Coles supermarkets around Australia suffered an ‘IT glitch’ on a busy Friday afternoon recently.
What’s the lesson?
If it can happen to the big guys, then it can most certainly happen to you.
By Jim Vass
Technology has been changing the way we do business for the past 30 years or more, but the pace of that change is fast increasing. Certainly the rapid rate of technological advancement is something we’ve all experienced this year with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Companies, and people, have had to embrace technology like never before – to work, to school their kids, to shop, to entertain themselves and to keep in touch with family and friends.
For some businesses the leap to ‘online’ was not straightforward. For others – in particular those who’ve been keeping up with technological advances – it was pretty seamless.
But make no mistake – going forward, even as life returns to some sense of normalcy – technology is going to continue to play a major part in the way we live, work and do business.
One key indicator of this is the way that we all embraced digital transactions in March, paying with cards, smartphones, and banking apps when stores stopped accepting cash.
The experts say that the pandemic sped up the digital banking revolution remarkably, in a very short time frame. It’s entirely possible that real cash will be a thing of the past sooner, rather than later.
For businesses, technology will also continue to offer a pathway for growth, expansion, innovation, employing talent, and reaching new markets in the post-pandemic environment too.
The downside? Tech systems can be expensive to set up. Then, they need to be actively managed on an ongoing basis to comply with system updates and cyber security. And when things go wrong, the results can be pretty catastrophic.
The Coles tech issues meant that checkouts couldn’t process payments. Hundreds of people abandoned shopping trollies full of groceries as they left stores (imagine the waste of perishable goods), then wandered up the road or around the corner to Woolies, or Aldi, or the IGA. Initially Coles had no idea how long stores would be closed and offline.
The supermarket giant was quick to offer extra Fly Buy points and free home delivery services in the wake of the disaster. It’s reputation certainly won’t be forever tarnished, nor its market share diminished. It undoubtedly has insurance cover that will offset its financial losses.
But ask yourself… Would your business be able to recover so quickly in similar circumstances?
You must work with the digital revolution or risk becoming a dinosaur (or worse, extinct).
But it’s important to plan your implementation carefully, and have appropriate strategies in place for maintaining the pace of technological advancement. You must also ensure that you have access to specialist IT skills, as well as consider risk management strategies in case something goes wrong.
Adopting and adapting to technology is a significant financial burden for micro, small, medium and family businesses, but price must never be a prohibitor of implementation. In this day and age it is simply another cost of doing business.
If you need help with understanding how technology can improve your business, or planning for implementation, you can contact us. At ATB Partners we have a wealth of experience in business mentoring and can make sure you undertake the right kind of planning, have your finances lined up, and choose the right software, systems and people to create your digital transformation.