Ever driven down the road in a car that was out of alignment? When you let go of the wheel, the car starts going in the wrong direction. Until you get the alignment fixed, there will be a lot of WASTED EFFORT to keep the car going in the direction you want. Not to mention, the tires are also being worn at a much faster rate than they normally would!
Alignment makes sure that your BUSINESS STRATEGY is properly supported by the technology you have.
Aligning your technology to support your business strategy is no different than the example above. If your technology is in alignment, business strategy requires less effort to execute, and has a much higher chance of success! Alignment also means you don’t “wear out your tires”, meaning your people. The wear and tear on people due to poor technology alignment is often overlooked.
You do know what your Business Strategy is, don’t you?
Business Strategy is broken down into these five general categories:
- (Focused or Broad) Low-cost provider
- (Focused or Broad) Differentiation
- Best cost provider
Business strategy determines how to deliver value to a customer more efficiently than your competitors. This means your price may be lower, your services are better or unique, and you have deep industry knowledge or a blend of all of this. In each of these cases, your technology partner must understand which strategy you are pursuing. Once this is established, the alignment of technology is quite simple!
If your differentiation is high-customer touch, and you only communicate via email…that will not last very long! Many businesses like to think they are a low-cost provider simply because they try to keep their costs low….that’s not how it works. Wal-Mart invests millions in technology in order to keep its low-cost model going. It’s all about alignment!
Start with a clear understanding of your Business Strategy and then find a technology partner that will provide Alignment with it. This top-down approach will deliver results faster and cost-effectively than building on “what you have”. Next week, we will touch on Productivity and how your technology can impact your business.