Expert Advice of the Month: Every business needs at least two technology “heroes”


Donald Cooper is a Toronto-based speaker and business coach. Using his vast experience as a manufacturer (Cooper Canada sports equipment) and an award-winning retailer, Cooper has helped hundreds of companies in over 40 industries around the world to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose, and long-term profitability.

While tech is a fast-growing, ever-evolving aspect of business, it’s also engaging, challenging—and fun. But lining up the personnel to manage the tech side of your business can come down to identifying distinct roles that should handle tech. There are at least two quite different types of business technology that every business must embrace. Because they’re so different, it’s unlikely that one technology person will be an expert in both areas.

The first we’ll call “operational technology” that will help you achieve world-class operating efficiency in each part of your business. With every industry and market being so intensely price-competitive, world-class operating efficiency is your only hope of profitability. Do you have an operational technology hero?

The second kind of technology we’ll call “marketing technology” that will help you understand, serve, and communicate with customers as a group—and customers as individuals. This will include the technology of:

  • delivering extraordinary customer experiences
  • creating databases of customers, prospects, and key influencers
  • website creation and maintenance
  • communicating with customers through blogs or e-newsletters, social media, and apps
  • data mining (and lots more stuff that many of us simply don’t understand yet)

Now, it may not be quite that simple to break down for your company. In some businesses, there may be more than two types of technology that must be embraced and those businesses will need to align themselves with an expert in each of those areas. For example, in some industries, the technology of exotic new raw materials may be the key to success. In other industries biotechnology or nanotechnology may be key.