By: Jason Kulpa
In broad economic terms, services supply markets and can facilitate arbitrage. Well-designed technologies, on the other hand, disrupt markets, improve arbitrage and unlock new applications.
That’s not to say service and tech have to be mutually exclusive, though. By investing in an industry you know, identifying an inefficient service and asking, “Why does the market work this way and how can my company do better?” you can disrupt and facilitate.
This pivot from service to tech is a strategy more firms are adopting. And those that do will experience accelerated efficiency, improved service quality, quick scaling across and within verticals, elevated barriers to entry for their competition and greater employee morale and collaboration.
So where do you begin? Making a transition into tech all begins with your intent. Whether you’re providing services or developing software, you must always strive to foster healthy partnerships in which everyone wins.
However, there are some logistics to keep in mind before embarking on this path:
- Be creative. Whether you’re in B2B or B2C, never underestimate the importance of creating well-designed tech that appeals to your target market’s logic, incentives and needs.
- Be patient. With services, the benefits are immediate. With tech, however, upfront investments are many and the lead time is longer. But if properly executed, tech benefits far outweigh those in service.
- Be bold. Always remember that tech gives you the opportunity to redesign entire business models, processes and markets. Constantly ask, “Why is it this way, how can we be smarter and who is positioned to benefit?”
- Be cautious. The potential to disrupt and improve the market is intoxicating. However, cautiously manage the expectations in your company and, more importantly, among clients.
- Be culturally conscious. Service and software teams often have different agendas. The former strives at person-to-person relationship building; the latter excels at building innovative technology. Allowing both teams to operate independently is a mistake. They need cross-functional learning and collaboration.
Having customer relationships driven by technology has made my company more results-driven, because we’re able to leverage data to demonstrate performance. And because we equip our clients with software and tools, they have greater control over their own performance.
A tech transition will also position you for the future. Of course, there will always be service companies, but they will increasingly integrate technology into their offerings. Staying ahead of this will give you a competitive edge in your market.
What’s more, because the multiplier for an Internet software company with proprietary technology is much higher than for a service-centric company, software scales more easily with less overhead. This makes the company more valuable for investors. However, to really win over investors, make sure you have a team that instills confidence. This means collaboration, as the tech team will need data and insight from the service team.
Making the transition from service to tech might seem like a goliath task, but it doesn’t have to be. By simply investing in what you know, identifying a pain point and using tech to alleviate it, you can be a part of something bigger than yourself.