Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. Do you ever feel, as a midmarket CEO, that there are technology solutions all over the place, but perhaps none that fit your particular needs? There’s a supply and demand problem in technology today – but it’s not an issue of balance, it’s an issue of connection.
This week on CEO Exclusive, I’m thrilled to welcome Rob Chen and Scott Allen of Brightlink, a communication technology firm. They offer a range of communication technologies, and have a focus on developing technologies that fit real world needs. On this week’s show, we talk about targeting your tech to your customers, culture, leadership, and finding technology solutions that fit your business and further your strategy.
Connect Supply with Demand
Lots of supply, and lots of demand – but they aren’t quite linking up in a way that serves the Main Street. If you’re a supplier of technology, make sure you are creating solutions that matter. Right now. To actual businesses. Innovation and future thinking are important, sure. But don’t get so lost in the future that you forget the present. Find ways to communicate with the businesses that exist now. Know their needs, and let them know you have the solution.
There’s more supply than ever, Rob explains. But companies don’t always know where to find the solution that fits their needs. Brightlink works to create solutions that fit a variety of business needs – and then works with industry distributors to connect with individual customers. Finding a way into the individual industries is crucial – and so is listening to feedback on your solutions.
Understand your customer and create solutions that actually matter to them.
If you’re helming a mid-market company poised for growth, you need the right technology solutions to facilitate and amplify that growth. And the technology market can be overwhelming. And expensive. How do you know what’s going to make a difference?
Even if the best technology in the history of technologies walked up and knocked on your office door, it might not be the right technology for you. Might be shiny, might be fancy, might do all sorts of amazing things – but with any technology it takes time and money to integrate. You need to know if that time and money is leading you forward right now. So, strategy.
The technology you integrate should serve your strategy, not the other way around. Look first at your business. What would make operations smoother? What would free up your team’s time to facilitate further growth? What would decrease your bottom line? Or help you connect with your customers?
There’s no one best solution for anyone. Know your top needs, and then look for technology that matches up with those needs. Where can you find the solution that most closely serves your company?
If you’re not a technology expert, get one on your team. You’re an expert at running your company and it’s your job to know your strategy and your needs. But you need experts and advisors. Whether you have a trusted distributor that may advise you on solutions, or a chief technology officer on your team – have someone whose job it is to research and integrate those solutions in a way that is meaningful for your company.
For those of you designing the technology, get the communication going on both ends. Listen to the market. Do your research. It might be the coolest technology out there, but unless you’re a research team and your plan is to exist on grant dollars, it needs to solve a problem. Get customer feedback coming in from different channels. And target your solutions.
And then communicate. Says Rob, “there is often that disconnect in the marketplace across all sectors of tech, and that’s really both the challenge and the opportunity for growth technology companies like ourselves, to go out there and make those capabilities accessible.”
Take an “Out of the Valley” Look at Innovation
What happens in the valley stays in the valley. Ok. Not really. Lots of great innovation comes out of the valley. But the point is that there’s also a lot that doesn’t. Lots of what happens in the more closed off world of tech innovation isn’t yet ready for market. It’s amazing. But it doesn’t meet real needs, either because the solution is off, or because the implementation is way beyond what most mid-market companies can handle.
Rob talks of “democratizing technology”, or making solutions available for the masses.
Says Scott, “It’s prioritization. At the end of the day, we have to stay in front of it the best we can, to make sure that we identify innovation, and make sure that we see the technology coming, and see the demand on the other side, so that we stay ahead of our competition.”
Having technology experts on your staff is key, and so is implementing tech solutions that further your mission. But don’t forget that it’s about the mission. And for those of you in tech – remember to hire a great communications team along with your fantastic tech team. There’s an abundance on both sides – we just need to connect them.