Think Like a CIO

By Sid Bala, an EO Chicago member, and president and CEO of alligatortek

A company using technology to run their business may not have a CIO, but each member of the team should think like one. In today’s business landscape, the success and profitability of a company is more dependent on smarter IT and new software. In the day-to-day operation of your business, system and process bottlenecks highlight opportunities for growth and a better bottom line. Do you know how to recognize these opportunities, and how to leverage software solutions that transform bottlenecks from a negative into a positive? Here are five business values where custom software can improve results.

  1. Delivery Value: For many companies, the finish line is delivering a product or service to a customer. In between taking orders and confirming customer satisfaction, a lot can go wrong. Data loses its value when a person does the analysis. Instead, leverage a “smart” system that allows for faster decision-making and improves delivery time.
  1. Revenue Generation Value: Software can improve communication throughout a process, positively impacting revenue potential. Relying on people to take phone calls keeps companies on defense, with an eye purely on reducing churn rates. Instead, shift the focus away from “net new” gain to maintain revenue and address bottlenecks. Automated and/or cloud offerings can also elevate the operation from a transactional mode to a partner mode with suppliers and customers. With the right approach to manage communications, scheduling and inventory, your existing system can reveal fresh ways to generate new and more revenue.
  1. Opportunity Cost Value: Reviewing soft costs—how much time an employee takes to complete a task, for example—can reveal an opportunity to improve the bottom line through process automation. Busy work that takes a salesperson out of the field for 25% of their day may cost one quarter of their compensation on activity that isn’t directly related to closing deals. Some companies choose to make that task easier. Others will create a solution that increases sales productivity by 25%. The outcome, with a solution built on value-added improvements versus simply automating a time-intensive task, can lead to 10 times greater ROI and increase the bottom line.
  1. Competitive Advantage Value: Fixing bottlenecks with software solutions can make you more competitive by increasing operational speed and efficiency, but the degrees of improvement may just be catching you up to industry standards or customer expectations. The real competitive advantage comes when you leverage the power of data analysis that comes with automated processes. With well-defined data population and established tracking indicators and reports, custom software can catapult you to the next level by leading to smarter choices by workers on the factory floor and in the field. Using intelligence to innovate on labor use, product development and delivery will result in a more profitable approach to operations.
  1. Shareholder Value: Whether the primary goal is to grow by increasing revenue, profitability or both, technology investments should not be taken lightly. Viewing only one impact from a bottleneck (such as speed or waste) can obscure your view of a significant bottom line improvement. Deep and lasting value comes when you place a higher premium on the quality of the solution than on the drive to address one bottleneck in your business. Ensuring value from your investment comes from taking a strategic approach to defining solutions and prioritizing their implementation.

When you put on the CIO hat, think about how technology can improve your company, starting with these five business values. Custom software can improve your bottom line through focused solutions that influence revenue and profitability, generating a deeper ROI. Continued expenses to keep your systems up-to-date indicate that the systems you put in place yesterday no longer support current business needs. Identifying business objectives is critical to implementing a scalable solution that will support the future of your business. Evaluate your business needs to expose your bottlenecks and reveal the solutions that will put your business on a path of continued success.

Categories: Best Practices FINANCES Technology


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