What one tool directly influences your business’s ability to attract and retain top talent, minimize risk, and gain competitive advantages? Your technology.

While many executives are tempted to stay out of their IT altogether, we’ve reached a point in time where leaders must pay mind to how our organizations are using technology, and what effect it’s having on our team, our clients, our stakeholders, and the overall success of our businesses.

Put simply: Executives leave technology to their IT teams (yes, to teams like ours!) at their own peril.

Specifically, there are three elements of your organization’s technology strategy that demand executive-level attention. We’ll walk through each of these below.

 

1 ‑ How your technology impacts employee engagement.

We’re in the middle of an engagement crisis. According to ADP Research Institute’s 2019 study, only 16% of employees are engaged with their work.

Besides the fact most executives do genuinely want to see their employees thrive, the impact that this disengagement has on our productivity is stark. Research by E3 Solutions found that somewhat disengaged employees put in 2 days of work for every 3 days of pay, and actively disengaged employees put in a half day for every 1 day of pay. A full 50% loss!

While technology is not the only contributing factor when it comes to engagement, it can directly harm or help your employee engagement depending on how (and how well) you use it.

Thanks to cloud computing and mobile devices, 63% of companies now have remote workers ‑ a trend that will no doubt continue to grow over time. Are your remote employees connected to your company culture? To their coworkers? To their supervisors?

Providing functionality from a technical standpoint is not enough ‑ if we intend to engage and retain our remote and mobile staff, we must find ways to digitally represent our corporate culture, and deliver the full employee experience to everyone on our teams.

We’ve had success using Slack, Zoom video meetings, and weekly internal webcasts. The recipe might be completely different for your company. The most important piece is to ask yourself: What kind of work experience do our remote and mobile workers have?

 

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2 ‑ How technology impacts your risk of cyberattack.

A cyberattack is a potentially business-ending event.

The Ponemon Institute’s Cost of Data Breach Study found that the average cost of a breach is $3,860,000. The four main cost centers behind this number are:

  • Detection and escalation (forensics, audits, reporting to your board, etc.)
  • Notification (to the affected, to regulators, etc.)
  • Post-breach response (identity protection services, legal fees, etc.)
  • Lost business (downtime, lost customers, damaged reputation, etc.)

In addition to the direct costs associated with a successful breach, many organizations will also struggle to bring in new business if they aren’t able to provide prospective clients with the confidence that their data (personal, financial, privileged, or otherwise) will be secure.

Point being there’s a lot at stake here.

While you certainly don’t need to be involved in the weeds of your organization’s specific security solutions, you do need to make sure that your security strategy is covering all the bases.

 

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3 ‑ How to leverage new technologies as competitive advantages.

Over nearly three decades in the technology industry we’ve helped law firms, associations, and small businesses leverage technology to materially impact their:

  • Level of risk
  • Operational efficiencies
  • Growth objectives
  • Ability to attract and retain new business
  • Ability to attract and retain top talent

If any of those results appeal to you, consider paying closer attention to technology trends and how they might affect your organization.

The key here is to implement a practical and repeatable mechanism that allows you to catch wind of trends on the horizon, and identify whether any are worth further exploration. How you go about this will depend on your size and culture, but a few example strategies to achieve this are:

  • Regularly attending technology webinars, seminars, and conferences.
  • Contracting with an IT firm offering CIO services or periodic briefings on current trends.
  • Forming an internal Tech Committee who is tasked with identifying opportunities for innovation.

Again, you need not be on the ground floor of this initiative, but it’s your responsibility to make it an organizational priority.

 

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Final Thought

Competent and forward-thinking IT teams are fully capable of removing technology from your plate altogether. They’ll keep your systems performing well, they’ll support your team, and they’ll chart an upgrade path that makes good sense for your organization.

But just because your technology can run without your intervention doesn’t mean that it should.

Organizations that achieve the most powerful results from their technology ‑ results in the form of decreased risk, increased retention and productivity, and accelerated growth ‑ have one thing in common: an executive who takes an active interest in guiding their IT strategy.

 

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