One of the commonly misused words in strategy is “leveraging technology” to win. Many leaders use it to refer to technology use across the board as a strategy to win. But if everyone is leveraging technology in some way or another in their business, how then can “leveraging technology” be a competitive strategy?
The great god of Strategy, Michael Porter, said it precisely, “operational effectiveness” is not a strategy. Continuous improvement or doing things better and better is not a strategy. Lowering costs is not a strategy. Increasing productivity is not a strategy.
A strategy is about making choices on how to win with customers and stakeholders against the competition. It is identifying new ways to grow revenues that are sustainable and scalable, but which are difficult to imitate or be copied by the competition. It is about playing the long-term game, of creating capacity for competitiveness.
What are your target customers? What solutions – services and products do you plan to sell or offer them that they adore or yearn for but no one is currently meeting that need? How do you plan to offer such products and services in a convenient and better way using different delivery channels that have advantages for the players for winning partnerships? And what is the geographical coverage for your operations – national, regional, continental, or global? If you plan to be global, you must think about scalable delivery channels? Do you reach globally through franchising, partnerships, associates, or online subscription model?
By far, a strategy is about identifying a winning business model. A strategy is about growing revenues. Which products do you plan to offer in 5 years that will be a game-changer? For example, many phone technology companies are investing more in the camera capabilities because the entire social media rotates about the camera, and it is high-quality video and photos that drive data usage globally!
Likewise, health apps are in vogue. Because health remains the top priority for any conscious mobile phone owner. And all convenience about digital and leveraging technology by all businesses is in fact about adding more value on the mobile phone.
So, what is your strategy?
Do not mix operational effectiveness with strategy. Focus on identifying new ways to win. To make the competition irrelevant.
Leveraging technology is not a strategy. It is about operational effectiveness unless it is deployed to actualize your choices to win. If you decide to win with a subscription business model, where people pay monthly for the services, you can win by automating this subscription business by leveraging on technology. That way, technology is used in the right direction. Remember, once you select the route, technology provides the light to make the journey swift.
Go chose. And then automate.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, Mr Strategy. All rights reserved.