Nowadays, businesses need to cultivate serious competitive advantages if they plan to grow and thrive sustainably in the global marketplace. So where do you begin? Much of the guidance made openly available is either conceptual or practical. Unfortunately, many people focus too heavily on the practical lessons at the expense of the conceptual ones without realizing how much the two dovetail.
It’s often easiest for individuals to begin with conceptual topics before gradually transitioning into related practical applications. Those who reverse the order risk implementing things inappropriately because they failed to adequately grasp the motivating rationale.
There’s much more to success than simply getting to the top, and preserving that market leadership is a more onerous undertaking. Consider starting with these three possible topics of (1) innovating to differentiate, (2) knowing the target customer, and (3) continually finding ways to reinvent the business.
Innovation isn’t some empty buzzword, but rather an unconventional mindset coupled with a steady state of experimentation. At this point, the public consensus is to innovate with a mix of technology and business practices. For instance, Business Insider shared three ways technology could yield improvements, pitching customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, business intelligence software, and finance/accounting tools. You may likely recognize some if not all those terms. These technologies are fairly commonplace at this point, yet countless organizations struggle to use them effectively.
Forbes emphasizes the complexities of using business technology, claiming that “the only thing worse than having technology in-house, collecting dust, is using technology without a plan, just to show that it’s in use.” Anyone who tries that approach is essentially playing with fire. Having a sound strategy is key, especially because there are always human factors involved. That’s why you should go further than installation. Business leaders should internalize how the technology could impact the customer, and remember the importance of building long-term customer relationships.
Fortunately, it’s easy to build meaningful customer relationships thanks to big data and business intelligence. Businesses can harness predictive data to drive positive outcomes, and the implications of extracting insights from collected data are profound. No longer do companies have to rely on speculation and market observations. Real-time access to customer interaction data is an unparalleled benefit, however, businesses still need to shore up on data integration.
You should also understand the power of data integration. Since many companies rely on a host of different technologies, many of which collect and produce large amounts of data, the issue tends to be finding ways to consolidate and organize everything. This again points to the importance of having a plan ahead of time. Companies forced to retroactively address data integration problems stemming from fragmented systems will have a difficult time and incur considerable risk.
The good news is that business leaders don’t have to do any of this alone. There’s no shortage of service providers that now specialize in data integrations. Liaison Technologies is just one prime example, and technologists there recently published a report about variables crucial to digital transformation. Many of the takeaways revolve around data integrations that could inform decision-making and streamline otherwise cumbersome activities. External experts allow businesses to focus on core competencies instead of dividing their efforts and diminishing the quality of the product or service. In other words, don’t underestimate the implicit value of reliable third parties.