I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the relationship between our tech companies and their customers.
Tech East is looking for the region to be recognised as one of the top five tech clusters in the UK. Promoting digital tech excellence and giving the sector ‘one voice’ it seeks to deliver a further 5,000 jobs, and generate an extra £650m gva of growth in the east.
So what about the companies who will buy from the sector?
A quick look online will reveal questions like ‘How to improve your business by making sales and marketing work together’.
You’ll find the answer is, often, a solution involving merging the IT systems of those two departments.
Obviously there is more to it than that. There are people to consider for a start. And the best software in the world won’t actually pick up a phone, call a customer and sell.
But here’s the interesting thing. The technology world has, and some would say wisely, not forgotten some lessons from what I guess we must call ‘traditional’ thinking. And vice versa.
Take for example the concepts of ‘Lean’ and ‘Agile’.
‘Lean’ is an idea rooted in manufacturing.
Aimed at increasing quality and speed it now works as well for software as it did for a production line.
Because it embraces values such as eliminating waste, delivering quickly, respecting people and creating knowledge.
‘Agile’ is more of the digital age.
The ’Agile’ mindset is about responding to change rather than slavishly sticking to a plan, giving more credence to individuals than processes and placing importance on customer satisfaction.
See? Those ‘Agile’ software values are as appropriate to manufacturing as manufacturing’s original ‘Lean’ ideas are to technology.
A big part of our region’s potential is in our tech companies.
And a lot of it is also in the myriad of other businesses we have here in West Norfolk. We have to merge systems within businesses and absorb technology into businesses to make them smarter and faster.
Working together, everybody wins!