What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “tech company”? For me, it’s household names like Google and Apple. At least it used to be.
Over the last several years, my definition of a tech company has been challenged, and changed. I’ve met with owners and executives of retail companies, logistics companies, law firms, and business service firms who’ve told me, “We’re a tech company.” And they’re right. I’ve come to realize that what defines a company is its strategic emphasis and resource allocation. These best-in-class companies are investing so significantly in their technology and technology infrastructure that they have, in fact, become tech companies.
This is a trend that’s only going to increase. Gartner reports that technology spending is expected to increase 3.9 percent in 2015, above and beyond an increase of 2.6 percent in 2014. And technology spending varies greatly by organization. Some invest in social media and marketing to help increase customer entrenchment and grow revenues. Some focus on expanding and enhancing their website and e-commerce. Others invest in business intelligence and data analytics to help them better understand their business and improve. Still others have investments that are more focused on wireless applications that allow their workforce to be more mobile. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how more companies than ever might start viewing themselves as tech companies.
If you don’t consider yourself a tech company, you might want to rethink your strategy. New technologies are proliferating so quickly that organizations simply can’t afford to keep postponing investments. And no matter what space you operate in, at least a segment of your competitors are stepping up to the plate. Even if you’re contemplating a technology investment, bear in mind that others are acting on it.
So what kinds of things should you consider? Here are a few questions to ask:
- Are you thinking broadly enough about your company? Are you adhering to “old-school” techniques when you should be embracing new technologies?
- How can technology improve your service or increase traction with customers?
- How can it make employees more effective?
- Is your website a differentiator? Does it attract and retain customers?
- What are the security challenges that go hand-in-hand with being a tech company?
- Are you using social media effectively?
- What are the opportunities and pitfalls of using technology to allow for a more remote/mobile workforce?
- What role could newer devices like tablets and wearable technologies play in your business? How do you discern practical from flashy?
Technology is evolving quickly, and there’s so much out there that it can get confusing fast. Our technology specialists are happy to review your strategy or help you develop a new one. The reality is this: an increasing number of traditional companies are becoming “tech companies.” The sooner you understand that and implement strategies to leverage technology, the better positioned for long-term success you’ll be.
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