Grading Tech Industry Cultures: Page 2

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The retail industry loves technology – especially the big guys. Wal-Mart, Fedex and UPS, among others, all spend a ton on operational and strategic technology. They have pioneered data warehousing, supply chain management, mobile tracking and a whole host of cost saving and revenue generating projects. Thank these companies every time you track your online packages via the Web. Grade: A- (they would have gotten an A but they’ve had a lot of hiccups in the RFID space).

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Industry cultures tell us a lot about technology adoption, the way technology is acquired and sourced, and the expectations that managers and executives have about the contribution technology can make to cost management and revenue generation. What grade would your industry get? Do you know? (I am always amazed at how little we know about our direct and indirect competition.)

Take a look around outside of your building. See what your vertical is doing with technology. Profile it and your company’s approach to technology. Give it a grade within the vertical and generally. The answer key should have something to do with using technology to manage costs, technology for strategic advantage, flexible sourcing strategies and the creative use of performance, customer and supplier data. Final question: are you happy with your vertical? Are you well matched with your industry?

I absolutely hated the insurance industry’s view of technology and ultimately got tired of trying to convince senior management that the Internet was for real and, yeah, we really do need to move to a standardized release of Windows. I realize that these are tough questions, so maybe it’s just better to improve your company’s standing in the vertical where it lives.


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