Is it time to take a different view on technology investment strategy?

Driven by growth in software and IT services revenue, worldwide technology spending is forecast to reach US$3.7trillion in 2018, up 4.5% from 2017, according to the latest forecast by Gartner.

The appetite to invest in wireless technology is reaching levels of 90% according to recent research, and globally, businesses do agree on the top reasons for why they are investing in technology.

However, the importance of investing varies when viewed from the perspective of senior-level executives compared with those on the frontline of an organisation.

This digital transformation has resulted in businesses becoming far more reliant on technology to manage the day to day operations and for efficient decision making. To be successful in this environment, organisations must evolve to be smarter, stronger and faster than they are today, enabled by changes across three dimensions: organisation and talent; business and customer; and process and technology.

Those leading the change will have a distinct advantage over their competitors — a performance gap that will continue to grow as emerging technologies and digital channels offer further insight using data from both within and outside the enterprise.

Organisation and talent

The business environment continues to demand richer communication and collaboration for employees who are increasingly mobile or distributed. Organisations are increasingly deploying devices for employee use, with recent research from SOTI revealing that 76% of employees agree the business they work for has invested in mobile technology to better their working experience and improve the ways in which they do their job.

Mobility and flexibility are transforming the way businesses and industries harness the collective insight of their workforce, utilising mobile technologies to increase the efficiency of business processes, improve decision making and deliver accurate information in real time. 86% of senior management employees agree that the company they work for is investing in mobile technology to stand out from the competition.

However, only 55% of those at entry level agree, so as the evidence shows, the investment strategy is not filtering through from the top to the frontline. If a business invests well even in basic technology, it can instantly boost staff motivation and productivity as well as appeal to prospective customers.

Employees expect an easy, quick and efficient experience whenever they use a device, whether onsite or remotely. For most businesses, the workforce is its largest investment. From motivating and developing talent to creating an engaged workforce, the effectiveness of employee management has a direct impact on business results and competitiveness.

Business and customer

In any industry, technology is a key component to understand and meet market needs and customer expectations.  In fact, 66% of employees agree the business they work for is investing in devices and apps to better understand what its customers and clients are doing.

A new dynamic exists in which customers now expect service providers to have a deeper level of knowledge of their needs and future needs. This means the quality of the customer experience is of the utmost importance. Customers are demanding a connected and streamlined experience, and now more than ever, organisations need digital intelligence to properly understand their customers with the agility to respond to changing needs and market dynamics at pace.

Technology investment is critical no matter the size of an enterprise, because of its central role in today’s business world. However, research is indicating that smaller businesses may be falling short. Only 58% of employees in smaller businesses (50-249) believes that their company is investing in the technology to better understand customers compared with 73% of larger businesses (500-999).

It seems that as quickly as new technologies come to market (making it easier for businesses to provide customer service) the number of channels through which businesses interact with customers and the complexity and cost of those interactions is increasing.

That’s why it’s so important to recognise how investing in a mobile strategy can help to anticipate customer needs, tailor business processes to best serve customers, and ultimately improve the efficiency of a business.

Process and technology

The role of IT has evolved from being a historical provider of technology to challenging processes and leading the digital changes across organisations on a global scale. Reflecting this, 69% of employees believe their company is investing in mobile devices to differentiate themselves from the competition.

The market has shifted, and businesses are now embracing mobility as a game-changer, lowering the overall cost of IT investment by reducing device costs, making business operations more efficient and making employees more productive –  key elements in growing revenue and increasing profitability.

Leveraging a mobile strategy has many distinct advantages including a higher level of employee responsiveness and engagement.

Today, digital transformation is infiltrating every aspect of an organisation and as a result, technology demands across departments have skyrocketed. It is now critical for senior executives to effectively manage those out in the field.

Therefore, a comprehensive strategy is needed to empower the workforce, equipping them with the tools to work remotely and completely changing the way that certain departments communicate and operate. This allows the company to transform the business, unleashing endless possibilities as a result and helps to reach critical growth for their business.

With the gauntlet laid down for businesses to facilitate more mobile working and to make the process as effective as possible, it’s clear that companies that choose not to embrace mobility as part of their strategy could find themselves playing catch-up.

Written by Richard Smith, regional manager, SOTI