What We Are Learning from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Insight from ICN Ventures' CEO Ken Edwards. more...
I'm writing this at the end of May, 2020, which in many ways seems like an eternity since the world started to
change back in February. Early on, I thought our workload would tank as many of our customers closed doors,
shut down operations and sent employees home.
What I miscalculated was the will, fortitude and creativity of the customers we serve. They were determined to figure
out a way to make things work! And a lot of them did. Some simply weren't able to meet new state requirements for
conducting business, but those who could reworked procedures, established new guidelines, retooled operations and kept
things going. And not just to make a buck. These folks were committed to keep their employees working and to providing
essential, and sometimes critical, services to their clients and communities.
Suddenly, we found ourselves working almost around the clock, seven days a week, during the months of March and April
helping these businesses shore up their technology solutions to accommodate their "new normal" modes of operations.
Since ICN provides custom web and software solutions to our customers, we were able to quickly, efficiently, effectively
and creatively make changes to registration sites, reporting systems, tracking software, information sites, databases,
credit card processing, email and text notification systems and more to not only keep things running, but keep them
running in sync with their new ways of doing business.
Now that things have settled down a bit and the world is not radically changing every couple of hours, what are we
learning? Here are some insights we have gained as we look toward the future:
- The whole world can change in the blink of an eye. The beauty and curse of the Internet is
that everyone can know virtually everything that's going on anywhere in the world at the same time. Before
we were all so connected, it took time for word to spread. But now, all 300 million of us can know and
react to news or an event simultaneously. One day, the grocery store shelves are full. The next day, their
empty. One day, a storefront is full of customers. The next day, there's no one. One day, 500 people are
planning to run a 5K race. The next day, everyone is demanding their money back.
- Businesses need assess vulnerabilities. Every business, no matter what they do, no
matter how big or small, needs to take some time and energy to think about situations and scenarios they
may have never considered before. Not just asking, "What is our game plan if revenues drop 10%?" But
honestly considering, "What is our game plan in revenues drop to $0?"
Part of assessing those vulnerabilities is taking a look at how to leverage technology in a response to a
catastrophic blow to a business. Asking questions like:
- What things are important initially? Maybe that's communication with clients, employees
and vendors. What does that communication look like and how can it be quickly and effectively
initiated and deployed?
- What ongoing metrics are important? What types of numbers will be important as decisions
are made about staffing, workloads, production and the like? Do we have systems in place that can
provide those metrics accurately and in a timely fashion?
- What changes might be necessary to keep the business running? In the case of COVID-19,
businesses found out quickly whether or not they could effectively transition to doing almost
everything online and very little face-to-face. Are there systems and procedures in place, and
are we equipped to transition most or all of our business to an online structure?
- The world will never be the same. As more and more things begin to return to normal,
many businesses are realizing that their old way of doing business may never return to "normal". We
throw around the term "new normal" to mean a lot of things, but for some businesses, the temporary
systems, processes and procedures they put in place may become permanent.
For businesses who simply patched their technology solutions to accommodate COVID-19, it may be time
to start looking at how those patches may have to become the new way of processing data, interfacing
with customers, equipping employees or communication with vendors.
It's 2023! What's Wrong with Technology?
A reality check from ICN Ventures' CEO Ken Edwards. more...
Have you ever been in a business, doctor's office or checkout line, and the person trying to help you
is frustrated with the computer monitor they're staring at, or complaining about how terrible their
technology is? Yeah, us too. It's 2023, for crying out loud. Doesn't it seem
like technology these days would be so advanced and sophisticated that the people using it would love
it, enjoy using it, and feel like it was truly helping them do their jobs better?
But that rarely seems to be the case. Why? Here are two reasons, both of which
ICN Ventures can help you resolve...
1. "Working for the technology" - Lot of businesses buy "canned" software. That is, software off the shelf that may seem to save them a
few bucks, but software that has been built to solve a lot of different problems and work in a lot
of different business scenarios, maybe even across a lot of different industries. That means, you
have to tailor what you do to how the software does it. Often that creates more steps, more work,
more frustration and more wasted time. We call that "you working for the technology" rather than
"the technology working for you".
ICN Ventures to the rescue! There's a reason we provide custom software solutions. If there's anything unique about
your business, isn't that what sets you apart? Don't settle for something that looked cool that you downloaded from the
Internet. Let ICN Ventures help you figure out what you need, and consequently what you don't need.
2. "Working harder, not smarter" - The software your business uses may not be exactly what you need
to be successful, but it's close. And close counts, right? Does it really? The problem most businesses have is
that they only invest enough time into purchasing technology to satisfy some or even most of their
needs, but not all. This often leads to gaping holes in business processes, where implementing
technology has created more work, not less. Now, you've paid a lot of money for technology that is causing your people to work harder and longer,
but not smarter.
ICN Ventures to the rescue! We spend time assessing your business practices and actually talking to your people--even standing
over their shoulders and watching what they do. The result? People regularly call our custom software "intuitive" and we
consider that a huge compliment!