It’s happened to all of us at some point in our careers. Your boss, VP or CMO returns from a conference – in this case a technology conference – and hands you the latest report, and inevitably says, “Where do we stand on these?” and “You’re on the leadership agenda next week to discuss this.”
I’ve been there before. You’ll dedicate valuable time preparing for it, but all too often it’s a crapshoot when you walk into the room. Let’s face it, the evolution of technology over the past decade has been monumental. Technology evolves daily and it intimidates people more than they’d like to admit. A bad side effect of intimidation is often shutting-down-the-conversation to avoid looking like one doesn’t understand it or to avoid having to act on it.
However, you have that drive to assess its relevance and importance to your business.
In this post, I’m sharing a Harvard Business Review (HBR) approach on how to assess which technology trends to invest in and when. The three levers discussed in the HBR approach can be found in the thinkTrendless strategic CX instrument, and it leads me to point out a powerful element of the instrument - it will help focus any assessment on the unique experience touchpoints that amplify your brand and product attributes. Recall, these touchpoints are identified by your customers as the most important interaction with your brand and product, which provides the strategic focus to evaluate your decisions.
Additionally, when the external customer-facing touchpoints are linked back to your internal operations that enable them, you have an added assessment of the technology’s relevance to your in-house operations. This becomes very powerful when making the decision to move forward with a technology based on the value it delivers not only for your customer, but also for your business.
I’ve used the thinkTrendless assessment countless times, it works. Here’s a quick summary from the HBR approach to see the linkage with the thinkTrendless CX instrument.
So how will you recognize a true digital differentiator when you see it?
Generally, it will do one or more of the following: eliminate customer pain points, elevate customer service, or create a differentiated, personalized customer experience.
While such buzz-worthy technologies merit consideration, keep the levers identified above in mind when deciding where and when to invest. Ask yourself: “How can I use digital tools in my business to enhance the fundamental value equation for the customer and build competitive differentiation?” And let the competition chase the shiny objects — you’ll be focused on the innovations that matter.
Read the HBR post on “How to Know Which Digital Trends are Worth Chasing" at https://hbr.org/2016/07/how-to-know-which-digital-trends-are-worth-chasing.