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Tech for the nontechnical seems like sorcery (and some people aren’t buying it)

One thing I notice when I flip between working with large Fortune 500 corporations (especially in the financial services sector where tech is a way of life), government contracting, and small business consulting is that what’s obvious to people in those Fortune 500s is often not at all obvious (and seems like science fiction) to the government world and small business world.

There are a lot of reasons for that. But the biggest problem is they’ve never seen how technology should work in their field.

Vision is hard. It’s hard for people to be visionary when that’s not their main skill. If people haven’t seen something already, they have no concept of what it’s going to look like until you’re able to physically show it to them.

There’s a concept in software development, Agile Methodology, that I’ve talked about before. The main tenet of Agile is to fail quickly, and one of the best ways to do that is to do a demo for users every two weeks so they can see what you’re building and provide feedback.

Fail quickly is great because it helps with the visioning process. When you demo something every two weeks, it starts to become real. People can see it and say “oh yeah, that’s great,” or “that’s great, but can we make it do this instead?” It’s that bit that’s super important. Showing what things can allow people to challenge, add, and modify.

When I work with folks in small businesses who usually have basic Office tools and no/few enterprise systems, or with government agencies with 20 or 30 years of technical debt, they often can’t conceive what their processes could look like outside of manual, paper-based processes.

They usually think it’s just about moving from paper to the computer, and don’t understand that there’s actually business process streamlining involved where we take out cumbersome steps and shift things to a state where they only take a matter of minutes or hours (depending on when someone has to approve something in a workflow) as opposed to days or weeks.

When you’ve only dealt with manual processes for decades, it’s hard to conceive what those efficiencies could look like.

What seems like a no-brainer selling to a corporate client in terms of transformational projects and systems integrations is a whole different ballgame with government and small business clients because they’ve never been through a technical transformation or been in an environment where tech is built into the fabric of the organization. So they don’t see the value and it feels to them like anyone in my position is selling them something that doesn’t exist.

People initially love the idea of change when they realize things feel inefficient and they could make more money if they change. But the minute they see the costs associated with the transformation to get there, there’s a quick retreat to, “We’ve always done it this way and made money doing it. I can just not do this.”

That logic seems solid, but the question for small businesses is this: are your competitors going through the transformation? Are you in a very niche space where all it takes is a competitor with better processes to knock you out?

Yes, it’s a lot of money to pay for in the first year. But transformational change will save nearly what you paid for it in the first two years, year over year going forward. I promise — the juice is worth the squeeze.

If you’re a visionary leader who’s tired of doing the same sh!t you’ve always done and are ready to get out of your own way to implement long-lasting transformational change in your business, call us.