Today technology is such a vital and important area with the power to inform, innovate, improve, power or even disrupt a business – the latter for which those previously involved in video rental, book retail and photo development businesses would attest.
Consider the following technology areas as examples: Accounting, E-Commerce, POS, Analytics, CRM, Apps, Benchmarking, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Voice Recognition, Social Media, Phones, Computers/Tablets, Vehicles, Printing, Security and Search.
Accordingly, these technologies variously bring associated opportunities, such as new markets, marketing, engagement, communication, productivity, competitiveness, valid data (sometimes), insights and decision-making.
There are also threats and challenges, such as new competitors, being out- innovated, new revenue and cost structures, and the need to adapt your franchising company to contend with.
It is undeniably important to make smart technology choices and decisions concerning your franchise system.
With the above in mind, franchisors need to actively keep an open mind to all opportunities and threats, technological, and put a franchise technology plan together. This can and should form part of a comprehensive franchisor business plan.
The plan should consider the full range of relevant technical opportunities and threats – and would benefit from specialist advice / expertise. Great choices about systems to be shortlisted and ultimately selected should be made – after all, no one has the resources to pursue every opportunity.
From choices, good franchisors will make careful considerations on how those systems are piloted and improved and franchisees are involved in gauging potential changes – so that they buy-in to any resultant changes.
The poor cases are where franchisors and their systems date back to the ark, working unnecessarily on paper or with cumbersome Excel sheets. Instead they could be using one or more of a myriad of specialist tools / Apps, thereby enhancing productivity, sales and profits – oh, and enhancing the customer experience!
But overly ambitious franchisors also need to be mindful of poor technology selection / development, implementation and/or change management – like new systems presented to franchisees as a fait accompli. When technology doesn’t do what is promised or really should, franchisees can understandably become very upset. Recently a franchisor found new technology infuriated some end-user customers to such an extent that they left. In other cases, we’ve seen franchisee staff become so upset they have resigned.
A franchise technology plan and planning process plays a vital role in developing a sustainable franchise system – assisting great technology decisions, technology roadmaps, and change management plans – all of which needs to consider franchisee engagement and collaboration.
- Do you have a long-term franchise technology plan for your franchise system?
- How do / should you engage franchisees in this plan to ensure selected initiatives are successfully implemented?
About the Franchising Best Practice 500 Series
This is part of a series of franchising best practices. Franchize Consultants is sharing and publishing these best practices weekly for the betterment of franchising. We know that better knowledge and execution of franchising best practices leads to bigger and more valuable franchisor and franchisee businesses.
We have assembled the first 40 best practices into The Best Practice Handbook, which is available for purchase.