In these difficult economic times, IT and business leaders need to do even more in order to sustain business levels and at the same time try to increase them with new clients or customers. This is true for most companies throughout the world including those situated in the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam, where reliance on the Oil & Gas industry will need to be decreased and a services based economy will need to be developed, sooner rather than later.
In short the answer is yes, although not necessarily directly.
The core to winning business will still be based around the product or service, the price and possibly the relationship. At the end of the day the customer wants the right thing at the right price delivered in the right way – and by somebody they have confidence in.
So how can technology play its part?
Technology can help in numerous ways, mainly around automation, information analysis, specialist systems and improved collaboration.
Four main categories where technology can help businesses grow are: customer, analysis, marketing and internal business.
Even satisfied customers can and do defect. This is a natural phenomenon as they are often seeking more than a service and want answers that are innovative, add value and remove their pain points. They also like being delighted when they receive a service that provides unexpected value.
In order to achieve this I believe we need to understand not just the process that we use to deliver service but also the customer’s process. We also need to involve them in this analysis. This will help us to seek out where value may be added.
Here are some of the areas where I think that technology could help customers:
– Providing the customer with improved process
– Giving more transparency with direct access to information
– Improving the customer’s experience and ensuring relevance
– Providing online systems that are product or service-based and that can shorten the supply chain
– Understanding the customer’s requirements and pain points and delivering unique answers in response
– Demonstrating relevant technologies that give the client confidence and maybe demonstrate cost containment or quality assurance
– Demonstrating security and data leak prevention to install confidence
Knowledge is power and analysis of your data may highlight some interesting results. Your company probably has a mass of data, sometimes buried in different systems (both automated and manual), but if this can be harnessed and analysed, often known these days as ‘business intelligence’, then it will assist in the decision making process and hopefully guide you on where to concentrate your new business activities.
Areas where technology can help with analysis:
– Using business intelligence to spot growth areas
– Using predictive analytics to identify opportunities and likelihood of success
– Identifying profitable areas and focus new business on these
The best marketing is still about understanding what the customer wants, listening to their feedback, matching your offering with that – and then getting your message out.
These days clients are also interested in your technology, capability, security and innovations, so these are worth getting over in any pitch or tender.
The march of social networking technologies continues and not just in the personal communication market. This is a brand new set of technologies that can be exploited in your marketing campaigns. The power is integrating these new technologies with the existing core customer relationship management (CRM) products which could open up new prospects and markets as well as provide better data on what your customers are doing.
Areas where technology can help with marketing:
– Using social networking for lead generation and qualification
– Using CRM systems to maintain relationships and information about prospects
– Integrating CRM with social networking site contacts
– Creating reporting systems on deals lost and delayed for lessons learnt
– Demonstrating technology capability in pitches
– Analysing web usage
– Developing websites that sell your services and allow easy contact
The remaining area is about using technology to improve internal processes which would not only enhance the client experience and support the business goals but also free people from unnecessary tasks so they could be more productive in marketing and selling.
Areas where technology can help with internal business:
– Creating innovative businesses models and streamlining and automating processes to – reduce costs and make products and services more competitive
– Freeing up people time
– Supporting business goals and expansion plans
In the end, technology plays a supporting role but when used properly and in conjunction with other initiatives, it can help to win business.