Smart Technology and Strategy

Smart Technology
Smart Technology

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Smart Technology and Strategy


As the global front undergoes gradual revolution based on technological advancements, companies are increasingly investing in technologies that promise to increase efficiency, lower costs and increase productivity. Smart computers, wearable devices, surveillance devices, smart sensors, GPS, voice and face recognition and smart programs are continually being adopted to enhance automation and perform tasks that would otherwise prove challenging for humans.

Notably however, there has been slow progress in adoption of smart technology among modern organizations, despite the promise of reduced costs, increased competitive advantage, efficiency in operations and increased profitability.  Similarly, organizations have been hesitant in adopting business strategies that endorse smart technologies. This is an interesting observation because it would be naturally expected that companies would strive to adopt technologies that will improve their competitive position.

Research however indicates that organizations are always willing to adopt new technology. The factors surrounding adoption of such technologies, positive or negative determine whether they will adopt the technology. This paper is an analysis of issues affecting organizations in the development of business strategies endorsing smart technologies.

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The functional attributes of a smart technology are critical in promoting customer satisfaction and will certainly affect the buyers purchasing behavior (Youngmo, Mingook and Sungjoo, 2014). Perceived usefulness will be based on the technology design and for smart technologies to be effective, they must be tailored towards the user’s needs and thus designed according to the user specifications.

According to Slaten (2015), organizations must analyze the needs of the company before embarking on any smart technology investment. This way, they are able to identify a design that will best deliver the intended objective while deriving the best value from it. Ho-Chang et al (2014) notes that failure to carefully consider the objectives of the organization will lead to bad investment and the company will soon incur more expenditure in upgrading their smart technology or fail to achieve expected outcomes.

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After-sales support

Technology is highly complex and the need for professionalism in maintenance of technological devices is inevitable. After-sale support remains one of the most important aspects of a sale in acquiring smart technologies because organizations need to be assured that providers will help them solve any issues that may emerge after acquisition of the technology. It also ensures that the smart technology is professionally installed and hence avoids instances where the technology fails to serve the intended purpose.

Organizations must choose vendors that offer the best after-sales package in order to benefit fully from maintenance service. Youngmo, Mingook and Sungjoo (2014), note that after-sale service maintenance is one of the leading drivers for adoption of smart technology, because customers want to be assured that they will not need to incur additional maintenance costs.

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Organizations are however faced with a new trend in smart technology, where after-sale service is often kept to the minimum. Smart technology is a strategic move from traditional technology, and is designed in such a way that users can trouble-shoot and solve problems through what is known as ‘do-it-yourself’ (TWICE, 2015). This is especially so where technology is imported and the seller may not be in a position to deliver the products or install them personally.

In such a case, smart technologies are usually accompanied by manuals that users can read to guide them through the system in order to come up with solutions for any issues encountered (TWICE, 2015). The company may also give additional guidelines on their website for customers to follow in addressing any issues. This means that in certain smart technology devices, there is minimal after-sales service compared to traditional modes of technology. This could pose a challenge to individuals who are not technologically savvy, such that they may end up paying for services


Marketing plays a significant role in influencing customer behavior and decisions. In this relation, the ability of the marketer to provide the needed information and convince the customer determines whether they will purchase the product (Mohr, Sengupta and Slater, 2009).The smart technology market is highly saturated and there are numerous products in the market (Porter and Heppelmann, 2014). While some promise to execute the intended objectives, there have been claims of deceptive marketing where the word ‘smart’ has been deceivingly used to take advantage of customer naivety.

As a result, a significant number of organizations have spent high amounts of money to purchase technology that does not add much value to their organization. The same amount of money could have been used to get a greater bargain and more capabilities from smart technologies. Organizations are becoming increasingly aware of such marketing tactics and therefore take more time to do market research before investing in smart technology (Porter and Heppelmann, 2014). 

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Human Resource

Strategies that endorse smart technologies are highly influenced by the impact of these technologies on the organization’s human resource component. Adopting smart technologies requires a significant level of knowledge, which in most cases needs to be transferred to users before smart technology can be introduced (Shelton, 2014).

Based on a research by Avanade (2016), organizations expect significant changes in terms of skills requirement following adoption of smart technologies in order to effectively blend the technologies with humans. 61% indicated that they would require additional problem solving skills, 59% would require data analysis skills, 51% would need to improve critical thinking skills and 51% would require collaboration skills.

This would mean additional costs for training as well as more time consumed in away from work activities. Shelton (2014), notes that in order for a firm to consider a strategy that incorporates smart technology, it must ensure that all probable users of the technology have adequate knowledge and skills to operate and execute tasks using the smart technology. This not only has an impact on costs but it also requires that the company invests in a workforce that is technologically savvy and can therefore adopt easily to constant changes in technology (Mithas, et al, 2010).

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Avanade (2015) notes that one of the main issues affecting organizations in their decision to adopt smart technology is that they have not made adequate plans to address ethical workplace dilemmas. One of these is the fact that the use of smart technologies mostly involves adoption of devices and intelligent automation, such that computers can perform functions and make decisions that are technically done by humans.

This has raised ethical concerns based on the replacement of human capital by machines.  Avante (2015) postulates that the adoption of smart technology has to a great extent been viewed as a threat despite being presented as a strategy that could help retain critical talent within organizations. Organizations adopting smart technologies are basically replacing the need for a workforce and this could have an impact on overall levels of unemployment (Khandelwal, 2015). Developing strategy that incorporates smart technologies is therefore an issue for organizations because they must show responsibility for their employees’ job security.

Other ethical issues include the capability of smart technology to cause embodiment, where humans become detached from the real world due to their obsession with machines or their incapability to live without them; and excessive reliance on technology to enhance conscientiousness and thus limit critical thinking and ability to make decisions.

Guthrie (2013) refers to this concept as outsourcing of conscientiousness to machines, which can easily erode our capacity to understand and accept human faults and idiosyncrasies. It has been argues that human beings will soon be enslaved by technology and be unable to perform any organizational function without the help of their smart devices. This means that they would be out rightly incapacitated and unproductive as long as machines are unavailable.

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The issue of technology security has been a major issue affecting endorsement of smart technologies in business strategy. While a company would be interested in a technology that increases efficiency and makes business easier, it is more concerned about the security of such systems, including their ability to protect vital information from intruders (Howard, 2015). This comes at a time when cyber crime has become highly rampant in the technology industry, with organizations losing confidential information to hackers and unauthorized users (Wedutenko, 2015).

Smart technologies are prone to security issues and high level protection measures are required to ensure that the organization’s data is safeguarded. Whether an organization is capable of securing its data to ensure that it is not used, shared or accessed illegally is quite uncertain. Organizations that consider adoption of smart technology must consider the issue of security and how it can be enhanced before actually endorsing it in business strategy.

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Security goes beyond protecting personal data from outsiders. Michelfelder (2011) raises an ethical issue of how organizations actually make use of the information they have to conduct activities that users would be opposed to. An example is the use of CCTV, body scanners, GPS and tracking devices which are either secretly placed to monitor employees or to make secret investigations. 

Facial recognition technology has also come under scrutiny, with concerns on whether individuals would actually be comfortable with their facial images being stored in databases (Michelfelder, 2011). According to Guthrie (2013), information gathered from these machines has on many occasions been shared and even sold to third party users. This further raises questions on whether people actually have any privacy in the modern world of smart technologies.

Cost implications

Smart technologies require a significant amount of investment, both in terms of acquisition and maintenance.  Slaten (2015) describes the field of smart technologies as one that is constantly changing and where new versions, modifications and advancements keep emerging. This means that once a company takes on the smart technologies path, it must be ready to continuously reinvent their systems, update software and upgrade hardware to keep up with the times (Slaten, 2015).

Consequently, maintaining smart technology is a capital-intensive investment, given that companies must strive to keep up with new advancements. Unlike assets, technology is not a onetime investment and users must be ready for regular changes that require investment. Failure to update would render current systems obsolete and this to a significant extent affects the firm’s competitiveness (Mithas, et al, 2010).

Furthermore, changes are often unpredictable and organizations cannot effectively budget for future financial requirements. This is a major issue impacting development of strategies endorsing smart technologies and companies have to consider the cost implications before such undertakings can be included in strategy.

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Smart technologies also require uninterrupted Wi-Fi internet connection. There are two cost implications related to this requirement. Firstly, organizations must source for reliable internet connection from vendors, which will ensure that their devices work effectively to address organizational objectives. This has a cost implication because the most reliable wireless internet providers are also likely to be more expensive. Secondly, internet failure could lead to a significant data loss, consequently costing the company.

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Smart technology remains an interesting component of technology and a great consideration for modern organizations. Adoption of smart technology however requires careful scrutiny to ensure that an organization can effectively understand the issues affecting endorsement of the technology into business strategy. This explains the slow pace in smart technology adoption that has been witnessed among modern firms.

In this discussion, various issues including human resource, design, after-sale service, security, marketing and cost implications are identified. These issues often inform organizations’ decision to endorse smart technology. An organization that seeks to include smart technology in their business strategy must effectively evaluate and balance these issues to ensure that the company will benefit from such an investment.

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