Years ago, Warren Buffet famously bought a Bombardier Challenger to use as his private jet. He named it “The Indefensible.”. Why? Just because something is faster, doesn’t mean it justifies the cost. Technology speeds up processes which is great for business, but at what cost?
How about technology that can actually reduce business costs? The flip side of this question is what’s the cost (or risk) of not adopting key technologies? It turns out the answers go hand-in-hand. In the end, opportunities offered by some solutions can have a huge impact on long-term competitiveness and performance.
Macro Technology Trends
Before getting into the nitty-gritty, some large-scale trends are worth exploring. For example, we have what we call the democratization of technology. This means solutions that were once privy to only the largest enterprises are now accessible to nearly any sized brand. One example is advanced logistics and fulfillment services.
Today, you can implement a platform, at a relatively low cost, that provides delivery capability resembling Amazon’s. This is largely thanks to the maturation of cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) as well as advanced integration capabilities (APIs, microservices, etc.).
Another major development has been the ability to process massive amounts of data through AI and machine learning. Going through terabytes of data to extract value would be cost-prohibitive without the speed of AI algorithms. From manufacturing sensors to customer data to accounting and finance, AI promises to accelerate a wide range of business operations.
Meanwhile, rapid application scaling has also become much more accessible through the use of software containers and Kubernetes.
A full digital transformation is by no means cheap. However, like all things tech, the tools are becoming increasingly more available and less costly. What other technologies can save your business money today? Let’s take a closer look.
Cloud Technology Translates to Efficiency
Maybe it’s become a cliché, but moving to the cloud is good for business. The benefits of access, consolidation, speed, and improved uptime all translate into cost savings. Much of the cost of cloud migration can be seen as a budget shift from capex (legacy systems) to opex (cloud service subscription). Further savings are squeezed out due to improved operational efficiencies and staff changes.
The other big cost advantage to cloud-based solutions is the less expensive buy-in versus installing a new system, hardware and all, on-premise. One last cloud savings advantage is that the upkeep and maintenance costs are distributed across all subscribers. For a completely closed, in-house system, you foot the entire maintenance bill.
These cost-savings are one half of the economic equation where the second half is the increased speed at which your business can release revenue generating or profit increasing enhancements for you or your end customers. Cloud technologies are a significant change which can pay for themselves many times over when implemented correctly.
Prevent Unforeseen Costs with Cybersecurity
This is the perfect example of ‘what’s the cost of NOT implementing technology’? Security breaches are becoming more frequent, more sophisticated, and more costly. According to McAfee, in late 2020, the cost of cybercrime was reported to be up 50% vs. 2018. Plus, no company, no matter the size or industry, is immune from attack.
Remember, if you have any reasonably sized digital footprint, cybersecurity experts (and victims of cyber crime) urge you to think in terms of ‘when’ not ‘if’ an event will happen. So lock your doors, keep your assets safe, and invest in a solid security strategy.
Some of the most common attacks these days include:
- Malware - Breaches a network through a vulnerability, like clicking a dangerous link or email attachment.
- Phishing - Sends fake communications that mimic a reputable source, usually through email.
- Man-in-the-middle attack - Attackers wedge into a two-party transaction where data can be stolen.
- Denial of service (DoS) - Overwhelms systems, servers, or networks with traffic leading to site collapse.
- SQL injection - Attacker inserts malicious code into a SQL server and makes the server reveal sensitive information.
Robotic Process Automation and Intelligent Automation
Many mundane tasks—such as copy / paste, file transfers, email reading, sending invoices, and transferring data to and from spreadsheets—consume valuable resources. Now, with robotic process automation (RPA), many of these tasks can be fully automated. Taken further, intelligent automation (IA) is the combination of robotic process automation and machine learning. While RPA helps to take care of simple tasks, IA can handle decision automation.
Both of these forms of automation save businesses money by enabling employees to work on higher-value tasks such as complex customer issues, innovation, and growth initiatives. Both types of technologies enable faster scaling with less overhead expenditure.
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) implemented bots into its lending, finance, HR, payments, and mortgage departments. In the payments section alone, the bank’s productivity increased 20 times thanks to RPA deployment.
Shifting Business Focus to Savings
According to a Gartner study, 47 percent of survey respondents mentioned technology as one of the top two ways executives plan to improve their company’s productivity. So instead of thinking about technology with an emphasis on innovation only, improved efficiency and resource allocation are front and center. Perhaps, the best way to phrase it is: ‘innovate to save’.
Earlier we mentioned Warren Buffet’s private jet, remember? Eventually, after he used the aircraft for a while, he realized its value as a business tool. Hence, he renamed his aircraft: “The Indispensable.”
At Xerris, we specialize in cloud technology, microservices, machine learning, Kubernetes, and DevOps, all of which enable companies to implement solutions like the ones mentioned above. One thing they all have in common is that they improve business value, especially in performance and versatility. In the long run, this translates into savings and built-in preparedness for future success.