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Sooner or later, the abundant business-enabling benefits of technology mean that you going to need to invest and develop some kind of coherent strategy.

Even though it’s a no-brainer – no matter how large or small you are – getting started can still be daunting.

A strategy means you aren’t just buying stuff willy-nilly

Let’s assume you don’t currently have any strategic view on investing in technology to improve the way your people work, processes are carried out, customers engaged, or profits enhanced.

Such a state-of-affairs doesn’t mean you are saving money. On the contrary, you may be spending too much money on unsustainable, disconnected items that don’t meet your needs. So resolve to stop directing your efforts anywhere and everywhere, unless they meet clearly defined strategic aims.

Businesses already benefiting from technology are the most likely to put off their strategies

Lots of people never get around to thinking about technology strategy, and play it by ear instead. Often that’s the businesses who don’t yet have a 360 degree appreciation of just what technology can deliver for them.

But it’s also the digital-savvy businesses enjoying the returns of technology investment already who don’t see the need to fret about what’s around the corner. Their problem is failing to maximise returns properly, and fix the roof while the sun is shining.

Your strategy doesn’t need to be ‘War & Peace’ so long as you have a clear understanding of:

  1. The technology infrastructure and digital assets you own and have responsibility for
  2. Your intellectual property
  3. Your strategic business objectives
  4. How some of your competitors are succeeding with technology

So get a single piece of A4 and a pen and start listing them.

There isn’t a business objective out there that software can’t help you achieve

If you really believe in the truth that technology – specifically software – is capable of enabling any of your business objectives, then you’ll be inspired to learn more about the ins and outs of making it happen.

Here are four ways that businesses of all sizes can capitalise on technology as part of their strategic business planning.

1. Harness Data to Plan Your Next Move: You could be sitting on a goldmine of information and not even know it. Use technology to audit and collate innocuous looking nuggets of business intelligence to generate genuine insights that put you ahead of your competitors and make your customers’ dreams come true.

2. Embrace Web Channels to Expand Sales and Engage Customers: Social media and mobile applications are just two opportunities that your business might be failing to capitalise on in a coherent strategy. You can’t touch everyone and be everywhere, so use technology to boost your yield among target customer groups.

3. Streamline Business Processes: If you use any software at all, then you’re using it to make business processes faster, cheaper and more accurate. But have you considered all your processes, and how much greater return on investment you can achieve?

4. Take Your Business into the Cloud: Perhaps you’re dabbling in the cloud, or maybe haven’t even heard of it yet. If you can take a strategic view of the on-demand computing capabilities and radical new payment models for technology that cloud enables, then it could revolutionise your business.

It’s like making the best possible loaf of bread; you’ve got to want to do it It’s the fear of making bread that keeps people buying the ‘convenient’ supermarket dross. But if you actually commit to making a loaf yourself, you’ll see how quick, easy and good for you it really is. That’s the reality of putting technology into your business strategy; it’s easier than you think and the benefits are extraordinary.