Founder & CEO of Sesame Associates | Management Consultant specializing in corporate innovation, digital transformation and brand management
Technology is disrupting industries like never before, with 80% of executives thinking their business models are at risk, according to research by McKinsey. However, while 84% of executives also agree that innovation is essential to growing their companies, less than 10% know how to improve their innovation efforts.
As someone who specializes in corporate innovation and digital transformation, my experience introducing technology to a company ranges from digitizing marketing campaigns to using technology to streamline hotel revenue streams. My time in the space has shown me that embracing new technology isn’t always easy, but it can benefit your company’s bottom line, as well as help you manage and streamline operations in your business. Technology like blockchain has even been said to benefit social causes and philanthropic efforts.
With this in mind, I believe it’s important for business leaders and entrepreneurs to prioritize keeping up with technology that could benefit their teams and companies. Why? I have two main reasons:
First, adopting new technology can give your business an advantage, which is crucial to pull ahead of your competition. A good example is Microsoft, which saw a substantial increase in profits upon its switch to cloud computing.
Second, adopting new tech (when needed) can help companies keep up with the pace of change. Just consider that since 2000, 52% of Fortune 500 companies have either “gone bankrupt, been acquired, or ceased to exist as a result of digital disruption,” according to Harvard Business Review.
Despite these benefits, it can be difficult to stay on top of the latest technology, especially with how quickly new tech is developed. However, I do have a few suggestions.
How can leaders educate themselves on the latest tech?
There are two ways I recommend staying informed on technological developments:
1. Read. What I do to keep up with the latest technology is read. Look for updates from resources like TechCrunch, MIT Technology Review and the World Economic Forum, and make doing so a regular practice. For example, part of my morning routine is to read the daily tech newsletter to which I’ve subscribed. Outlets with a focus on technology can give you key updates from around the world regarding major players in the industry. You can also follow these types of resources on your social media to stay up to date.
2. Consider working with incubators and accelerators. This is the second way I advise corporate executives to educate themselves on and keep up with technology. Startups are innovative and many times come up with technology that is not yet even in the news. If it makes sense for your company, consider working with incubators and accelerators to learn more about new tech startups, or you might even create an innovation lab if you run a larger corporation. Having an innovation lab can enable employees to hone their innovative ideas and bring in new technology to your business.
How can you implement new technology in a company?
If you’re thinking about taking the leap and implementing new tech in your business, you’ll need to keep a few best practices in mind. The first step is to always find out if the tech is actually going to be effective if used in your company. New technology might sound great on the surface, but if proper research is not done, it could be counterproductive. Consider what your organization truly needs, and if you feel the solution you’re considering is a logical fit, experiment with a small group of employees before adopting it to the entire company. As you do this, ensure you’re gathering genuine feedback from your team.
It’s also important to think about any challenges you might see along the way. One of the main challenges is that not all employees in your company will have the same level of knowledge when it comes to using the solution you’ve chosen.
To address this, there are a few things you can do. One of the strategies I have advised companies to adopt that has had success is to be transparent and to have an awareness campaign within the company that educates employees on how the technology works and its benefits. It is always good to create the impression that the new technology is easy to use to help build a sense of confidence among employees.
Another way to make your team more comfortable with using new technology is by training them on it. Training is important when introducing new technology in a company because, as previously mentioned, not everyone will know how to use it at first. By taking the time to teach them how to use it, you can ensure they feel more comfortable and that the tech is a success.
Some other challenges when implementing new technology is cybersecurity and meeting regulatory requirements. Consulting with experts in that field would be highly advisable.
Technology is the way forward for business executives.
With the majority of executives worried that their business models are at risk of disruption, it is important for business leaders to stay up to date on technology that could help set their employees and their organization up for success now and in the future. Constantly looking for ways to improve should be a business strategy. Staying informed and learning from startups, as well as being transparent, understanding and communicative, are key to embracing changes in tech. In today’s world, new technology could make or break a company.
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