Business man

The wrong tools for the job?

Billy MacInnes says businesses know technology is key to their recovery but they need help figuring out how
Image: via Pexels

9 September 2021

Here’s a question for you: what is your instinctive response when you read a statement along the lines of “53% of organisations say making effective use of technology to meet their business needs is their biggest challenge over the next 12 months”?

Do you think the statement reflects poorly on them and their business, on the technology, on the people who made the technology or the people who sold them the technology?

I suppose we should start with the people who bought the technology. It’s their money and business. So if over half of them spend their money acquiring technology which they haven’t been able to use effectively to meet their business needs, isn’t that really their own fault? No one forced them to buy that technology.

No one said “buy this technology and then try and work out how it fits with your business needs afterwards”. Even if someone had, the person making the decision for the organisation should have had a much clearer notion of what the technology could do to meet the business needs.

In their defence, maybe the business needs have changed during the pandemic and beyond and they’re just trying to adapt the technology to match them better. After all, no one could have seen that coming.

So what about the people who made the technology? Maybe they didn’t make it to be flexible enough or adaptable enough or simple enough to modify to meet the changed circumstances users now find themselves in. But is that their fault? It’s hard to pin a large amount of blame on them for that. Their technology may have been developed to meet specific business needs – and to fulfil that function very successfully – but be less responsive to major changes as a result.

To all intents and purposes, they could be in a very similar position to their users.

That leaves us with channel partners, the people who sold the technology to those organisations. Is it their fault users are grappling with the challenge of making the technology meet their business needs more effectively? Did they misrepresent what the technology could do? Did they misunderstand the business needs it was being used for? Did they fail to get a clear view from the user of what the technology was needed for?

Let’s assume the answer is none of the above, that it is the pandemic and the organisational upheaval caused by the shift to remote and hybrid working that have given rise to new business needs the technology needs to address. It’s still a challenge for the organisations using the technology but it’s also an opportunity for the people who sold them the technology and who support it. It’s something of a responsibility too.

There’s an expectation that channel partners should be the people best-positioned to help and advise customers on how to use their technology most effectively to meet their changed business needs. There’s a benefit from it too because it reinforces the value of the role the partner plays for the customer if the channel company can help the customer meet those challenges.

Returning to the original statement, you might be inclined to view it as a sign of failure that a majority are concentrating on making their technology more effective for their business. But the other side of the argument is that if a majority want to make their technology more effective, they’re going to need help. Many of them will recognise that the best people to provide that help are channel partners. That recognition by customers in a time of challenge should only stand partners in good stead in the future.

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