Technology’s impact on line of business can’t be undersold.
Just look at tools such as robotic process automation, software that streamlines warehouse storage and speed of delivery by automating redundant, time-consuming human tasks. Then, of course, there’s Amazon, which uses technology to power its signature two-day shipping model. Where retailers try to use immediacy to market in-store pickups, Amazon prioritizes customer experience and convenience, bolstering both by its commitment to technology.
Each example illustrates the line-of-business improvements triggered by technology, yet some leaders won’t account for those upgrades when allocating resources. Where does the disconnect come from? For starters, C-Suite members are sometimes unable to keep up with the speed of technological innovation. And when they do look for new business solutions, they tend to limit themselves by keeping IT and other departments out of the loop until it’s time to implement the new strategies.
To best serve the customer and continue line-of-business growth, the C-Suite needs to openly communicate with other department heads and look at what competitors do. Follow these four steps:
Hire tech leaders with business insights. Nina Bjornstad, senior executive at Google UK, recently explained how technology trends are driving implementation and have been for decades. “I think we all have a responsibility to realize that the missing key ingredient [to technology advancement] is essentially us,” Bjornstad said. “We continue to work in exactly the same way that we’ve been doing for the past thirty years.”
Focus on actual business use cases and then identify the technology that can help overcome business challenges. Tech leaders who can balance innovative approaches with business applicability can devise line-of-business solutions that help their employees efficiently create effective solutions.
Remove silos between business and technology.When CEOs work to remove organizational barriers, ineffective and outdated processes become far more obvious. Some might want to keep those methods in place or tweak them, but that could just result in a regression to the line-of-business norm.
Instead, remove them and replace them with new processes that have clear ownership. When it’s apparent who is responsible for a certain process, it’s likelier to be maintained and stewarded by the individual or team designated to manage it.
Be open to customer insights. A Salesforce study found that seventy-six percent of customers expect their needs to be understood. Innovation in the line of business should be driven by customer feedback, so try adopting a startup mindset and giving customers what they want.
Validate needs with pilot programs, and pivot to meet market demands. When businesses become too big, they lose the ability to take calculated risks, so partner with agile startups to maintain an influx of fresh ideas.
Optimize processes, increase revenue, or save money. Guy Even Ezra, CEO of SimpleOrder, created an automatic inventory system to save restaurants time and money. Every sale of a dish automatically subtracts the ingredients involved to create it from the digital inventory, meaning there’s no need to manually check inventory levels for accuracy.
Three components matter to line of business: Competitive edge, time to market, and optimized profitability. Make sure your tech solutions check one — if not all — of these boxes to maintain long-term viability.
Technology changes quickly, and it’s easy for CEOs to blindly pursue new solutions in order to stay current. However, leaders who want real and lasting line-of-business impact must leverage technology that solves significant business needs instead of chasing after the tech that’s dominating the headlines.