Businesses are using more software apps than ever before. A 2019 report revealed that the number of apps used in companies had jumped by almost 70% since 2015. Many large businesses are running more than 200 apps in their IT systems and even small firms have installed some 73 tools on average.

It is easier for your employees to install and begin using business software than ever before. You no longer need to order tech from a specialist supplier – thanks to the cloud you can get up and running with new apps in minutes. That is great in many ways but without a strategy governing the apps you use, certain problems can emerge. Having too many apps on your company systems can result in app overload, data leakage and miscommunications.

Business technology should, first and foremost, support your wider business strategy. Rather than simply downloading any app which could be useful, the real goal is to carefully select tools that support your company’s ambitions. How should you do this?


How does technology link to business strategy?

Simply put, a business strategy is a means of obtaining and maintaining a competitive advantage. It is about finding ways that your company can offer something your competitors cannot. This means your customers will keep returning to you.

There are many different kinds of business strategy within and between industries. Examples of strategies might include:

  • Manufacturing: delivering products fastest OR offering the greatest customization
  • Retail: giving customers a personalised experience OR offering the lowest price
  • Transport: providing the cheapest fares OR providing the greatest comfort

The one and only purpose of enterprise IT is to support the business strategy you’ve prioritised. From your customer database to your email system right through to sophisticated design tools or marketing software, your technology investments should exclusively be made in the service of the wider company strategy.


Ask ‘why?’ when choosing business IT

The first step for deciding which IT to use is simply to ask why you are investing in it. Sometimes new technology can feel attractive and come with lots of bells and whistles. But if it does not support your wider business strategy then it should be discounted.

In many cases it will be obvious how a specific system supports your business strategy. For instance, an engineering firm will need to design products or buildings. While you can of course do this on paper, it will be much more efficient and accurate to use a CAD programme.

However, for more general business software it becomes harder to decide which tools you should use. As a simple example, any business will need to do word processing. Choosing between Google Docs or Microsoft Word can be tricky – both do similar things and support your ability to communicate. Similarly, any company with a sales department will need a CRM, of which there are many available. How to choose between them?

In these kinds of cases, the ‘why’ question has already been answered. At this point, it then becomes more of a technical issue: which app integrates better with the tools you already use? If you mainly use the Microsoft stack, it would of course make sense to use Microsoft Dynamics as your CRM instead of Salesforce, for instance.


Microsoft Teams enables business strategy

In my recent webinar, I described how Microsoft Teams functions as a business strategy enabler. What is unique about Teams is that it brings together a wide variety of tools that previously would have been spread out across your business. Teams gives you a single place to access all your apps and data – whether it’s stored on Microsoft or with third-party companies. It provides the glue between users, applications and data that integration platforms in infrastructure provide between platforms and systems.

This is a revolutionary approach to using IT in the service of your company’s wider strategy. It means that all those disparate tools that you have invested in can be accessed centrally and used much more efficiently. This then feeds into your business strategy and becomes a ‘virtuous circle’.

What does this look like?

Say your company’s marketing director wants to keep your customers up to date with new products and services by sending out an email newsletter. This obviously fits into your wider business strategy as it is a means of maintaining your competitive advantage.

By using Microsoft Teams he/she can connect to your MailChimp account and interact with it from right within Teams. She does not need to open a separate tab to write and send an email newsletter, they can also see key data such as open and click rates within Teams. It is also possible to discuss the newsletter content with colleagues from within the same interface. This ability to bring distinct apps and services into a single environment enables the wider strategy.


Keep learning: Tips for an effective Microsoft Teams rollout


Enable your business strategy with Teams

At FITTS we have been working with Microsoft Teams since it was launched in 2017. We see it as a genuinely unique solution for businesses because it enables organisational strategy – whatever your goals are, Teams lines up all your tools and employees to achieve them.

Could Teams be effective in the service of your business strategy? Talk to us about your ambitions today or download our free Microsoft Teams eBook.