Why are companies looking to technology to drive innovation?
by Patrick Harnois
Just about everything we thought we knew about the business world has turned on its head in recent years. The global economy is in flux; the old institutions have crumbled; the traditional funding has disappeared, with austerity the new buzzword – and yet new money is opening up new opportunities in the cloud, in digital, in mobility. The business truths learned on MBA courses and through years of experience are no longer valid. The West is no longer king – and the new opportunity – and threat - is no longer the East, but new markets in Latin America or Africa.
All of this means that competition is increasingly fragmented, hard to define, and hard to locate. And this makes it ever harder for corporations to define and differentiate themselves. Without clear baselines to react against, the sales and marketing organization has to enter uncharted waters - determining how and where business effort should be focused is increasingly complex – not least as emerging market expansion can bring with it increased regulatory and compliance concerns.
From the IT perspective, using technology to enable innovation is itself an interesting problem. IT infrastructure has itself undergone a step-change in recent years. The cloud is now real, fixed and mobile silos no longer exist, convergence is real, and consumer realities have completely changed expectations of how technology could, and should be used in the workplace. IT departments are struggling to balance user expectations with business needs, and increasingly are being integrated into the business itself, rather than sitting as a separate service group. Technology is the key to innovation, and innovative use of technology makes business transformation a reality.
So what can you learn from the common challenges shared with other business leaders trying to innovate through technology? Regardless of industry, or location, there are common objectives all business leaders share. These business leaders also identify common factors among business needs that are necessary in order to succeed, and it's not exactly rocket science. Organizations are asking for help in improving their efficiency and performance; for assistance in establishing firm, but flexible governance; end-to-end security, compliance and control; savings and risk sharing; mobilizing capabilities for increased competitive advantage; and innovation and know-how. There is an expectation that technology will be able to deliver these criteria. How an organization uses technology to achieve these goals is increasingly integral to its future business success.
In my next article, I'll outline some of the common factors organizations believe their business needs if it is to be successful in the future. It's not rocket science – but without these factors, their organization risks being stranded…