The Reality About Technology and Business Growth: Three Activities You Must Master
Problem: Some companies continue to operate with old ideas, systems, and processes. However, because of the digital transformation, leaders must embrace what technology has to offer.
Opportunity: For those business leaders who fully embrace data and its derivatives, only they have a chance to succeed. The reality is that humans cannot supersede technology. So, it’s vital to incorporate tech into your business.
Resolution: Business leaders who want business growth have to rethink their operational systems. Moreover, they have to align around three critical outcomes: 1) Data, 2) Measures; and, 3) Analytics. Let’s dig into each of these areas to demonstrate why you need to master each.
I want to share an example of how technology affects your business’s growth. Perhaps you have a writing team for your sales and marketing. If you do, the chances are high that someone has Grammarly. It is an AI-powered writing assistant. A member of my team has noticed a few things recently on how the platform could now rewrite whole sections of copy. Meaning, artificial intelligence has gotten a lot stronger. Also, a weekly report gets delivered with all of the metrics for the writer’s performance.
For example, metrics show how much more productive our writer is using Grammarly than others. Another stat is how our writer’s accuracy compares to others, the unique words our writer uses, and the number of words the writer proofed in the program (precisely 5,251,651). It also informs the writer about the 3 most common mistakes made (e.g., missing commas in compound sentences). Our writer could not possibly synthesize all of that information, if not for AI. However, everything the writer does gets parsed, analyzed, and reviewed because of AI.
For those business leaders who fully embrace data and its derivatives, only they have a chance to succeed.
How does what a writer writes impact business growth? As we know, we operate in the digital world. It’s a necessity of business today, even if you manage franchises of brick and mortar stores. You want to market to your prospects and leads, no matter what your industry.
Therefore, the content management ecosystem you create must be in a digital form primarily to help you drive people to your business. Every blog, resource, social media post, webinar, or email, etc. is an opportunity for you to engage with the public, customers, and prospects. Content creation is just one example of how technology is in every area of your business, so let’s dive into the three elements to master.
1. Data is the Foundation of Your Business—Not the CEO
There was a time when the experience of the business leader was paramount. In the 21st Century, people got an education and perhaps went on to college and business school. Universities made a fortune teaching future business leaders in all aspects of business, including finance, sales, and leadership theory.
Once the students graduated, they obtained jobs that tested their mettle. It was the start of their experiential learning process, which we call experience. If they were smart enough to position themselves in the revenue and business growth areas, they earned good money. Others, such as Bill Gates, Rachael Ray, and Jan Kuom, took the entrepreneurial (non-degreed) path and made millions.
Data information matters more than experience. With data information as your cornerstone, you have the chance to compete against anyone.
Irrespective of the approach, experience mattered. The more each leader achieved in impacting business growth and profits with their ideas, the more success for the business and the leader. Therefore, for much of the 20th Century, the experience of a leader mattered—almost more than anything else, which is why the C-suite came to make so much money in corporations. However, those times changed, and disruption arrived in the C-suite.
Most of it is due to technology. And, one has to wonder for corporations if in, say 20 years, senior executives will have earnings that so radically outpace that of their teams throughout the company. The reality is that by embracing data information and technology, wholly, even a small business could compete against the likes of a company like Amazon. In other words, today, data information matters more than experience. With data information as your cornerstone, you have the chance to compete against anyone.
2. Measures and Metrics Help Drive the Growth of Your Business
As stated, data is now principal—even to the executives. It is impossible to make decisions that help drive business growth without information and data. For example, you need to understand if your marketing is reaching and helping to convert sales. The only way to understand that is by measuring it and drilling down on performance.
Another instance is your team. With increased virtual teams, the whole culture dynamic shifted. How you manage, communicate, and get projects completed is wholly different in a digital space than in an office. Moreover, it’s better, because you could measure it.
The information you obtain from every digital platform provides the measurement you need to judge whether you genuinely progress.
Therefore, measurement and metrics are a vital aspect of any successful business today. Simply, what is not measured will fail—and not in the right (i.e., learning) way. It will cost money and expend resources that could have instead gotten redirected elsewhere. As a business leader focused on business growth, you have to challenge your management team and your staff. You need to ask every functional area of your business what it takes to integrate technology into their areas fully.
For instance, every applicant who applies for a job should get screened first through AI. Also, every marketing message and ad that launches should rely on digital platforms for gauging robust metrics. And it also means that even your finance team should work with platforms to measure performance for cost-saving measures and optimization. The information you obtain from every digital platform provides the measurement you need to judge whether you genuinely progress.
3. Your Entire Team Needs to Get Comfortable with Analytics
Finally, the third leg of the stool is analytics. By definition, “analytics uses data and math to answer business questions, discover relationships, predict unknown outcomes and automate decisions.” In short, this is your competitive advantage. Think of it as your secret sauce.
One of the most defining and consequential aspects of AI is its predictive understanding. In other words, because of the power of technology, you have systems that predict how customers will respond to specific messaging. You also have talent optimization platforms that help you design teams that behave in a particular fashion, to drive business growth.
In other words, the guesswork that used to happen, or conclusions based on history and experience alone is out.
With the tools available to any small or medium-sized business, you have the chance for analytics that inform you—before you make decisions. Once you make decisions, you can drill down into the information to truly understand what’s working and what isn’t. In other words, the guesswork that used to happen, or conclusions based on history and experience alone is out. However, making decisions based on what will happen, but hasn’t yet, and automating that which took time is now a fundamental must for business.
Data, Measures, and Analytics
Going back to our team writer, understand that everything—even copywriting—is measured. However, that’s just one small aspect of business growth. As a leader, you have no choice any longer about embracing data and technology because your competitor is investing in technology. Moreover, everyone on your team has to immerse themselves in all things digital and become data evangelists.
You have no choice any longer about embracing data and technology because your competitor is investing in technology.
If you seek an unfair advantage in business, look to technology. Your business could go up against any corporation because data, metrics measurement, and analytics occur all day and night long, 365 days a year. Tech does not take a nap, or get sick, or need a day off. It’s there every moment of the day to anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time. If you master that wholly, you beat your competition.
Ben Stroup is Chief Growth Architect and President at Velocity Strategy Solutions where he helps leaders design, develop, and deploy smarter business growth strategies. Ben is a futurist, disruptor, and data champion. He leads a team that takes a structured learning approach to business challenges, which allows them to assist leaders in bridging the gap between ideas, innovation, and revenue—taking ideas from mind to market.
Velocity Strategy Solutions is an on-demand, next-generation business strategy and management consulting firm which provides clients with a relentless focus on data, execution, and results that positively impact the bottom line. Velocity delivers integrated people and revenue strategies combined with a disciplined approach to growth architecture that elevates the capacity of leaders, teams, and organizations to succeed and win more.