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4 simple tips when considering technology for business model innovation

By Thomas Cheah • February 25, 2012 • Filed in: Business Innovation

Technology can play a key role in business model innovation, though most people still find it a black art when comes to the proper process of using technology to innovate their business model. Some people use whatever that their peers or competitors are using, which is a bit illogical if you believe your business model is unique (or should be unique) even you are in the same industry as them. Some just evaluate on the features, but they overlook how well the features are sewed together to match the business process they envisioned. What I shared below are short and concise tips that I distill out based on my experience in various projects. I hope that will serve as effective guidelines for you when considering technology in your projects.

Forget about the technology

This might sounds a bit counterintuitive, but the best way to consider technology in your business model is put the technology aside and focus more on your business objectives, and think of the potential strategies to achieve the objectives. What is the current situation and problem? Do you need to increase sales, brand awareness, streamline communications, improve coordinations, or trying to accomplish something else? Don’t get too bogged down in the details of technology features and specifications. The role of technology plays should remain in the background and not cloud your thinking. The technology is just the bit in the middle that supports your strategies and helps realizing your objectives.

Think out of the box

In most cases, it’s better if you don’t constrain yourself by the technology features that you know when suggesting a particular creative solution. Start by clearly outlining the business objectives and allow your technology partner to guide you through the creative process. If they know what they are doing they will help you by expanding your core objectives into a successful strategy. You might want to check if they are technology focused organization or is there a mix of business strategy and technology among their staff? Successful technology implementation is often people driven that requires insights about the user behaviors and social trends, i.e. how do people response to your technology-enabled business model.

Identify the priorities and gaps

Before mobilizing your developers and programmers, we should consider many technologies that is already out there in the market that can save you time and resources from reinventing the wheel. But it is important to understand that there is no one-size-fit-all technology, and your business model should be somewhat unique by its own. Therefore, when finding the right fit of technology for your business model, you should identify the gaps of various vendors. Your technology partner should work closely with you in identifying the gaps and the cost to bridge them. Understanding your business priorities at this point is critical so that your resources are spent on what matters most to achieve your objectives. You and your technology partner must prune the scope skillfully to come out with the minimum viable scope. Breaking your implementation into phases is practical not only to reduce your risk, but also provide you with more opportunities for feedback and improvements later. Thus, you should do this even if you have the budget for a complete implementation.

Include evaluation metrics

You need to know how the situation looks like when you achieve your business objectives. Thus it is important that the technology that you implemented provide you with predefined mechanisms to measure various performance indicators that are aligned with your objectives. These measurements should be structured on various levels and checkpoints that give you the idea on whether “you are on the way to achieve your ultimate objective” or otherwise.

About The Author

Thomas CheahThomas Cheah is the Principal CTO-for-hire of Procto. He helps business owners and executives to innovate their business model thru strategic technology management so that they get 80% of the benefit for 20% of the cost. If you have innovative ideas but do not the technical expertise, he is your partner to validate and build your digital business models. Thomas believes that constant business innovation is increasingly important in today's business environment so that our business is prepare for rapid change of customer behavior, rising cost, and globalization in order to stay ahead (or away) of competition.

Learn more about Thomas.

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