ROI Through Tech: Top 3 Ways To Catapult Business

November 3, 2020

It’s come to a point where firefighting techniques are not enough to thrive in today’s marketplace. Long-term vision is critical to developing impactful innovations for your business. This can come in the form of custom operations software, R&D projects, or simply upgrading your website to compete against the millions of sites out there offering similar products & services.

Today, we’ll talk about some of the reasons why tech will support your quest toward ROI growth.


1. Cost-saving opportunities

Positive return on investment (ROI) is one sign of a healthy business, and digital technologies have proven that they can help CFOs do things that weren’t possible before, fundamentally changing how finance is structured and run. 

Take, for example, Cloud Technology, where the lack of manual intervention results in faster end-to-end transaction processing times for increased volumes of data. This means lower capital and operational costs while retaining high business agility. 

So, how do you get ROI from your cloud technology? 

There are several essential drivers including productivity, speed, size, and quality that impact investment, revenue, cost, and timing, all which can be positively influenced by using cloud services. The key is to use them to both  compare cloud and traditional IT solutions, and to monitor them to maintain and build ROI from cloud computing.

Another good example is big data analytics.The McKinsey Global Institute estimated that companies that inject big data and analytics into their operation show productivity and profitability rates that are 5 to 6 percent higher than those of their peers. 

To successfully use big data analytics to grow marketing ROI, it’s imperative for every campaign to be backed by insights gained from big data. These include global reach, consumer behaviour, customer targeting, customer engagement, customer retention, target consumer engagement, performance analysis, and predictive analysis.

Big data analytics provide insights that would not be available otherwise, improving the cost-effectiveness of digital marketing, which is a cost-effective marketing option in itself.

2. Workforce transformation

In a digitally evolving world, a company’s first thought is to put emphasis on technology. “But the greatest challenge is not the tech itself: it’s developing a knowledgeable, strategically adept, cognitively flexible, and proficient workforce,” says Carrie Duarte.

The fourth industrial revolution is well underway, and in a survey of 10,000+ workers around the world, PwC found that 37% are worried about automation putting jobs at risk. Still, 74% are eager to learn new skills to stay employable. Workforce transformation is, therefore, about being able to adapt a company’s workforce to keep up with the changes in the company’s business strategy.

And it’s the merger of digital and workforce that results in fantastic ROI. 

For example,  “microwork” platforms.

Developed by companies like oDesk, Amazon and Samasource, they work by dividing tasks and outsourcing them to contract workers who are often based in emerging economies. By using microwork centres instead of large for-profit vendors, customers can get jobs done for 30% to 40% less.

In a more generic scale, introducing technology to all areas of your business will generate three cost-effective results:

According to Forbes, one of the most straightforward ways to see how digital transformation in the workforce increases your ROI is by deciding first on your primary motivation for digital transformation, boiled down to a single objective (say, automate the vacation request). Based on that, you’ll be able to create methods to track your ROI successes.

For example, say the manual process of filling a leave request requires 75 monthly hours of employee time. If a streamlined workflow were to manage it instead, employee time would be reduced to 15 hours a month, producing considerable cost savings for the organization. It may be a small step, but it is clear, measurable, and aligned with big-picture goals.

3. Business innovation for long-term ROI

To build a culture of innovation is to make an investment. Why? Because it allows businesses to adapt more quickly to the needs of an increasingly digital future, creating a sustainable competitive advantage to achieve short- and long-term ROI.

In terms of ROI, companies need to account for the many forms of value that get created. Innovation specialist and founder of Inventium, Dr Amantha Imber recommends the following three strategies:

  1. Setting a baseline: a defining starting point for comparison at later stages, when you rerun analytics. This includes tangible things you can count, like revenue of innovations launched (when robust you can account not only for the value for things sold but also a rise in brand equity and market share.)
  2. Measure inputs/outputs: outputs, such as the amount of revenue driven by new products and services, are important, but it’s equally important to look at inputs (e.g. number of people trained in innovation skills, number of ideas submitted, amount of money invested in running ideas through experiments, etc.).  Remember that inputs have an impact on outputs, and that affects innovation performance.

    The key is to find a way to measure the value created by innovation work creating new strategic growth areas for the company and its influence on the organizational strategy.  
  3. Understanding the impact of culture and process: The two most impactful variables that strengthen or weaken the relationship between input and output are innovation culture and innovation process. Does the business have a positive attitude towards failure and risk-taking? How quickly do ideas move through your innovation process? 

It might sound meticulous but measuring ROI is important because, as Patti Phillips puts it, “it helps you silence the criticisms that so often squelch innovation projects, more and more projects go through.”

As we say here at Purr, innovation is the heart of every successful business. Just this year, one of our long-term clients, A Team, wanted to make their events available online as a response to the sudden shift Covid brought to conferences and live events. The challenge to build a custom tool that would allow full control of analytics, payments and content management both on-demand and live-streamed was difficult but successful.

Look at social media. It’s one of the most powerful marketing tools, and in OECD countries, more than 95% of businesses have an online presence.  It’s a quantifiable benefit, seeing as 321 million new people joined social media in 2019, which brought the total from 3.48 billion to 3.8 billion social media users (an increase of 9%) in 2020.

Although measuring innovation is not as straightforward as anybody would wish, there is a somewhat simple follow-up: if you show impact, ROI will follow. 

Our final thought

Measuring your digital ROI is critical, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all model. Still, it can be a highly beneficial challenge if you keep in mind that the effective use of technology yields talent acquisition, engagement and ongoing optimization. Ultimately, the cost of introducing IT process improvements can produce a clear return on investment. In a digitally evolving world, any company that stays behind may ultimately find themselves out of business.

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