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Leveraging strategy and technology

By: Emmanuel Bruce
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Tara Squire
Tara Squire

What can you do with the combination of strategy and technology? How can these two help you in the area of sports, education, business, governance, entertainment, health, banking and wealth creation?

How do you use a combination of strategy and technology to achieve your dreams in 2018?

It is these questions that the Springboard, Your Virtual University, a radio programme on Joy FM sought to answer on the January 21 edition of the show.

The show, which is hosted by Rev. Albert Ocran, had the Regional Head of Consumer Banking at Ecobank, Mr Tara Squire. He took listeners through how they could leverage strategy and technology to their benefit in 2018.

Mr Squire pointed out that strategy and technology was everything in today’s world.

He described strategy as the how of things, stating that strategy was not static but dynamic.

 He said technology on the other hand also kept changing as it comes to businesses and individuals in different perspectives.

“Technology is not just a channel but also content and it could be the way a business or an individual is actually reaching out to its consumer base and creating value,” he stated.

“It could also be a channel for a business or an individual and technology and strategy underpins everything we do in today’s world,” he noted.

Creating value
Mr Squire stated that strategy was the only way businesses and individuals could create value for themselves and also set themselves out against competition.

“If you are going to create a competitive business edge for yourself or your business, you need a strategy. You cannot walk out and just start going. Everybody or business have their assets, strong points and weaknesses; and strategy helps you to decide on what to focus on to be able to unlock your values,” he stated.

“It also helps you to know which of your weaknesses you need to fix to be able to compete better,” he added.

How to create a winning strategy
Touching on how to create a winning strategy, Mr Squire urged individuals to always keep their fingers on what was going on and also keep their eyes on competition.

He pointed out that every process of crafting a strategy cannot be a one dimensional conversation.

“It cannot be a one marketing officer deciding that this is the way to go and everyone follows. The entire business must work together to come up with how to create the sustainable value. It should be such a way that even the security man out there can take a bit of it and help to express it in a way,” he mentioned.

“It must be simple enough and engaging enough for it to be broken down and must cut across the business,” he added

Strategising for the long-term
Commenting on whether it was still relevant to strategise for the long-term, considering the changing market environment, Mr Squire argued that it was still relevant to plan for the long- term.

“The market place shifts and changes but if your strategy is robust enough, it should have the legs to ride through the storm as you go,” he noted.

“The strategy must start from your vision. Where you want to go? Immediately you have that direction in your mind, the problem is to be solved is how you get there,” he added.

He said strategy, however was never complete without execution and measurement.

“You can have the best strategy in the world but if you don’t execute and measure it, you will fail. Things are changing so fast and if you are executing quickly and measuring, you will know when the results are either going bad or you will execute quickly to be ahead of that change curve and be able to move on to the next step,” he explained.

“Our weakness as corporate individuals is we don’t execute quickly. We see the direction but we do not execute as quickly as we can. The trick lies in executing quickly and measuring,” he emphasized.

Examining capabilities
Mr Squire also advised individuals and businesses to examine their capabilities when drawing up their strategies

“Do we have the right capabilities out there? What is completion doing? What are the weaknesses that will prevent us from getting to each milestone? These are the questions we need to ask ourselves when strategising,” he stated.

“Strategy is not an easy thing. It is a grind, intense and you must bring all the various pieces together by brainstorming, and bringing the people who influence the process together and say this is where we are going and this is how we will get there,” he added.

Technology as an enabler of strategy
Touching on technology as an enabler of strategy, Mr Squire said if businesses don’t keep themselves abreast of happenings in the area of technology and use it as an enabler in their strategies, they would be left behind.

Using the field of sport as an example, he said football clubs were now relying a lot on technology to decide on which players to buy to fit into their strategy and style.

“It is no longer about emotions on which player I like or not as clubs are using videos and other applications to determine which player to purchase,” he stated.