Is Technology the Answer to Your Business Problems?

Elkhan Shabanov

December 19, 2018

The short answer is NO.

Technology alone will not solve your business problems. Except in some rare cases when your company is built around patented technology and the whole business model relies on breakthrough innovation. With these cases being so few and far between, why do we so often think that our business challenges can be easily solved with a technological solution?  Often you hear “We need a new CRM…”, “Reporting System needs replacement….”, “We need a new Mobile App….” or we need a particular brand or technology in that sentence. Fast forward thousands of dollars spent on a new CRM, Mobile App, Reporting System, or whatever technical solution that you may have thought would work, but the business problem remains unanswered.

How often have you heard this statement?

My two decades worth of experience, having worked in different industries like telecom, in financial services, and healthcare, has taught me to avoid including a solution in the problem statement. Another hard lesson learned was to separate the technology aspect and focus on the business challenge at hand.

Take for example a recent project that Digicode worked on:

As with many projects we have worked on, this project started with a simple need: A need to create an online portal where patients can self-register and can select an available appointment slot at their nearest clinic. Sounds simple enough?

The client was confident that this simple project would not only increase customer satisfaction but would also reduce the workload on their operation and support staff. Once version one was ready we sent it out to a few clinics to test and the clinics responded. Requirements changed, they added more rules, data points, and flows. Does this sound familiar?

It was time to stop and reassess the situation. Trying to change a technology conversation into a business one is not easy, but it is necessary. Even I as a vendor feel obligated to do so. In this example we were able to get to the point – our client’s business model was built on the idea of maximum utilization of their office, meaning that patient rooms need to be in use most of the time. They also expected a very high utilization rate for their doctors while taking into consideration their specialization, new patients, follow-ups, etc.

Understanding the business problem opens the doors for different solutions. This project wasn’t about an online appointment scheduling portal anymore. It was about orchestrating a process in a way that new and existing patients will flow at a proper rate to doctors and clinics that are available in the area. It also was a way to give clinic staff the ability to place patients in rooms that were most suitable for the doctor for the duration of their visit. Alas, this was also about visibility and transparency that will provide clear and precise information about the performance of each location and members of their staff.

Another interesting question we must ask ourselves: Does the technology have to solve the entire business problem?

Again the short answer is – NO.

It’s very simple. When a technologist gets a task, they will be looking for a way to deliver your task from start to finish by building a technological solution for it. So, the responsibility lies with the business leaders to identify where and when technology can be replaced by some other method. The reasoning behind it stems from two basic elements: cost and time. On some occasions, technology can provide fantastic automation for your business process, but it will take time and money, sometimes a very long time and a lot of money. But we shouldn’t be afraid of implementing manual steps into an otherwise fully automated process, especially if it gets us to the market faster, beating our competition. The same goes for the cost of automation being greater or comparable to a manual operation. Unfortunately, I often see technology leaders completely locked on finding a pure technological solution that they ignore other options.

Here at Digicode, we have the unique ability to not only provide you with world-class technology services but can also help with your business challenges. We have the capabilities to build for you teams that can work offline to help you with the process. All this so we can support your business goals and become your trusted partner.

Check out our other Thought Leadership pieces.

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