Is it possible to have too much technology in your workplace? Experts say yes. Though it’s easy to be mesmerized by the next big digital opportunity in today’s market, chances are good many of us are adopting far more tech than we need—and wasting a lot of time and resources in the process. Today, the most agile businesses are working on finding the tech balance and adopting only the technology that will keep their company running strong. Below are some questions to help you determine whether your tech has proper alignment.
Does your technology support your business goals? Every IT purchase you make—from your computers to your cloud to your IoT sensors—needs to align with the overall goals of your business. Though it’s fun think about virtual reality (VR), blockchain, and other sexy tech advancements, chances are good your company may not have a strategic use for them—at least not yet. Before you succumb to shiny object syndrome, ask yourself: what is this technology helping me do for my customers? For my employees? For my bottom line? Finding the tech balance and avoiding too much technology means being strategically selective. If you don’t have good answers to those questions—show that technology to the virtual door.
Is your system frustratingly fragmented? With the wellspring of as-a-Service (aaS) programs, platforms, and infrastructures now available, many companies can now use technologies they never could have afforded or managed on their own. In fact, aaS programs are so easy to use that many companies are adopting them willy-nilly, regardless of whether they’re compatible with other systems in the enterprise, or as mentioned above, whether they fulfill a true business goal. Case in point: Salesforce does a lot of cool stuff. But if you don’t need some of its more sophisticated AI features, you may not need it for your sales staff—especially if other departments in your company are using a different database altogether! Avoiding too much technology means helping your systems run efficiently—through hyperconvergence or good old fashioned planning. Before you make a tech purchase, stop and think how it will interact and complement the other tech you are already running.
Do you have more data than you know what to do with? Though big data is king in today’s marketplace, it is still possible to have too much data—especially if you’re pulling it via multiple different programs or processors. Take a moment to think through what data you need—what knowledge will help you know your customers better—and which technology can provide those analytics most usefully. Finding the tech balance means keeping data smart and clean. More data just leads to more mess—and most likely, a patchwork of tech solutions aimed at helping employees work through it.
Have you experienced data breaches, or had difficulty keeping up with security threats? One of the biggest signs that your systems are too fragmented? Data breaches. In today’s world, cyberthreats are incredibly sophisticated. But the more fragmented your technology is, the more difficult it will be to keep all of those parts connected safely. You may find you have different security measures for each aaS program you use, for instance! And ironically, more security doesn’t necessarily mean your data is safer. Make data security a major part of your plan when purchasing new tech.
Are you making your customer a part of every tech purchase? At the end of the day, we’re here to serve our customers. As such, each new piece of tech we purchase needs to have a direct correlation back to customer experience (CX). Does it allow your staff to help customers faster? Does it allow your staff to fulfill orders more efficiently? Does it ensure that data is more accurate and that analytics are useful for marketing personalization? Finding the tech balance means checking boxes before you decide on adopting another tech solution.
Being inundated with tech is a common problem in today’s marketplace. But succumbing to the lure of hot new tech purchases when you don’t need them is one of the main reasons digital transformations fail! At the end of the day, finding the tech balance is about creating a smart technology plan that aligns with your business goals. It’s no longer possible for tech to operate efficiently without such alignment. And it is no longer possible for successful companies to adopt technology without these questions in mind.
The original version of this article was first published on Forbes.