Council Post: The Problem With Technology

Head of marketing at Lightico. Proven business leader driving tech in enterprises. Born into Fortune 500s — now building tech companies.

What company these days doesn’t want to adopt the latest technology? Many companies today are like the proverbial kid in the candy store, reaching for the latest tools that come with shiny buzzwords like “AI” and “machine learning.” But while embracing technology can bring a lot of positive changes, the right technology is needed — not just the latest one. And all too often, companies lack solid criteria according to which to choose their tech stack. 

I will share some observations of common shortcomings of technologies based on my experiences working with banks, insurers, telecoms and companies. Having worked with them and heard their experiences, I’ve come to identify the types of technologies that are more likely to provide a high ROI. 

Here are some of the most common technology pitfalls, as well as the characteristics of technologies that are more likely to deliver. Despite high expectations, many technologies:

1. Are Static And Inflexible

Many tools are great for a limited time and then quickly outgrow their purpose. For example, portal apps, which are web-accessible tools that deliver additional services, are time-bound and not future-proof. Core systems also frequently have this issue. They become such an ingrained part of a company’s backend that they are cumbersome and expensive to adjust, let alone replace. 

2. Promote Painful IT Siloes 

Many technologies are not easily integrated and thus promote siloes. For example, the analytics team may be able to generate business intelligence insights in the form of quarterly reports. Yet by the time these reports become available to the larger organization, they are already less relevant. Technology that isn’t real-time, that doesn’t make information widely available and actionable in the moment loses its purpose. Systems that don’t speak to each other in a holistic, timely way make it harder for different teams to coordinate their efforts. Ultimately, these IT siloes hurt end-customers.

3. Serve As Mere Point Solutions

Point solutions may be based on the latest technology, but they won’t be effective if they overlook the context of the greater problem or journey. For instance, an organization may allow customers to begin a process online, but then divert them to a physical location to complete it. Such technology will only frustrate customers. Imagine the frustration of customers who are able to add an e-signature to their documents, but must print and mail those documents — breaking the digital flow.

4. Prohibitive To Master

It’s never a good sign if the technology is too complex for the buyer to operate and fully own. Many technologies require involvement from the vendor or the business’ IT department every time the project owner wants to make a change to a process. Until the IT department gets around to it, business or compliance requirements may go unfulfilled. It also seriously jeopardizes a company’s efficiency goals.

How Can Companies Gain Enduring Value From Technology?

Companies looking to adopt new technologies should first and foremost pay attention to how those technologies fit into their wider tech stack. Technology, no matter how buzzy and exciting, will not have a lasting impact unless it seamlessly supports existing systems and processes. Moreover, technology should be intuitive for users to adopt and not require particular technical finesse. 

Here are some characteristics of innovative technology companies should look out for:

1. Part Of An Automated Digital Workflow

Automated workflows allow project owners to set up business rules that keep processes flowing in a desired sequence. Business rules can apply conditional logic to a particular step as well as between steps in the larger process. For instance, a company may require certain documents from customers who meet predefined criteria. Automated workflows can be configured so that agents are prompted to ask for certain documents from customers but not others. This eliminates ambiguity and agent variability, as well as boosts compliance — especially in industries beholden to strict KYC requirements. 

2. Easy To Integrate

Technologies that integrate with existing software via API allow businesses to sell to and provide service to their customers immediately and effectively from any channel. Buyers should be able to easily integrate the technology into current workflows, CRMs, agent toolbars and third-party business applications.

3. Promotes Completion From One Channel

Tools should work seamlessly together to orchestrate all required customer tasks in real-time. For example, if a customer begins a task from their mobile phone, they should be able to complete it from that same channel without being bounced to different touchpoints. That one channel should handle their end-to-end needs, ideally in a single session.

4. A Breeze To Operate And Use

The technology should be clean and intuitive to configure, allowing project owners to make changes to workflows in a simple drag-and-drop interface. The agent’s or associate’s view should be similarly clean and easy to work with, with basic training sufficient. Finally, the end-customer should enjoy an attractive and easy-to-navigate interface. 

The Takeaway

As companies become more discerning in the kind of technology they choose to adopt, they’ll want to look for technologies and solutions that are frictionless, easy to integrate and easy to update or replace. The heavy, core systems of yesteryear are no longer ideal to meet the needs of modern businesses and the customers they serve. By adopting new technology that fits well into a greater ecosystem, businesses will be able to efficiently achieve the KPIs that matter most to them.


Forbes Technology Council is an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives. Do I qualify?


Source Article