“But We Aren’t a Tech Company”
Up until quite recently, a typical corporate executive or founder likely viewed a “software” company as a somewhat foreign creature. At one extreme were the likes of Google and Facebook. These behemoths have developed ubiquitous technologies that permeate large portions of our daily lives. On the other end lived the “startup”. These fledgling ventures invoke images of hoodie-wearing programmers working round the clock to roll out some hot new app. For “non-technical” business leaders, companies who lived anywhere along this tech spectrum seemed to have little in common with their own businesses. That separation, however, has very rapidly disappeared.
There is No Escaping Software
Even the most brick-and-mortar businesses have begun to realize that software is increasingly creeping into their daily operations. A growing plumbing business couldn’t manage its 40 technicians without sophisticated scheduling tools. A consulting firm would struggle to exceed customer expectations without effective workflow management. A modest manufacturer could no longer compete on price unless they could optimize their supply chain. In today’s economy, these types of tasks absolutely require the aid of technical tools.
In order to define, implement, maintain and improve this level of software, today’s corporate decision makers need to understand more about technology than they likely ever thought necessary. This is true for the earliest of startups up through aspiring enterprises. However, this call for software proficiency shouldn’t strike fear into the non-technical executive. I’m not suggesting that those individuals without a computer science degree start considering early retirement. My point is simply that the gap between “I just got comfortable with email” and “I can follow a high level technical discussion” isn’t as wide as you might think. Therein lies the motivation for this blog series.
What to Expect
“Tech for the Exec” (TFTE) posts will tackle topics that non-technical decision makers actually need to know. Yet they will skip over the unnecessary depth that can make unfamiliar content hard to consume and even harder to remember. A hypothetical post might focus on key considerations and terms related to data security. However, that post wouldn’t walk through the specifics of various encryption algorithms.
TFTE will be written from what I call the “So what?” perspective. This means that topics will be approached with decision-making in mind, focusing on utility over theory. Readers should come away from a topic with a foundational level of knowledge, but more importantly, with a guideline for how to take action on that new information. In some cases that action could be a definitive choice. In others, the conclusion may be to call in reinforcements to dig deeper into the issue. Either way, TFTE readers should feel better equipped to choose the path that maximizes their likelihood of success.