Technology

Technology alone is not enough

November 5, 2014
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Things are moving fast. The landscape of startups, emerging technology and big data can be difficult to navigate, let alone keep up with.

At your company, you’ve most likely invested in technology over the past few years. You may have even built mobile solutions, designed responsive websites, embraced social media, reengineered your services with software and optimized your systems.

Today, you find yourself with all these shiny new tools, but you’re not sure if everything has improved your customers’ satisfaction. It’s not a matter of just having the tools anymore, because everyone has them. When investments in technology are made as a response to your competition, not because of a genuine need, companies struggle to get the most out of them. This reactive approach can also be quite fatiguing, if not a little paranoia inducing. “What will the other guys do next?” The differentiator today is how you use tools and systems to support your customers’ needs.

But here’s the truth: your customers don’t care about the technology. They care about the solution your business offers them and they remember the experience, not the model number. The latest and greatest tools come and go faster than their needs, so success will come through proactive action, not responsive reaction.

It’s time to consider, or reconsider, a digital strategy that’s focused on meeting the user’s needs through meaningful solutions, not a shiny piece of technology. This approach “humanizes” your business — real people, real problems, real solutions. Incremental, research-based innovation (instead of gambling on a new tools) can disrupt outdated organizational structure. And that’s a good thing. It can define vision, model impactful businesses and communicate effectively, all of which improves the total customer experience by delivering meaningful products, services and opportunities.

A user-centered design research approach is a form of research that leverages quantitative data to build qualitative understanding of people. This creates a cyclical process where marketing leverages technology, technology informs business systems, business systems support the needs of your customers and customers become advocates. This iterative innovation approach may feel slow, especially if the focus is on having that one, great, big idea, but the results can amaze.

Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” If you’re struggling to fully understand technology choices you have recently made, consider design research to identify solutions that meet your customers’ needs. While technology can do many things, the experience your customer has with your business is what’s most meaningful.

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