What do businesses really need now? Hint: Not more technology

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say something that might be controversial among this crowd, but hear me out. 

Technology can only take you so far.

As a guy who spent 20 years selling and implementing technology prior to taking the helm as CEO of Studio Science, I’ve seen time and again how many companies believe that data and technology are their singular gateway to innovation. I used to be the guy convincing them as such. My whole career (prior to Studio Science) was spent finding the right tech so it produced the right kind of data, and then training people so they could get insight off of the data, simply to drive more technology. It was an endless cycle. But this mindset is missing the most important factor: the people. 

Don’t get me wrong, technology is still important, and has gotten us to where we are now. Need to put a process in place? Set up a system to track your orders? Need to make sense of your finances? Need to collaborate with a remote workforce? These are low-hanging fruit that technology has helped solve. It used to be that brands and businesses could evolve faster than customers, but now the opposite is true. So while businesses have reaped the rewards of these systems over the last 40 years, it’s now time to ask the hard question of, “How do you keep that forward momentum going?” For me personally, that question is what motivated me to come to Studio Science. 

  • Connect- Studio Science connects the dots between technology/data and the customer insights, strategy, and people-centric design solutions needed to compliment each other to help businesses truly innovate and solve bigger problems. It’s incredible how many different kinds of businesses and buyers benefit from the design-thinking route we take. We strongly advise starting any significant business related project with a dedicated step to uncover the problems that need to be solved and identifying opportunities for how to solve them. Not just jumping into a presupposed technology solution. Time and again, when we start working with someone, there is a tech-related need. And time and again, we find ourselves uncovering a larger problem or situation for our client thanks to our holistic approach. Sometimes they aren’t ready for it, and in such cases we’ll continue to work on things behind the scenes that help them get ready for it. Otherwise, we’re just implementing tech for tech sake, and that will only get you so far.
  • Focus- Companies need to focus on what’s really going to matter – and that’s driving commerce. Focus on how a commercial transaction happens, what the needs are of the people engaging in that commercial transaction, and how they are changing over time. That’s not driven by data or more effective email communications or whatever it is you’re trying to do. That’s not how people’s needs get  addressed.
  • Invest- Think about it. What do the best brands in the world do? They continuously meet the needs of their buyer or customer. Coca Cola provides a great selection of soft drinks whenever, wherever you want them. Apple is well known for their understanding of customer needs. They focus and invest in the quality and consistency of every customer touchpoint, everytime. Studio Science client Amino, Inc., whose noble pursuit is to help people make informed healthcare decisions in a notoriously unfair system, has an executive team who approaches their business not from a healthcare perspective, but from a people-centered, patient-focused one. They’ve determined their customer’s values (health, finances) and their entire route to market is designed to make sure they are met, through partnerships, through the language they use, and the way the information is presented. 

I recently had a discussion with a past Studio Science customer who is big in the automotive world. His core automotive-related business is growing modestly, but he is seeing explosive growth in the construction and industrial industries. We discussed his main challenge is understanding the needs of his customers and future customers in these new industries. Our entire conversation centered around the needs of these new buyers and how he can best provide value that meets these needs. In our conversation, never once did he talk about how he just needed a better automation system or AI powered dashboard. That’s not what this CEO needs. So why do consultancies keep leading with technology? 

You may be getting to the point where you want to say, “Yeah, Steve. We get it. We’re entering this age of experience being a value driver, where people are investing in these experiences and the faster a company can identify them the better they’ll be against competition. This is clear, no one would argue this statement.” If that’s the case, let me ask you this: do you know your customers? And do you know the people not buying from you? Do you know what they need, or have you done any research to learn why they didn’t purchase from you?

Traditional consultancies, as they stand, are not equipped to lead a business through this process. Especially tech-focused ones, who get paid to do one of two things – implement technology, or support it. And that’s not their fault, it’s just not core to who they are. They either don’t have the background or they don’t have the interest. As a result, outside of implementing features for you, they lack the ability (or interest) in helping you figure out what your customer needs are, let alone meet them.

Suffice to say, your data isn’t the problem. It’s how it’s being used. Only once businesses put people first, and create real business strategies based on real human insights, can they truly harness the power of the technology they already have at their disposal. It’s instrumental to the success of your business to make people priority number one.

Reach out if you’d like to talk about how, exactly, to do this.

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