Securing a Competitive Advantage even in Uncertain Times

 Competitive Advantage in the Tech Industry (1)As we approach the end of 2018 with all its political and economic earthquakes, how can your high tech company secure a competitive advantage in the year to come? What kind of planning can you do, when you don’t know how the business outlook will change over the twelve days of Christmas, let alone the next twelve months

 A year of disruption

Every day in the run up to Christmas 2018, there’s been another twist in the long running Brexit saga; a never-ending cycle of pivots, resignations, renegotiations and re-elections that is having a continuing effect on all of us. Over the last two years, though, we’ve got used to seismic political change and very different predictions about the future health of the high tech industry in post-Brexit Britain and the global economy in general.

What’s going to happen?

But the truth seems to be, no one really knows what’s going to happen. The views of academics, politicians and business leaders are all wildly different, the falling pound makes conditions favourable or unfavourable depending on the way you do business and with whom. One report in 2018 decided that the tech sector was ‘most positive about Brexit’, yet another said disaster for those working in the tech industry was imminent.

When uncertainty is the only certainty

Perhaps it’s best to take the philosophical approach of the American Mathematician and probability theorist John Allen Paulo, who said:

 “Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.”

In the face of global change and economic volatility, then, what steps can you take to ensure you are optimising your business for challenging times ahead?

How can you gain the ultimate Christmas gift in an era of uncertainty - that elusive competitive advantage?

Invest in your agility

Maximising your flexibility and efficiency as a business is an obvious way of insulating yourself against the shocks of sudden and disruptive change.

In many polls this year, the high tech industry has reported concern about access to talent and increased impediments to working with collaborators across borders.

The high tech sector is already used to working collaboratively to achieve results on tight budgets. But now, more than ever, you need a variety of tools at your disposal to work remotely with staff spread across the world, as well as facilitate third-party collaboration quickly and efficiently.

Deploy better collaborative tools

Working more intensively with remote workers may require more powerful and multifunctional tools than the ones you use right now.

You may find Google Docs, which has been fine for sharing documentation with colleagues in informal ways as part of real-world discussions, is a weaker and more risky way of collaborating at distance on significant documents,  Particularly, when they are part of an expensive international dev project.

A Lean Document Management System that has built in version control is a much safer way of managing important files over all. It is a good way of ensuring errors and confusion can’t creep into future iterations of a development cycle. A good DMS will allow you to share documents with specific individuals, gathering everyone’s notes and comments together in one place for collective approval before triggering the next phase of a process.

This is a much more efficient way of gaining feedback and approval than relying on a series of marked up Google Docs dumped in a folder with a CC’d email welcoming further feedback.

Make it easier to work with third parties

And what about those third-party collaborators? You need to be able to share documentation and set up accessible work spaces for them on your DMS, while at the same time protecting your Intellectual Property and your cybersecurity.

Google Docs or Sharepoint may simply be too insecure and inflexible to allow for the in depth, granular and selective sharing across multiple organisations that complex projects require. You need an administrator to have the flexibility to give third parties instant access, granting and rescinding editing and approval privileges at will.

Make your teams more Agile

For these reasons a Lean Document Management System makes co-operation between teams quicker and more efficient, improving accountability and communication while minimising errors and the risk of damaging outcomes for your business.

The right DMS can power agile development to deliver end products faster and in a more flexible way than a waterfall approach. And that’s exactly what you need when new regulatory or competitive influences can arrive in your market at any moment.

With a Lean DMS, it’s easy to approve and manage real time changes to requirement documentation, getting sign off from key stakeholders before a next phase of development is triggered.

In a rapidly changing world, where projects can be awarded, accelerated or aborted at a moments notice you need the flexibility to grow your team virtually and collaborate on a global scale in the most efficient way.

Implement a Graphical Business Management System

And speaking of efficiencies, as we enter 2019 how do you know that your business is performing in an optimal way? How do you guarantee consistency and quality in your company’s output? How do you know that your business is operating efficiently in everything it does? How can you ensure that everyone in your business can see the way you do things and contribute to a culture of continuous improvement?

Maybe 2019 is the year you make the decision to implement a Business Management System, with a process driven intranet.

Imagine your entire business process documented with dynamic, interactive flow diagrams, all deep linked to explanatory documentation and easily accessible on web pages for everyone in your business to see.

The visual elements of this approach can give you an immediate overview of the way every process works, showing up strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities, as well as gaps and omissions in the way you do things. It can help you see and understand risks and dependencies as you strategise and grow.

We’ve said it elsewhere, but taking a graphical approach to Business Management in this way can really help you grasp every detail of the way you do business. It can lead to improvements and changes that can make a huge difference to your profitability and viability in a changing and competitive business climate.

Have a Happy New Year

In a year of change and disruption investment in a smarter Business Management System and more agile ways of working may be exactly the right thing to do. In high tech development better collaboration and control over documentation can cut waste and allow for a more flexible, scalable use of resources. With a greater focus on improving processes you can find even more efficiencies and react more quickly to unfolding business challenges.

So, never mind the Calling Birds and French Hens, what you really need this Christmas is twelve months' peace of mind and one big competitive advantage.

A Lean DMS and a gBMS might just be the gift that keeps on giving.

New call-to-action

Tags: Document Management and Control

Joe Byrne

Written by Joe Byrne

Joe Byrne is the CEO of Cognidox. With a career spanning medical device start-ups and fortune 500 companies, Joe has over 25 years of experience in the medical device and high-tech product development industries. With extensive experience in scaling businesses, process improvement, quality, medical devices and product development, Joe is a regular contributor to the Cognidox DMS Insights blog where he shares expertise on scaling and streamlining the entire product development cycle, empowering enterprises to achieve governance, compliance, and rigour.

Related Posts

The Importance of Document Control Systems in Business Operations

What does it mean to 'control documents'? And who needs a formal document control system to manage ...

Enhancing Document Management: Why Google Drive Falls Short

Google Drive is a cloud-based program that allows you to create, edit, store, and share documents. ...

Is SharePoint the Right Choice for Your Medical Device QMS?

A Quality Management System (QMS) is a requirement for medical device developers across the globe. ...