When it comes to technology investment, organisations are balancing on a tightrope between cost and sustainable success. While technology, according to McKinsey’s research, has proven its worth, helping organisations bridge the business-technology divide and delivering business value; there is still some understandable business reluctance to make a comprehensive move to new technologies.
While technology delivers immediacy and value, companies are struggling to find a balance between pricing and optimisation.
“The problem is that people are looking at the bottom line so much that they’re forgetting to look at the long-term value that comes with technology investment,” says Jan Kuhn, business services executive at INOVO.
“They’re missing the other elements that get forgotten when technology is side-lined, such as customer experience, efficiency, and productivity. And these are increasingly critical to sustainable business success. Poor customer service and inefficient processes invariably have a negative impact on reputation and bottom line.”
It makes sense to put technology investment, especially if it’s weighty and extensive, on hold during tough economic times. There are other considerations that the organisation has to deal with, and all are essential to its growth and sustainability. However, it’s important to consider how expensive old methodologies, systems and approaches will become over the long term, and to assess what return on investment (ROI) lies in looking at a suitable technology investment today. And the keyword here is ‘suitable’.
“There are numerous solutions available to the business that wants to cut corners and save money in the short-term,” says Kuhn. “They can start small with immature solutions, or they can use open-source solutions that are cost-effective and capable, or they can simply plug holes with quick fixes. These are common steps taken, but they do introduce their own complexities, many that may end up costing the business even more money.”
Many of these solutions don’t come with one very important added extra – technical and business support. Yes, an extensive technology investment is not going to sit lightly on the bottom line, but it comes with several added extras that quick fixes and free systems do not, and one of them is full-service support.
With an experienced technology and business partner on your side, you are not expected to set up the business scenarios yourself or train your staff to use new systems that aren’t quite fully integrated, or spend expensive man-hours establishing how to get the technology to deliver business value. Instead, you have a partner that takes the time to understand your business requirements, properly, and that will extract real, measurable value from any technology investment.
“You can use a third-party partner with relevant expertise and a full-service technology stack to unpack optimisation strategies and touchpoints that can fundamentally change your operations and efficiencies,” says Kuhn. “For example, you can reduce the number of seats you have in a contact centre by leveraging the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots. You can also use measurement and reporting tools to reveal insights that drive opportunities for improvement and help you achieve specific business objectives. And these are just the tip of the tech iceberg.”
Technology isn’t always going to be cheap. That’s not its job. Its real job is to deliver tangible ROI that can be measured across process, cost, system and optimisation. If it doesn’t do that, then it’s irrelevant.
This is why any reluctance to look at the big picture in addition to the “now” is problematic. But instead of letting reluctance limit growth, use it to ensure that any move towards technology involves collaboration with the right partner. That way you are investing in technology that delivers the results you expect. This can be achieved by working from a proof of concept (POC) that can show the ROI and what the technology will bring back into the business.
This can showcase where the business will experience measurable value, what the ROI will be, and what the solution gives back to the business in terms of customer experience improvements, cost savings and productivity or efficiency enhancements.
“In the contact centre environment, a POC that delivers on its promise is invaluable,” concludes Kuhn. “Instead of buying features and functionality that don’t deliver a measurable return, a POC is a commitment to only implementing solutions that deliver on an agreed business outcome. Spend time with your technology partner and get any technology investment right the first time. Then reap the rewards of 300% ROI, converted customers, great CX, and more efficient contact centre operations.”