Thursday, September 28, 2006

The latest competitive edge!

in todays world: what is the single point that provides the competitive edge? Technology: there has been a steady move from man, to machine to microchips.
from the industrial revolution, there has been the constant urge to find ways of doing things, better, faster and cheaper, thats what makes the company do better, and thats what sells. The horse drawn carriage was replaced by a motorised carriage (even though in some states in india, there are still ox drawn carriages, thats a generation behind the horse drawn ones), the hand made motor carriage was replaced by the assembly line, the assembly line was perfected to JIT, and that has provided for cheaper faster cars. now a company that first had gotten itself lovely sales persons who could talk the hind legs off a donkey, and also sell sand to the arabs at the same time. later, there was the inkling that the things were not going as planned, so they turned towards technology to get and track the customers needs, wants & desires. that worked really well, then everyone got into doing just that. Jaguar did that rather successfully, wherein, they used technology to track their customer service requirements, and this has become an industry standard. Jaguar worked hand in hand with Peppers & Rogers group to come out with a customer relationship mgt suite that helps track the usage, and based on the customers driving patterns informs the customer about service frequencies etc. this worked well, because it provide for a "personalised" attention to each customer. From what i heard, lexus goes one level further with technology. Each car owner's specifications are taken into account, and once the internal adjustments for the car are made, they are embedded intot eh key that is handed over, that includes seat height, airconditioning, music system volume etc etc, so when the car is opened with a particular key, the adjustments are made for the driver to get in. That is clearly a competitive edge using technology.

However, technology can be replicated, so what is it that the company needs to stay in front? Using technology to enable business, not using technology for business. Using technology to enable business is to be able to leaverage on cutting edge technology to offer better services to its customers. The market is moving from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. World over, it is the services that play an impact. Even in a manufcaturing company, the services angle plays an important role in deciding the buying decisions of the customer. Hence, any company, wishing to stay ahead of competition, should use technology to enable its employees to work better.

Unified communications platforms,VoIPs, MPLS, MoIP etc are all new age technologies that are coming into the market. ompanies that are able to implement them will definitly be able to push ahead of competition.

On example of leveraging on technology, a food service company was able to reduce response times from 24hrs to 15 mins due to implementation of CISCO's Unified communcations platform. Another IT service company was able to shave 20% off its data communcation costs due to its migration to an MPLS network.

So, now that we know that technology is here to stay, we should allow ourselves to leverage on it to enable businesses.

That is the latest competitive edge!

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