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This article is by Featured Blogger David Chou from his Global Healthcare CIO column. Republished with the author’s permission.
There’s no question that today’s society relies heavily on technology. In fact, few businesses can operate today without some technology use in the business and its operations. Many companies have found great success by transitioning to software/technology companies, and it’s a trend that’s likely to continue in the future. Every company should begin changing their mentality about business operations. This is a follow up to my previous video and observation for healthcare companies to transition towards becoming a technology company. Here are ten steps to keep in mind as you begin the transition process.
#1: Conduct an analysis of your business and operations.
Before you can make any changes to your company, it’s important to understand what’s happening in your business. This analysis should include your company’s position in the industry and market at this time. The more detailed this information is, the easier it will be to develop a new strategy moving forward. This analysis should also include your current technology strategy. Analyzing your current strategy will help you understand what you’re already doing to move into the technology industry in your organization.
#2: Conduct a detailed market and industry analysis.
Once you know how your company is doing, you should look at what’s happening in the industry and market. Identifying trends in your business sector can help you understand your company’s position in the market and what may be coming in the future. This is especially important if your industry is already transitioning into technology and software. If so, it means your competitors are likely making the same transition you are, or they may already have transitioned into a software/technology company. You should include a detailed competitor analysis in the market and industry analysis for this purpose.
#3: Conduct a detailed analysis of the role of technology in your market and industry.
The only way to know how your company can transition to a software/technology company is to know how technology is impacting your business as well as the market and industry your business operates in. Technology is changing business in some surprising ways, and some of these changes might open doors to new and innovative solutions for your customers. The more you know about how technology is impacting your market and industry, the easier it will be to decide what changes need to be made to your organization through the new strategy.
#4: Conduct a detailed analysis of your customers’ needs and habits, especially as they relate to technology.
The habits, behaviors, and needs of your customers are an important part of the transition process to a software/technology company. Knowing what your customers want and do shapes your operations and the customer experience. Since technology impacts these behaviors, understanding their behaviors will help you make changes in your operations. For example, this analysis may reveal that your customers prefer online customer service instead of via telephone. This information can guide your new strategy as you transition to a software/technology company.
#5: Look at how your operations and customers’ needs intersect with technology.
There may be fewer changes needed than you think! Looking at the way you already do things and how technology is already incorporated into your business can give you a starting place for your transition to a tech-based mentality. You may be able to build on what’s already there instead of starting everything new. For example, you may only need to update some of your practices to be more in line with current technology instead of incorporating all new technology solutions.
#6: Look at how you can augment what you’re already doing.
Once you know what you’re already doing, think about ways you can expand on it to transition your company to a technology/software company. The use of technology in your company can open new opportunities for vertical integration for your products or services. Knowing how you’re already using technology can help you determine where you can expand into new but similar technology areas in your business operations.
#7: Maintain your differentiation.
Think about what your company does that’s different from its competitors. This should not be lost in the transition to a technology/software company. Instead, examine ways to use your differentiation to strengthen your digital presence and operations. That way, you won’t be playing catch-up with competitors and instead creating your own place in the digital marketplace within your industry.
#8: Stay forward-focused in developing your new strategy.
Technology is fast-paced and innovative. Even looking back ten years, you can see how much technology has changed and advanced. When you transition to a software/technology company, it’s important to continue looking forward when you develop a business strategy. Don’t build your plan based on what is happening now but look at what’s coming to guide what you want to do in the organization.
#9: Don’t limit technology to what you offer your customers.
Technology affects every part of society, including how companies operate behind the scenes. Incorporating technology into the way your company works can innovate operations as well as streamline your work to provide benefits to your customers. Don’t ignore what your employees can do in digital spaces to make their jobs more effective and efficient for the company.
#10: Don’t overlook partnerships.
If your company has limitations in its transition to a technology/software company, think about how you can team up with an existing technology company to supplement your products and services with their technology and software. This will pool the knowledge and strengths of both companies to position your business in the technology space.
This video describes what I saw at a healthcare conference where every C suite leader presented a technology solution as their competitive advantage. Let me know your thoughts about this transition.