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Technology In the Family Business

By November 7, 2023November 14th, 2023Business Improvement3 min read

In recent decades, the world has undergone a seismic shift, especially in technology. Imagine smartphones more powerful than NASA’s computers during the moon landing, or 3-D printing that echoes Star Trek’s teleportation. This futuristic wave has reshaped our landscape, yet many family businesses remain anchored in the past.

Today, it’s not unusual to find family-operated businesses tangled in outdated systems and archaic manufacturing processes, lagging generations behind current standards. This isn’t just an inconvenience; it’s a critical weakness. The Harvard Business Review underscores this, pointing out that technological stagnation is a key reason why many family firms struggle to cross the generational divide.

Efficiency suffers first. Modern management information systems, leveraging cutting-edge hardware and software, can dramatically boost efficiency. With the right technology, a smaller team achieves more, allowing for cost-effective growth. This is in stark contrast to those who resist technological advances, often finding themselves financially strained when trying to expand. As KPMG observes, embracing new technology, rather than expanding the workforce, can be a game-changer.

The digital era, particularly internet e-commerce and mobile commerce, opens up global markets even to the smallest firms, provided they are tech-savvy. Those who shy away from technology are confined to local markets, missing out on lucrative opportunities. Advanced technology is crucial for tracking customer behavior, analyzing needs, and delivering timely, location-specific solutions.

Family businesses often lag in adopting new technology. The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management notes that family firms tend to be more conservative than public companies. Long-serving family CEOs may lose touch with technological advancements over time. This complacency, coupled with a cautious approach to financial risk, often leaves family firms with outdated systems.

However, there’s a path forward. Viewing technology as a strategic asset is crucial. Regular evaluation of existing technology, akin to how other business functions are assessed, is essential. If there’s a gap between current systems and what’s available (or what competitors use), it needs to be bridged swiftly.

Adopting new technology can be framed as a pathway to increased profits and firm value, rather than a cost or threat to family control. Younger family members, often more open to technological change, can be pivotal in driving this transformation.

Senior leaders, who may recall the complexity and high costs of past technology, should explore today’s user-friendly systems that significantly reduce training, implementation, and maintenance expenses.

This evaluation is urgent. Technology evolves rapidly, and delay only widens the gap between your business, competitors, and untapped potential. In a few decades, while people may remain largely the same, business technology will have leaped forward, becoming almost unrecognizable from today’s standards. The time for family businesses to ensure their technology meets these challenges is now.

Don’t let your family business be a tale of what could have been. Embrace technological evolution with Regeneration. Let’s future-proof your family legacy together. Act now, for a thriving tomorrow.