Simon Sinek, American author and motivational speaker has some great advice for us as we adapt to changing times. “If you go down the route of protectionism, of protecting what we have and staving off change, you are signing your own death warrant, and if it’s not your death warrant, your business is going to become way more difficult and another firm that may be completely outside of your own industry…will completely eviscerate your profession.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition of all types of businesses into the global digital economy. Although for most the transition may have been premature and uncomfortable it has been a long time coming and business leaders around the world would have done well to prepare themselves for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the global digital economy.
Those that have been able to adapt and adopt the technologies that are driving business growth in today’s age will fare well in this new landscape. Those who have not, may find themselves falling behind, as their competition offers goods and services to carve out a competitive edge for them while leaving the non-adopters scratching their heads as to how they are able to do so.
Technology has opened up a world of opportunities to businesses that can help slash overheads and introduce new systems which, in the past, may have been too expensive for small business owners to implement. From shared administrative services to project management systems at the fraction of the cost of custom-made or bespoke options, small businesses can chase bigger competitors and scale their operations like never before.
Business leader beware the entrenched mindsets that don’t allow you to break free from old-school thinking and embrace the future technologies that are available now. It is time to drop the thinking that ‘IT is for the IT guys’ and to ask ‘Why do we want to exist for tomorrow and how can we make a difference in a Digital Age?’
If you are a business leader in a post-COVID world, it is imperative that you have vast technical knowledge or employ excellent ICT personnel. Not only that, but leaders need to become tech experts themselves to cater for consumers of the digital economy.
It is apparent that employees will need to possess greater knowledge of and proficiency with technology, although mainly focused around their work and duties, but if this knowledge transfer is not driven from the top, then where will it come from?
The call for better general knowledge of technology and best practices among all employees and leaders will also enable a greater demand for ICT services and support that adheres to professional standards, and ensures that ICT systems are effective, efficient and secure.
Technology will drive every successful business of the future. But many business leaders should not delay in recognising it as a core part of their operations for the future, and understand the value that strategic spend on ICT can provide.
It wasn’t imperative in the past, but leaders must understand how technologies affect their companies at a granular level of detail to determine what initiatives to undertake and which technologies or platforms are unsuitable for their operations. This knowledge is also required to allow leaders to manage the various facets of the business.
Having a steady hand on the ICT systems used in businesses also enables leaders to ensure that they are providing the best services and experiences for their clients.
Investing in technological expertise and skills is not a luxury for CEOs anymore, but the doorway to future growth.
- Simon Swanepoel is the CEO of RocketNet