Making the most of your 2019 technology budget
In recent years it has become critical for Medium Enterprises (MEs) to accurately analyse their technology-related spend to rather detail the desired value-generators. This value perspective aids the decision-making process and also ensures the spend is aligned with the desired organisational goals.
A beneficial side-effect of this analysis will also re-awaken an appreciation of the balance between projected market-need versus actual business-demand, empowering stakeholders to make better decisions on where to invest that hard-earned cash.
An optimally-functioning ME should also look to exploit the inherent organisational adaptability to deliver quantifiable results in shorter time frames, compared to a larger behemoth. Fundamentally, any successful ME CIO’s mandate should be to consider spend-optimisation with 3 primary goals in mind:
Advancement, Process Efficiency and Transformation.
Advancing the business should be high up on the list of CIO priorities: the consideration of Research and Development (R&D) opportunities and the trend to prioritize solutioning over systemization. Sweating the infrastructure assets (where possible), and redirecting the always-shoestring IT budget to identifiable iterative development projects should be a priority. Decisions towards developing solutions that look to evolve the organization's competitive advantage are critical for growing market-share. This short-term strategy should look to produce the largest gains for instant recognition, immediately leverageable by the marketing and sales teams.
Medium to long term would be to (thereafter) stabilise these gains for sustainable growth (through systemization).
Identifying and streamlining any system, or people related processes, with an effort to reduce spend and alleviate user frustration is the current trend for a service demanding and app-fickle generation.
Push for those cost-controls and cost-reduction initiatives, but continue to show improvements in system efficiencies to continually buy favour in your user base.
This is always a tough ask for already sunk costs and ageing equipment - but an easier ask if the sourcing team has already considered feature enhancements while in the original purchasing phase of any organisations systems.
Process efficiency is now a top-down approach as business stakeholders have an appetite to consider a short-term offering dynamism, driven by a realisation that the ME needs to differentiate in a saturated market.
For custom solutioning, aligning a sourcing (partnership) strategy with the business direction will look to create harmony between technology goals the correct solution partner. Efficiently reducing wasteful redesign or rework with an established and experienced provider that has proven itself in the services market before.
Solutioning that looks to increase market share (or capture a market), increase profit/returns or increase company revenue, are all top-of-mind for C-Suiters and are a top priority due to the highest value returns.Unfortunately only a few CIOs are considering new technologies and advancements to accomplish this, instead focussing on overall stability to meet these goals.
The ME transformation strategy is to change business goals towards faster services & solutioning. The large effort will come with transforming the current business delivery culture into smaller, in-house entities for small, quick solutioning teams for faster gains. These teams can always be absorbed into the legacy business stable, or become the new engine at a later stage.
Source: Gartner, May 2018 [https://www.gartner.com/doc/3877164?ref=clientFriendlyURL]
Your competitor’s faster, collaborative teams are eating away at your market share.
Ultimately a pragmatic approach to assign budget spend to the correct value-initiative is always unique to the business and often based on the overall maturity of the organisation. It is, however, becoming more important to rather bias this spend towards business value generators and not necessarily ROI: and to consider this factor (value) as well as: type, size and complexity of each solution, to deliver the most organisational impact.
Finding the right talent, using the appropriate systems (at the right price point) and combining these to develop a solution-based culture is fundamental to the success of medium-sized enterprises in 2019.