The current economic climate is challenging companies like no other. The advent of new technology and financial upheaval is only accelerating change. The internet and changing workforce demographics present both opportunity and challenge, but few companies are really addressing them. Industries like automobiles, newspapers, financial institutions and entertainment are prime examples. No company is immune will eventually need to take steps to address this shifting landscape or will go extinct. Here are a few mistakes that are easy to identify and cheap to avoid.
1. Rely on Email (Inboxychus)
The vast majority of companies continue to utilize traditional tools to communicate and collaborate. Do you know of many companies that don’t rely on email and sending documents back and forth? It is no secret that relying on email is both archaic and wholly inefficient. It is foolish to think that maintaining this reliance is anything but a drag on a company’s efficiency. The amount of information that workers in a dynamic environment need to function continues to grow, but the tools they have to access and manage it stay the same.
How to avoid extinction? Companies MUST invest in technology to help their employees better collaborate and communicate with one another if they really expect to get more from less. There are plenty of technologies to try including Chatter, instant messaging, internal communities, etc. You best start establishing priorities and get busy, or your employees will continue to trod around in the mud.
2. Bore Your Customers (Stagnasaurus)
Many companies communicate with customers and partners through emails and static websites. Consumers and business customers are accustomed to having information on-demand using Google, Wikipedia, Twitter and a host of other sources that have changed the way people find what they need. Companies not upping their game furnishing better information for their customers will soon be left behind.
How to avoid extinction? Invest in building a customer community or other web presence that is dynamic, searchable and easy-to-use. Some companies are even changing the way they market themselves. They offer products, services and community as the core of their offering, not just a “product”. When you buy a product or service from a company, you are forming a relationship with the company. The better experience the company provides aside from the core offering, the more likely they are to keep that customer and sell them more stuff.
3. Install Software (Technologicus Wrex)
It never ceases to amaze me how many companies are still out there insisting on purchasing software that “must” be behind the firewall. Like anything else, there are exceptions and I’m sure readers will pile on that this is crazy, but is it? The only two legitimate reasons to install software in a data center are security and performance. Well, I’ve got news for you. Both issues can be addressed without getting into the business of maintaining software.
How to avoid extinction? Invest in solutions that don’t require hardware, software, training, customization, etc.. Most business applications are now available through the Cloud and they are awesome. They are out there if you look hard enough, and meet 80% of your business needs. I’m willing to bet most of them are more secure than your data center.
Evolve and Thrive
These three areas are critically important for companies to improve in this environment. All are often ignored and difficult to pin down with a measurable business case, hence why they don’t get funding. In economic times like these, companies put off investments of this nature because the benefits are difficult to measure with precision; this is true. You could make the same case for management training. Companies invest millions of dollars training managers, but how can you measure if someone is a better manager? Finanical results, employee retention, and other kinds of metrics are used, but can they be linked back to particular training class or skill; I don’t think so. Most companies make a leap of faith that investing in their people and training will yield benefits in other areas. I submit the same logic holds to investing in the three areas listed above.
Where do you think companies should be investing to stave off extinction?