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  • David Beldeure

Unlocking the Power of Technology: Transforming British Columbian SMBs

Technology lightbulb

In recent years, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in British Columbia have made significant strides in adopting technology. They have embraced cloud computing, digitalized core processes, and enabled remote work capabilities. However, many SMBs struggle to translate technology opportunities into tangible business improvements. Despite having the tools in place, they face difficulties in achieving desired outcomes, such as timely project completion, effective utilization of critical functions in customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and obtaining actionable business insights from their accounting systems. In this article, we will explore the underlying issues causing these challenges and discuss strategies to transform technology opportunities into measurable business outcomes.



The Evolving Landscape:

Previously, technology-related challenges were predominantly treated as separate from core business operations. However, this paradigm has shifted, and these challenges now require increased management attention and expertise. Two significant trends have contributed to this transformation.


  1. The Business Impact of Technology: Technology has become an integral part of every organization. The success of business processes and operations is reliant on specific technologies. A decade ago, manual alternatives could compensate for technology failures. However, today's customers expect seamless experiences and will readily seek alternatives if a business's online presence or systems falter. Technology has transitioned from being a competitive advantage to an essential requirement for running any business.

  2. The Complexity of Technologies: Modern businesses' technology infrastructures extend beyond desktop computers and servers. They encompass a vast array of interconnected applications, databases, internet-based services, and mobile devices. Managing access, security, and information flow within this complex ecosystem presents a new level of challenges. Consequently, even small organizations require meticulous planning, documentation, and management to navigate their technology ecosystems effectively.


The Management Gap:

The increasing complexity of technology challenges has surpassed the capabilities of traditional IT personnel and tech-savvy employees. What were once simple technology issues now demand interdisciplinary management expertise. Consequently, the lack of skilled individuals with both business and technology acumen creates a management gap that undermines the potential benefits of technology implementation.


Critical Capabilities to Bridge the Gap:

To address the management gap and unlock the potential of technology for SMBs, two essential management roles need to be prioritized within the Digital Transformation domain. These roles align business and technology aspects to drive meaningful business improvements.


  1. Digital Transformation Planning: This role focuses on creating a vision, developing plans, and defining deliverables for leveraging technology to enhance organizational performance. Key responsibilities include assessing business improvement requirements, evaluating digital maturity improvement needs, formulating a vision and strategy, and creating an action plan. These activities foster critical conversations that identify areas for improvement, establish a clear direction, and outline actionable steps. Typically, these activities are conducted annually.

  2. Digital Transformation Execution: This role is responsible for organizing people, processes, and technologies to execute the digital transformation plans. Key activities include managing critical projects, leading regular meetings, selecting and implementing applications, and ensuring accountability of technology personnel and business teams. These activities facilitate ongoing progress and ensure that technology initiatives deliver tangible outcomes, such as increased collaboration through Microsoft Teams, improved sales through CRM systems, and faster decision-making through reporting systems.


Conclusion:

The convergence of increased business impact and technology complexity has transformed technology challenges into management challenges. SMBs that bridge this gap can enhance their businesses and maintain a competitive edge. The key lies in following a systematic process that establishes a solid foundation for technology health, defines business objectives, and closes the gap through business and digital improvement initiatives. By embracing these critical capabilities, British Columbian SMBs can unleash the full potential of technology and drive measurable business outcomes.




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