Why Every Company Should Embrace Thinking Like a Tech Company

Why Every Company Should Embrace Thinking Like a Tech Company

Technology will only continue to become more integral to business in the future, especially as consumer demands rapidly shift to digital models. IT can serve as a direct line from innovation to greater profitability and market share in this transition.

Innovation Insights
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9
 Min read
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July 20, 2022

Technology leaders often seem to operate in an entirely different realm from other business executives. The ever-expanding, fast-paced nature of technological advancement demands constant innovation and forward-thinking that other industries can struggle to rival. However, with an IT approach to business, any company can begin to scale, improve, and tackle new challenges with unprecedented efficiency.

Adapting to technological advances now requires more than just a solitary IT department. It requires the whole organization to adopt an IT mindset and view itself as a tech company grounded in resiliency and efficiency alongside data security.

One problem is isolation. Although it is commonly recognized that technology solutions are integral to a business, IT divisions can be isolated within a company or limited by organizational structure and hierarchy. Despite technology leaders’ ability to bring phenomenal solutions, they may not be sought-after for other talents or their forward-thinking ability, ultimately disadvantaging businesses. While changes to the organizational design or team structure may not be within the average employee’s control, there are still effective ways to transform any company from within.

We’ve reached a speed of technology innovation where companies who don’t recognize the need to adapt with a similar pace in mindset simply won’t be able to keep up with the competition.

Next, we’ll explore what it means to have an IT mindset, how to tap into it, and why it is vital for organizational transformation regardless of business type.

IT delivers the latest technology and innovative thinking

Every company needs technology to perform at its fullest potential. Although many companies have begun modernizing their hardware and delivery models, the majority often cling to what already works rather than jumping to adopt the latest trends.

From a business perspective, adhering to demonstrated tools and practices makes sense. Adopting new technology often presents a learning curve that results in lower productivity, lost time, and wasted money.

The ROI may be high for adopting new technologies and digital tools, but most companies are not willing to take on the initial expense of investing in newer technology and training for their employees.

For large-scale enterprises with 500+ employees, IT growth is expected to scale by 61% compared to 31% among small-to-medium businesses with 1 to 499 employees in the next year.

An IT mindset is grounded in finding the next-best thing while minimizing disruptions and can change the organization's business strategy

This is what gives tech companies their competitive edge. They’ve mastered the art of blending innovative practices into their current operations to continually evolve and satisfy their consumers without experiencing any significant obstacles along the way.

By relying more on an IT mindset, technology leaders and other business leaders can embrace technology and transform their approach to business development and remain competitive in the market.

Rather than only benchmarking innovation, the latest advances can be woven into daily practices. This mindset allows them to get ahead of their competition and become pioneers in their industry.

A few examples of companies demonstrating the power of leveraging innovative transformation include:

  • In December 2021, Nike acquired RTFKT, a leading brand that leverages cutting-edge innovation to deliver next-generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming. RTFKT leverages the latest in game engines, NFTs, blockchain authentication, and augmented reality to create one-of-a-kind virtual products and experiences. “This acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming and culture,” says John Donahoe, President and CEO of NIKE, Inc.
  • Netflix transformed movie rentals, video distribution, streaming services, and even movie studios. Netflix weaved technology into every facet of its company and impacted a global audience. Ashley Rodriguez from Quartz summed it up perfectly, “Much of Netflix’s story thus far has been a saga of disruption. It played the David to Blockbuster’s Goliath, and drove the largest US video-store chain, and most others, out of business. It challenged cable companies with its library of TV shows and movies on-demand that could be streamed for a low, flat monthly fee. It commissioned its own programming, pitting itself against TV channels and premium networks like HBO that would launch streaming services of their own.”
  • When you think of insurance companies, most people wouldn’t describe them as particularly innovative, however, Progressive’s Snapshot program paints a picture of an extremely innovative approach to usage-based insurance. Progressive launched its Snapshot program in 2008 and has made data a true value creation tool. While Snapshot can save drivers a significant amount of money, it also helped Progressive optimize its pricing strategy, expand data for marketing to users, and create a more accurate risk management system.

Build from a security-first mindset

Being proactive is the most valuable trait a company can have regarding risk management and business continuity. A reactionary response always leaves one at a disadvantage, even if a company can swiftly identify and remediate any threats.

Security-first approaches prioritize early identification and swift response. Rather than structuring risk management around a “what-if” scenario, leaders take measures to identify their greatest threats and institute barriers against them.

Factors such as data encryption are not just valuable from a business standpoint; they also help bolster customer satisfaction.

When consumers are given the certainty that their information is safeguarded, companies instantly gain a competitive edge.

abstract neon lights tech company

What are IT essentials that every company needs to embrace when thinking like a tech company

Information Technology is often misconstrued as nothing more than “computer support,” but in reality, IT departments can provide various skills that every company needs to thrive in modern society. Three of the most valuable areas where IT skills apply include cybersecurity, automation and data structure, and algorithms.

Cybersecurity

With over 6 billion active internet users, there are more risks than ever when storing and protecting online information.

One security breach can destroy a company’s reputation and cost it hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost assets and damages. Recouping financial loss on any scale is difficult enough, but restoring customers’ faith and repairing broken trust is even more challenging.

Cybersecurity is like a puzzle. Creating and maintaining secure passwords are but a tiny piece of that puzzle. The real work happens behind the scenes, including defending company information from potential hazards, installing and monitoring firewalls, and even preventing internal threats from materializing.

Therefore, a cybersecurity team should be at the forefront of any risk management strategy. It is an ongoing job that requires a unique skillset and specific knowledge to succeed.

Digital threats come in many forms, and only a qualified professional can build a personalized, robust cybersecurity strategy to help protect a company and its customers appropriately.

Automation

Although sometimes misunderstood due to questions of human impact, automation is quickly becoming the next wave of future technology in the workplace. Automation doesn’t need to mean replacing jobs. In fact, automation can actually free up time to further humanize the workforce. We recently published an article on how automation will step in to process menial and repetitive tasks, which unleashes human creative capacity to design, beautify, and enjoy a better world. Rather than robots that replace human workers outright, automation will accelerate and streamline in-house processes, thereby making companies more productive and more profitable.

Automation features such as data storage and organization will also propel a company forward on all fronts.

Personalized automation solutions will make aligning company technology with consumer needs easier. More specifically, every innovation will improve both internal operations and end-user experience.

When considering which automation technology to adopt, a company shouldn’t ask, “What do we need less?” but rather, “What can we do better?”

The purpose of automation is not to outperform humans entirely but rather to make their jobs easier and free up time to allocate skills to more valuable outlets.

Data Storage and Analytics

As a company grows, so does its data, and it is increasingly difficult to manage large quantities of data without efficient IT solutions. Tech-based companies, in particular, store hundreds of thousands of gigabytes of consumer information.

Being able to ingest, categorize, access, and report on large quantities of data easily and securely enables companies to provide higher quality, more agile service to their customers.

From storage and encryption to organization and accessibility, the IT department is a pillar in any modern business model.

For SaaS businesses, data and analytics are even more vital. The entire consumer experience is rooted in understanding how customers interact with their product or service.

Poorly optimized software will make for a worse customer experience, lowering consumer satisfaction. Having a deep understanding of the data collected and how to make decisions from this insight can be a major breaking point for further success.

Getting executives on board with IT expansion and viewing the organization as a technology company

Communicating with executives can be daunting, even for the most skilled technology leaders. Simplifying an IT department’s complex needs and functions into meaningful business terms can be challenging, yet it is one of the most important steps in digitally transforming a company into thinking like a tech company. What’s important here is for IT leaders to present themselves as a pillar of the company, given the same respect and attention as finance, operations, or sales. This can be accomplished by relating the critical components of the IT mindset to tangible business impacts related to risks and business continuity, as well as the financial and reputational impacts of incidents. With IT as an integrated core of a company, the role of the technology executive expands from just the IT department.

Our recent Technology CXO Report found that over 90% of tech executives have responsibilities outside of their IT departments. Shifting the mindset to realizing that each department in an organization needs IT to function efficiently will help other executives understand what it means to think like a tech company.

business strategy technology company planning

Technology-focused departments will be the ones increasingly looked to in times of need, whether it’s a need to be better from an analysis perspective or from the viewpoint of security, growth trends, automation, lowering costs, or providing additional customer value. In doing so, technology departments can be the first to enable the rest of the business. The secret to success and enablement lies in the ability to articulate and phrase technical IT skills and concepts in terms of risk management and, ultimately, business development.

These strategies can help translate company needs and the value of IT into straightforward, marketable terms.

Understand the audience’s bottomline

An executive’s first focus is often on growth, numbers, and accurate data, which can be prioritized over thinking about daily operations. They want results that drive the company forward, leaving daily operational challenges to be solved at lower levels of management.

Rather than focusing on how greater technology inclusion across the organization at multiple levels could help daily operations, the emphasis is on the 10,000-foot view, calculating potential revenue growth, higher ROI, and scaling opportunities. However, these concepts need not be mutually exclusive.

Executives who think large-scale and strategize over prospects more than minor improvements may be pleasantly surprised at how minor technology mindset integrations can result in scalable solutions across the enterprise.

Prepare agendas ahead of time

To articulate effectively, ensure a concrete plan is prepared before speaking with executives.  Have a strong case for expanding your company’s IT department, hiring new staff, or integrating people with IT mindsets across the organization to create cross-functional risk management teams.

Use visuals whenever possible and bring statistics to the table. Real-world examples and direct parallels to your competitors are beneficial. They can help frame the needs and skills of IT into more meaningful, relevant scenarios.

Lead with solutions, not problems

Rather than confront a board with issues, lead with solutions. A cost-benefit analysis can demonstrate that your IT projects are valuable and benefit the company’s growth.

Focus on how IT and technology expansion can give the company a competitive edge. The goal is to demonstrate that a shift in the company’s approach toward its industry will lead to more significant, sustainable growth.

The takeaway of why companies should think like a tech company

Technology will only continue to become more integral to business in the future, especially as consumer demands rapidly shift to digital models. IT can serve as a direct line from innovation to greater profitability and market share in this transition.

The ongoing support required to navigate the digital transition will result in a deeper need for nuanced skills and expertise. An organization that fails to design itself for IT-related risk management and resiliency is an organization designed to fail.

No matter a company’s size, information technology will continue to be one of the most valuable areas for investment and growth in the coming years, especially due to the anticipated increases in data connectivity, speed, storage, cybersecurity, and artificially intelligent automation. By adopting the principles of an IT mindset into business strategy across organizations, companies can become more united, future-focused, and build more resilient teams. Each member is key in working toward solutions rooted in innovative technology and data-driven decisions. Each individual ought to have the freedom and the responsibility to innovate and propose IT-related solutions regardless of their position or level of authority to maximize organizational resiliency and effectiveness.

While businesses will continue to face the challenge of digital transformation, they need not go at it alone. Vation Ventures can guide this journey with our expert team and diverse technology ecosystem to give your company the tools that leading technology companies use to stay ahead of the competition and on the front edge of innovation. Get in touch today and see how we can help.

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