Technology continues to be a game changer when it comes to business operations. So it’s no surprise that deciding when and what to purchase is critical. Investing in the best new technology allows you to enhance your business and be one step ahead of your competitors. But being among the first to adopt new technology comes with some risks and challenges as well.
How do you balance the benefits and risks?
In other words, how do know whether you have chosen to be on the cutting edge or the bleeding edge? It’s important to distinguish between the two – cutting edge technology is new and fully developed, versus bleeding edge technology that is so new that it hasn’t been completely proven and has a greater risk of failure. Clearly, cutting edge is the safer position, but the hard part is knowing which is which, so that when you do make a choice, even if you choose bleeding edge technology, you know it and have accepted the balance of risk and reward. It comes down to this; make the right decision and you will enhance your operation and jump ahead of your competition. Guess wrong and you may end up with the equivalent of a Betamax or Webvan.
How do you decide?
It’s easy to be distracted by the dazzle of new technology, but regardless of the technology you choose, the guiding principle should always be benefit to your operation and your customers. Stay focused on improvements to your operational efficacy, and you will always have a return on investment. Keep an eye on the needs and wants of your customers, and sure enough, you will stay a step ahead without stumbling. And when you can leverage technology to do both? You have a double win!
We see these double wins in the industry today with things like web self-service. Customers are looking to do more outside of normal business hours. Offering self-service through the web gives them the ability to be their own CSR – view their account, pay their bill, or schedule a delivery or service call in the middle of the night. Take the extra step to provide this in a mobile app, and you’ve made it even better. With the right technology you’ve improved your business efficiency and met a current customer need. That’s a double win!
The litmus test
It’s no accident that the hallmark of successful technology choices is that they reinforce your business rules, solidifying your business rather than turning it upside down. The cutting edge can be both challenging and rewarding. So look for technologies that provide something that is missing from your business today, reinforce your business rules and meet a customer need. This is the litmus test for success. It will help pull important considerations to the surface and help you make the best decisions for the future.
For more information on cutting edge trends in the industry today, see our blog, Capitalize on Emerging Fuel Delivery and Convenience Store Trends.)