Technology: It's a Means, Not an End
Technology Comes Second
Stick with us while we explain what we mean when we say we see technology as a means to an end.
We've been talking a little about Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) lately. While we promote the benefits of CRM in its ability to automate and store things like online orders and conversations with customers, we want to be clear. When working with clients, we promote CRMs only to the extent that they would be useful in achieving specific goals. For example, some businesses, based on the size of their workforce and the nature of their relationships with customers, may save money and time by processing orders manually as opposed to automating their existing practices. Maybe what's needed is more server space to store the information employees input manually, not a new CRM.
Rather than implementing a CRM because it's good software, we will implement a CRM if it helps our client manage their customer service in a way that makes sense for them. To put it simply, we help our clients determine what they want to achieve and then drive technology solutions around those goals.
But First, Goals.
We don't approach clients and tell them they need a better server because it has a more powerful CPU, more RAM, and more storage. We approach clients and ask: What are you short term goals? What are your long term goals? What processes do you want to improve in your workforce? What is working well already?
Once we know what your specific goals are, we can talk about using technology as a means to reach them. If you want to increase your workforce by 25%, we can add server capacity to make sure everyone has enough storage space. If you want to avoid downtime because employees are in your plant 24/7, we can invest in software that ensure your servers are always backed up.
We're not presenting better, stronger, or faster technology as a steadfast solution to our clients' operational problems. In fact, there may even be places where we can scale back existing technologies to save physical space and money. If the problem is disjointed customer service, the answer may lie in banding together with updated training and perks for good service, not a shiny, new CRM. If the problem is lack of security, maybe the first step is bringing employees to the table to discuss ways they can personally help protect data.
First, think about the solution you're aiming for, then begin to work out the technology and other processes necessary to reach that goal. A comprehensive plan will combat the fear that you're not automating fast enough. Stay alert to automation options, but like a good high school English paper, always ask if they relate back to the thesis.