Disruption is the New Black – Survival Tips for Parking Professionals
July 17, 2017
It seems almost impossible to get through a single workday without hearing about some new disruptive technology that claims to change the way you manage operations, work more efficiently, or save money. Technology is moving fast – faster than the parking industry can absorb it – and there is no slowing it down. Your customers’ demands are only increasing. They want more, better, faster. And technology is proven to be the best way to deliver on those demands. Besides, with social media, one bad experience gets broadcast across internet faster than a Tesla goes zero to sixty on a country road. Just ask United Airlines.
So, what to do?
First things first. Technology for technology’s sake is not the answer. Chasing the new shiny innovation because it claims to be disruptive, is no strategy. Now that may sound strange coming from FlashParking, a company that is working to disrupt the parking industry through innovation, but just hear me out. We believe technology can be the answer, but ONLY if it addresses the challenges that you have clearly defined, and only if the solution doesn’t create a new set of problems that essentially defeats the purpose in the first place. So, here are some questions we recommend you ask yourself before you dive into a technology strategy.
1. What Are You Solving For?
Do you have a true understanding of the challenges you face? What are the issues, and what are the underlying causes of those issues? Operational inefficiencies, undersold facilities, and downtime issues are important, but what are the underlying causes of those, and how are they impacting business? Could it be lack of insight into real-time data? Server breakdown? Lost revenue opportunities from lack of dynamic pricing capabilities? You must know where you are, to know where you want to go. Without benchmarking your current state, and mapping out where you need your operations to go, you’ll just be aimlessly driving around the lot, never finding the right spot. (see what I did there?)
2. Can You K.I.S.S. it?
Keep it simple, stupid.
The whole point of technology is to simplify our lives – to automate the manual. So, you need to ask yourself when evaluating innovations, will the technology allow you to simplify your operations, and create greater efficiencies in your organization? There should be an inverse correlation between the level of technology innovation and the difficulty of managing/maintaining it. The greater the innovation, the easier it should be to maintain.
Another point to consider, is how many vendors and technology solutions does it take to solve your problems? Too many point solutions that don’t “play” well together defeats the purpose of the solutions. A one-stop-shop approach across your parking needs, with simple integrations across point solutions is the key to managing technology without needing IT degree. Think along the lines of media providers. Bundling cable, internet, and phone into one comprehensive solution simplifies our personal lives in terms of management and billing. Should our professional lives be as easy?
2. Can you Prove it? Can you Measure it?
To manage is human. To measure is divine. You must be able to measure impact and ROI of the solution to understand the value it provides, and to make better business decisions for continuous operational improvement. But you also need to ensure that the technology solution allows for data capture and analytics that align with your business objectives.
Another key consideration is the ability to measure the risk of the status quo. What is the long-term risk of not innovating? Loss of competitive advantage, lower customer satisfaction? Missed revenue opportunities?
Don’t be left behind, but do your homework. Technology overload is a real risk, but can be avoided if you approach it from the perspective of understanding the challenges you face and where you want your business to go. You can’t really afford to be complacent in this application-based economy, but a pragmatic innovation approach can ensure you survive and thrive.
FlashParking’s fully-integrated suite of parking solutions for valet, garages, and parking lots is the technology platform of choice for over 900 venues across the U.S. Check out how we can help transform your operations. www.flashparking.com