By Dr. Meirion Morgan – 20Twenty Tutor and Lecturer in Mathematics and Business
We all know how much of a role technology plays in our personal lives – our phones, our TVs, the streaming services we use.
It’s also crucial for our companies to function: our communication with customers is often critically dependent on it, as are the finances of the company. Internal communication, particularly in the era of remote working, relies on us being able to share documents and data seamlessly using technology.
Simply put, if your tech isn’t right, your bottom line will suffer. Here are five key questions you should ask:
1. Who is responsible for technology in your organisation?
It’s a simple question, but one that’s often not asked. It needs an owner in the C-suite; all too often technology is seen as a cost, not an investment, for a company and is buried in the accounts. It becomes something your finance function deals with.
Technology services provided by third parties – some large, and very well known – sit alongside other regular costs without scrutiny or understanding of the potential risks posed by those third parties.
Even technology that’s been developed or is managed in-house, where it may be more visible to everyone, can be seen as geeky and the preserve of “someone else.”
2. Has the use of technology changed in your company, not least because of COVID-19?
Everyone amuses themselves with jokes about being in jogging bottoms and a shirt and tie on a Zoom call on a Friday afternoon, with an out-of-camera-view glass of wine, but has the criticality of technology in your company grown without you realising it?
It may be a good idea to conduct a technology audit of your business; don’t believe for one minute it’s costly, or a waste of money. The key to better performance of tech in and for your org is understanding where and how it’s used in the first place.
3. Have you included the role of technology in your growth strategy?
You should. Companies frequently make two errors, particularly in this era of cloud services that are believed to be scalable: they assume they can buy what they need and just put it in place quickly, and they assume tech will be a panacea in some way.
Both will invariably come back to bite: if not today, sometime in the not too distant future. Moreover, tech isn’t just about computers, services or gadgets: it’s about people too. Do you have the right expertise in house to support you? If not, why not?
4. Who is responsible for data security in your organisation?
Life seems relatively simple when your business has only a few employees. The risk can grow exponentially as your business grows and people start to work remotely.
All elements of cybersecurity are becoming major concerns for corporate boards, and your organisation – whatever its size – is no exception.
Moreover, do you assume that, because you have some element of security (say, virus checking on PCs) you’re secure? Good luck: attackers are getting more sophisticated by the day; it’s not a case of “if” your security gets compromised – it’s “when.”
5. How will your technology change if your business is growing?
More than you may think. Without understanding the potentially critical interdependence between your organisation and the tech it uses, how do you know it will work well as your organisation grows?
Whilst each business is unique, good leaders will look to answer the questions above; good leaders know that sound technology is a must-have, not an option.
Business Growth and Leadership Courses at Cardiff Met help to develop those leaders. The tools and techniques learnt on the programme builds leaders who understand the key importance of technology to business growth and employee performance.