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Do you remember your Blockbuster card? The naff popcorn, the fear of the late fees, the dash to make sure you got the DVD (or tape) you wanted before someone else got it?

Blockbuster went out of business not because Netflix had better movies, but because Netflix spotted that customers wanted something different, so they built the software to deliver it. They changed the game from a DVDs-and-popcorn game to a data and software game, and in so doing they created a whole new industry and market.

But what does Netflix have to do with productivity?

The silent assassin in your ranks
The truth is, Netflix didn’t destroy Blockbuster. Blockbuster was in trouble long before Netflix came along because its business model wasn’t keeping up with changing user demands. More than that, they simply weren’t set up to do anything other than rent videos and charge late fees.

The thing that set Netflix apart, was how nimble it could be thanks to their technology platform. To this day, they continue to be able to react quickly and test new ideas to find out what users want.

Because they used technology as the force multiplier, Netflix was able to generate far more revenue per head than Blockbuster could ever hope to. In other words, it was vastly more productive.

In our experience engaging with businesses of all sizes across the South West, the gap between the most productive and least productive organisations is huge. Cost pressures and talent shortages are making that gap even wider, and as the rate of technology change continues to increase some businesses risk getting trapped by their legacy systems.

The answer
So how can you take the first step to improving productivity?

While it’s tempting to rush into implementing something new and shiny, the answer is usually higher up the chain. This is why we use our “5 Lenses” framework to help businesses make sustainable, transformational changes while removing risk.

1. Strategy: What is the overall strategy of the business, and what role does technology play in it?
2. People: How are you going to engage your staff and customers in your transformation efforts? How are you addressing their needs?
3. Culture: How are you building a culture of sustainable innovation, so you keep your business moving forward rather than just moving to the next stage of stagnation?
4. Technology: How are you making sure you choose the right technology for your project, balancing cost, speed, and future operations?
5. Data and analytics: What data supports your initiatives? How will you know it has succeeded? How will you use the data to tell you what to do next?

In our experience, working through a robust, well-organised discovery phase which looks at all 5 lenses allows businesses to define a technology roadmap which not only improves productivity in the short term but sets them up for sustained success in the long term.

For example, one of our clients is currently saving over 12,000 person hours each year thanks to one of the features discovered and implemented using the 5 Lenses. Another is on track to grow its revenue by £7M in the next 4 years, simply by looking at data, identifying the opportunity, and implementing the technology to capitalise on it.

Can you do better?
Where are you on your digital journey? As cost pressures rise and the battle for talent hots up, there has never been a better time to invest in your future. The Deloitte Q1 CFO Survey reported that 70% of businesses are planning to increase spending on software, IT, and AI in the next 12 months. So, if you’re not, your competitors probably are.

If you want to see how your business compares to your peers and discuss what might be next, please contact me at [email protected].

About Thought Quarter
Thought Quarter are a software development agency. They help business leaders use tech as a force for good, unleashing productivity and leveraging competitive advantage. Visit