Anyone in modern IT is in a powerful position: Every single day they are just one idea away from their next $100,000 in business value creation.
Every single day …one idea away!
Every business, at all times, has room for improvement in areas like efficiency, customer retention, competitive positioning, marketing, follow-up and outreach, and sales (just to name a few).
There are a million places that IT impacts the modern organization. Think behind the scenes – e.g. work flows, business processes, and risk management – as well as where customers interact with the business – e.g. web site/application responsiveness, information accessibility, front-line staff interactions (i.e. tools they rely on).
Technologists that focus on the business first are better positioned to help in these areas. These are all areas where money is either being spent unnecessarily (directly or indirectly), where money is being lost (lost sales or lower than necessary retention), or competitive positioning is being weakened (hurting growth and profitability).
Sometimes technology is the obstacle. Other times it is the solution. Recognizing these situations then applying your expertise to come up with possible solutions is the key to coming up with your next $100,000 idea.
Here are some areas to look first:
- Where existing technology is creating hurdles, friction, or pain
- Where new technology could reduce friction, errors, or delays, such as within repetitive work flows and business processes
- Where customers are looking for something, but aren’t getting it (either at all or fast enough)
- Where an existing technical solution – e.g. service provider, software platform – isn’t optimal, is overkill, or is overlapping with another solution (and thus probably costing more money than necessary)
If you focus primarily on maintenance ((or, worse, firefighting and looking like the hero)), you aren’t coming up with ideas, and you don’t create any new value. If you are coming up with ideas but are not — critically — finding a way to try them out, you aren’t creating any value either. With a bit of pragmatism and a precision application of technology, this can be changed.
Don’t overlook even seemingly small refinements. Remember that businesses often do the same things over and over again. Often complacency sets in and a particular level of performance is accepted, even it’s far from optimal. A small improvement in a work flow that saves a few bucks a day annualized then amortized over several years adds up fast (and every idea doesn’t have to be anywhere near $100,000 to be worthwhile to implement …or even just trial).
Apply this mindset and you’ll become more valuable yourself and – every once in a while – you might even run across a million dollar idea. Good for you. (It’s not as rare as you might think).