As someone who’s worked freelance on and off for years, I’ve heard quite a few people drop the phrase “we’re not a tech company”.
This is usually said in a pessimistic tone after someone is pitched on a new website, a new business process automation, an application that could be brought in to save time, or some work to modernize an aging piece of tech already in their business.
Every. single. time. I hear this I can’t help but cringe. Almost every company is a tech company.
What is a “tech company” anyways?
In my mind, a tech company is any company where technology (i.e. any software-enabled tool) improves your core business (i.e. selling lattes). Through that lens, most companies become tech companies.
Do your customers have phones, computers, or tablets? Do you use a digital system to keep track of spending/finances? Does your business have a social presence? then you’re a tech company! It’s impossible to avoid being a tech company. At the very least, you’re using “technology” to communicate with your customers, and if you’re not, you’re missing out on a whole lot of potential leads and conversions.
Good technology solutions get out of your way and reduce friction in providing your services to customers. If you sell lattes, good tech makes it really damn easy for you to focus on making good lattes, and not much else. With that in mind, there’s probably at least some benefit to adopting good tech in your company, you just need someone on staff, or contract, who can make help you make that call.
By that definition, there are definitely “tech” tech companies. Think of the Microsofts of the world, the amazon web services, the railways, etc. These companies core services are providing tech, but what do they use to help with that process? tech! web apps that make it easy for developers to provision technology and assets. Tech aiding tech.
What I’m not saying
I’m not saying your local coffee shop should have a technical team on staff to write their own point of sale, website, and delivery system. What I am saying is that that coffee shop would probably be better off with a generally tech-educated person around who knows when to reach for tech to simplify their core business.
I’m not saying every company should make tech core to their offerings. There are definitely cases where this doesn’t ring true. What I am saying is that businesses shouldn’t be afraid to evaluate their current processes and look for things that can be improved with tech.