Business Strategy

How using Technology can Give Businesses a Competitive Advantage



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Technology is considered by many to be the backbone in the modern business environment. Almost every industry has been touched by technology in some shape or form, and today information technology (IT) is driven by business processes as opposed to just being equipment run in some basement facility.

Companies who do not embrace technological growth are going to endure a lot of hardship trying to remain competitive in their respective industries because rest assured their competitors are working hard to gain the advantage.

As a result many companies have to reevaluate their positions and see how IT can fit into their business. While a company's success is driven by what they want to make of it, those who do not evolve with technology may reach enough profit to remain sustainable and keep afloat, but they likely won't reach their potential.

Technology is pretty powerful tool and can offer a wealth of information if used strategically. When implemented with strategy in mind, IT can give a terrific competitive advantage.

Here are some good reasons why companies who use technology gain a competitive edge:

*Enhance Existing Operations

IT can be used to enhance your current business operations by streamlining task processes and putting them to automation. Some of the more mundane tasks which are time consuming can simply be automated and set to run almost seamlessly in the background.

Using IT for these kinds of processes can eliminate man-hours on tasks that don't require human intervention and saves network resources by eliminating data redundancy and keeping the integrity of data stored in relational databases.

*Save on Man-Hours

With automation, faster processing occurs and important data is available at everyone's fingertips. This saves a lot more time than if staff members had to dig through filing cabinets and other physical storage areas to find information.

Through the use of computers and specialized information systems, changes can be seen in real time and decision makers can be confident they are seeing the most up to date information rather than scanning through reports that quickly become outdated until new ones are generated.

Additionally, daily tasks are run more efficiently, and this ultimately saves time, money and cuts back on man-hours.

*New Innovation and Growth

Using technology for the routine tasks that don't necessarily require a human touch or a need for active decision making paves the road for more growth and innovation to grow the company. Automating certain processes frees up employees to focus on the business' core competencies and have more time to come up with new innovative ideas.

Many businesses are hesitant to take on the cost of technology if they have no system or if their systems are outdated and in need of a total overhaul. This resistance is understandable as it is never wise to invest in IT just to keep up with the Jones' business.

IT has to be a custom and good fit in order to be successful; the purchased equipment must be able to serve a purpose and be a part of the company's overall business plan.

That being said, perceiving technology as a steep expense (and yes it often is!), management may be better off instead viewing it as a potential opportunity and a way to gain a competitive advantage.

Plans to install new IT systems can succeed or fail depending on how the strategy is visualized and potential explored. Other companies are investing energy in remaining competitive in the market and those who do not embrace some sort of technology are not going to be able to remain in the same league as those who have found a good strategy with technology.

Many successful businesses have figured out how to use IT to their advantage and make it a part of their organization. These companies understand that technology is a powerful and strategic tool, and one which can help position the company to be at a competitive advantage when used thoughtfully.

More about this author: Leigh Goessl

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