold our proposition and our marketing with some backup from social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn we also have our CRM system tracking thousands of people we communicate with at least once a month to keep our brand current in their eyes.
For talent management we use cloud services such as Seek to find our prospective talent and profiling tests to sort them and select them. We then run a software driven induction program for the first six months of employment and follow that up with a cloud solution for setting company objectives three times a year and splitting that down to team and individual objectives that are measured three times a year.
Clearly we have finance systems to track our sales and invoicing and to project future numbers. This links with our ticketing system and contracts etc.
Sales we run through our CRM application so we can predict future delivery requirements and keep track of all the prospects we deal with this also has our sales process embedded within its workflows to ensure we neither miss steps or miss opportunities.
Quality of service we manage this through our ticketing system that includes customer satisfaction surveys for each ticket closed as well as a separate system for doing a net promoter survey from time to time.
For leadership and strategy we maintain documents on our intranet to ensure our plans are captured and updated to reflect changes.
For technical capability and IP we work very hard to capture technical processes into our intranet so that we can do them faster and better next time. This has significantly reduced our time to resolve technical issues for our clients in the past 18 months.
My point here is that technology plays a major part in how we manage every aspect of our business.
That is not to say that we manage a perfect business, far from it, as we seriously struggle to put enough time or effort into strategic planning and we struggle to build a sales team that can put our business on the kind of growth trajectory we would like to see.
We also struggle to engage our staff to keep learning and developing their skills at a level that grows new capability to be the best that we could be.
For the scale of company we are, with a strong engineering and technical background, we do OK but we can always improve every one of these seven pillars.
When we look at a pillar that is not our strength such as talent management we call for outside help, we bring in trainers and consultants to help us improve. When we need to improve our marketing we bring in consultants and get help. Of course, we also make use of accountants to ensure our finances are in order.
Similarly for businesses where technology is not their core business we provide guidance and tactical support to ensure that pillar in their business is as good as it can be.
We all know that in technology there is rapid change and opportunity for improved productivity and control of aspects of our business.
Hence, if you have been too busy too to look at technology it is likely to be affecting the rest of your business in many ways.
If I could be so bold as to suggest you plan some time to look at it in your quieter months, I am sure you will find ways to make your business a better business than it is today.
David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that is known for business IT that makes sense. How can we help?