Charting the Course: How strategy and technology work in tandem to take your business where you want it to go
How strategy and technology work in tandem to take your business where you want it to go
As an enterprise leader, you want your company to succeed. Of course, that means you need a business strategy. And in today’s digitally driven market, you know technology will play a significant role in achieving your goals.
Having a sound business strategy is make-or-break—it’s what separates the big successes from the non-starters. It’s crucial not only to have a clear strategy but also to be able to communicate it clearly to get your entire team on board.
And yet, very often when business leaders are asked about their business strategy, they struggle to state it in a way that is succinct and powerful. Why? Because business strategy, as a concept, is huge and amorphous—easy to define in the abstract, but challenging to form, articulate, and execute in a concrete way.
So first, to paraphrase author Raymond Carver, let’s talk about what we talk about when we talk about strategy.
Simply put, strategy is a method or plan of action devised to achieve a major or overarching goal. Or, as Forbes defines it, “a long-term plan that you create for your company to reach the desired, future state you envision.”
The process of developing a solid business strategy has many components, including defining your vision and clear long-term objectives; making fact-based decisions from good data and thorough, accurate research; being precise about what you do, and who your target customer is; understanding the market and your competitive advantage; identifying opportunity; making a plan that specifies individual steps and tactics; and building in flexibility to accommodate external forces and adapt to change. Above all, your business strategy needs to align with your organization’s overarching goals.
There are many available downloadable templates that any company can use for developing a business strategy. The problem is, in the effort to simplify the process and make it widely applicable, these templates tend to be too generic to be actionable. Every organization is unique and needs a customized approach to business strategy.
Another pitfall for many companies is fragmentation—the tendency to silo the various strategies within the big strategy. It’s vital to recognize that all strategies—financial, marketing, sales, HR, and so on—not only serve the overall business strategy, they are elements and ingredients of it.
This is especially true of technology strategy.
When it comes to technology, many companies have taken a piecemeal approach over time, gradually amassing an array of systems and tools that perform individual tasks, solve specific problems, or serve a single department. In many cases, certain technologies were adopted simply because they were hot items at the moment, compelling because they were being used by competitors. In other words, there was never a cohesive tech strategy at all—let alone one that clearly and directly supported and forwarded the most fundamental organizational goals.
Disjointed systems are inherently inefficient, creating laborious manual tasks and a disconnect in both data and operations among departments. To make matters worse, typically these legacy systems are rapidly becoming less effective and efficient, more difficult and expensive to maintain, impossible to integrate, or totally obsolete.
Your technology strategy should streamline, integrate, and synchronize all systems and data across all departments, front and back office; but above all, it too must align with your company’s overarching goals. In fact, your technology strategy should not be separate and siloed, but function as core input to the comprehensive business strategy, incorporated as a vital component at every level of that plan.
Among many other factors, an effective technology strategy will:
- Identify key stakeholders and build a team to manage the implementation of your tech strategy (in many cases, a combination of internal staff and external experts)
- Review and understand your current systems and tools; identify problem areas as well as processes that are working well and supporting business objectives
- Create a detailed implementation roadmap (steps, projects, priorities, tools, budgets) for a specified period (typically 1-3 years)
- Create a framework of controls (For ex: What is the decision-making process? How do we handle challenges that arise? How do we measure success?)
- Plan for ongoing management, review, and refinement of your technology strategy.
Ideally, your organization’s strategy and technology are developed in tandem, structured to work in seamless partnership and reciprocity—the overall strategy guides technology decisions, and your technology expressly supports and delivers business goals. And ultimately, your technology solution should provide a comprehensive, clear, user-friendly dashboard that allows you to visualize progress and key metrics vis-a-vis your business goals.
At Lukasa, our veteran business strategy and technology experts take a partnership approach to every project. We work side by side with your organization’s leadership and existing team to gain a 360-degree understanding of your objectives, needs, and pain points. We start with where you want to go, and how you want to run your company. From there, working in manageable, demystified increments, we hone your strategy, identify the most effective tools for your unique enterprise, and develop custom unifying technology to modernize, optimize, and align every process to your goals.
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Lukasa empowers small-to-medium-sized businesses by designing and implementing custom business and technology solutions that drive efficiency, productivity, and innovation, enabling them to stay ahead in today’s rapidly-changing competitive landscape.