Is Your Technology Function an Inhibitor? Six Warning SignsThursday, 29th November 2018
Guest blog by Adrian Moss, CTO at Intechnica
This article examines six warning signs for businesses that indicate their technology function is standing in the way of company growth.
Infrequent Software Releases
We are in a time of potentially unprecedented innovation. As the number of digital systems we use in each area of life increases, businesses are in a race to find the features and services of most value. In this race, new software matters. What happens when software releases are few and far between? There is little new value being added to customers giving competitors a chance to move ahead.
To deliver fast, teams need to be aligned. When a company’s leaders have different visions and priorities it is next to impossible for the organisation to work together towards a shared goal. Alarm bells should sound if the CTO and board cannot describe a shared vision because they will be working towards different targets. This means the technology team and the business function will not link up well and the potential for growth will be greatly reduced.
A company’s product vision is described on its product roadmap. You can look at the product roadmap to determine whether a company is on track. If there is no product roadmap, (or lots of conflicting ones), it indicates poor planning and direction. The product roadmap should contain realistic timelines and be universally agreed on by all areas of the business to be successful.
Understanding how technology adds value
Ideally, technology should be used as a USP or something that elevates your company. For tech enabled businesses, technology must make a real difference to business performance. Executives need to be able to articulate how technology adds value. When a CTO is unable to clearly describe business contribution from tech, it is a sign technology within the business is a utility rather than a differentiator.
Technology businesses are best organised around products, rather than projects. Products are long lived streams of work, which allow development teams to develop deep expertise in the customer problem they solve. Budgets should be allocated to product development rather than individual development projects, which in isolation are difficult to predict. Budgeting for development capacity, rather than specific features, allows for predictability and acknowledges the inherent complexity of software development. Sudden changes in the tech budget often indicate an immature approach to technology management.
If a technology team is not measured on features delivered – how do you measure the value it adds? This is a typical challenge; the answer is to measure the value added by technology in terms of outcome.
Outcome metrics measure specific points of value – for example basket size, revenue per customer, or annually recurring revenue. In a tech-enabled business, the technology team is responsible for delivering these outcomes via compelling, working software that customers want to use. Metrics should be taken out of finance or marketing silos and used by the technology team to measure their own performance.
Once you spot a warning sign it is important to act upon it. Having worked with over 250 organisations we have seen that the best technology enabled businesses are aligned internally and have a clear, shared vision and culture. Not only this, but the best companies are agile, resilient and insightful, making data driven decisions.
For expert assistance in identifying technology changes your business can make to leverage competitive advantage talk to the Technical Assessment team at Intechnica.