In Business PHX

November 1, 2021

Is Every Com­pa­ny a Tech Company?
Orig­i­nal­ly Post­ed on InBusi­ness PHX, Novem­ber, 2021
By RaeAnne Marsh

Tech­nol­o­gy is Dri­ving the Econ­o­my, Where Do You Fit In?

Tech­nol­o­gy is indis­putably an eco­nom­ic dri­ver as a sec­tor. Is it also a dri­ver of suc­cess­ful growth in oth­er sectors?

“The tech­nol­o­gy indus­try is crit­i­cal to eco­nom­ic growth in any com­mu­ni­ty today because it not only pro­duces high-wage jobs, but also sup­ports many oth­er indus­tries,” says Eric Miller, prin­ci­pal and co-own­er of Phoenix Analy­sis & Design Tech­nolo­gies and one of the pio­neers in apply­ing that ground­break­ing 3‑D print­ing to a wide range of indus­tries and busi­ness uses 10 years ago. And he cites the Ari­zona Tech­nol­o­gy Council’s quar­ter­ly Tech­nol­o­gy Impact Report, which found that for every tech­nol­o­gy job cre­at­ed, 3.76 non-tech­nol­o­gy jobs are created.

Tech­nol­o­gy is “the foun­da­tion of mod­ern life and busi­ness,” which makes it an impor­tant dri­ver of every mod­ern econ­o­my, says Chris Cama­cho, not­ing Greater Phoenix has seen incred­i­ble tech­nol­o­gy sec­tor growth since “The Great Reces­sion” when GPEC and the region’s pub­lic and pri­vate lead­er­ship made inten­tion­al deci­sions to diver­si­fy our econ­o­my and bol­ster the attrac­tion and invest­ment from lead­ing tech firms. As pres­i­dent and CEO of Greater Phoenix Eco­nom­ic Coun­cil, Cama­cho not only has a front-row seat to what’s hap­pen­ing, he’s part of the team that has worked to help Greater Phoenix become a metro area that offers an afford­able, high qual­i­ty of life for work­ers and more reli­able infra­struc­ture, low­er oper­at­ing costs, and few­er reg­u­la­tions for busi­ness­es — which has result­ed in more than 13,000 tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies now call­ing Greater Phoenix home. “We’re a young, rapid­ly grow­ing tech hub with a vibrant ecosys­tem of local inno­va­tors, founders, incu­ba­tors, accel­er­a­tors and investors,” Cama­cho says, “and we will con­tin­ue to be a nation­al leader in tech­nol­o­gy growth and inno­va­tion for decades to come.”

In fact, he sees tech­nol­o­gy as the answer to our eco­nom­ic com­pet­i­tive­ness. “Our com­pet­i­tive­ness, val­ue propo­si­tion, ven­ture cap­i­tal ecosys­tem and mat­u­ra­tion of our high­ly skilled work­force to meet the needs of tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies is the answer to con­tin­ue secur­ing invest­ment and dri­ving our mod­ern econ­o­my for­ward. As Greater Phoenix con­tin­ues to trans­form into a more mod­ern econ­o­my, the glob­al tech­no­log­i­cal and dig­i­tal evo­lu­tion is going to pro­pel sec­tor growth lead­ing to tens of thou­sands of jobs for our res­i­dents and fur­ther solid­i­fy­ing Greater Phoenix as a U.S. tech­nol­o­gy hub.”

Miller notes that tech­nol­o­gy it is one of the few indus­tries that has shown expo­nen­tial growth over the last 10 or more years, while indus­tries like real estate and con­struc­tion are very cycli­cal and have fre­quent highs and lows. But in build­ing our area’s com­pet­i­tive­ness, tech­nol­o­gy does not stand alone. Miller points to oth­er fac­tors of com­pet­i­tive­ness to pay atten­tion to, which include infra­struc­ture, cost of liv­ing, the reg­u­la­to­ry envi­ron­ment and, with an obvi­ous impact on tech­nol­o­gy growth, edu­ca­tion. “I believe we are also doing rel­a­tive­ly well in these cat­e­gories, oth­er than edu­ca­tion,” he says. “Edu­ca­tion is an area where Ari­zona has con­sis­tent­ly lagged behind. We’ve sig­nif­i­cant­ly improved the strength of the high­er edu­ca­tion in the area, but in K‑12 we still have a lot of work to do.”

Every Busi­ness Is Tech – or Should Be

Technology’s impor­tance as an eco­nom­ic dri­ver stems from its impact in fun­da­men­tal­ly chang­ing how all of us work and dri­ve the econ­o­my. In fact, Aaron Bare, co-founder of the Hero­Zona Foun­da­tion and author of Expo­nen­tial The­o­ry, makes the case that com­pa­nies which do not embrace tech­nol­o­gy are being left behind. “We are head­ing towards a cir­cu­lar econ­o­my, with the aid of tech­nol­o­gy, that will not only change how we think about work but also how we think about mon­ey,” he says. “The future is very dif­fer­ent from the present. Some peo­ple will not like it, yet oth­ers will reap great rewards from the change that is about to happen.”

Bare believes every com­pa­ny in the future will be a tech com­pa­ny. “If you don’t think your com­pa­ny is a tech com­pa­ny in 2021, you’re not grow­ing and like­ly dying.” He cites as exam­ples Domino›s Piz­za and Star­bucks Cof­fee. “These are not piz­za or cof­fee com­pa­nies. These are tech com­pa­nies that just so hap­pen to sell piz­za and cof­fee. I chal­lenge any­body to find a com­pa­ny that is grow­ing that isn’t a tech company.”

The expe­ri­ence of Jad Chal­houb, Ph.D., direc­tor of busi­ness ana­lyt­ics for elec­tri­cal con­tract­ing firm Rosendin, sup­port Bare’s posi­tion. “Not every com­pa­ny is a tech com­pa­ny, but every suc­cess­ful com­pa­ny should become a tech com­pa­ny,” he says. Observ­ing that in the past cou­ple of decades, tech­nol­o­gy has shown an unmatched capa­bil­i­ty of per­va­sive­ness, infil­trat­ing and chang­ing every­thing around us, he points out that in recent years, anoth­er lev­el of infil­tra­tion became more notice­able: tech dig­i­ti­za­tion vs tech dig­i­tal­iza­tion. He explains the sig­nif­i­cance of that dif­fer­ence: “While almost every com­pa­ny is dig­i­tized, mean­ing its data has moved from paper to the dig­i­tal world, some com­pa­nies have start­ed to change their process­es entire­ly to lever­age the new medi­um — and that is tech­no­log­i­cal digitalization.”

Dr. Chal­houb notes this shift in process requires, almost by default, a shift in the inter­nal func­tion­ing of any com­pa­ny: It requires new hard­ware and soft­ware, inter­nal­ly built or exter­nal­ly bought. It requires new per­son­nel, with change agents and out-of-the-box thinkers to take on tra­di­tion­al­ly accept­ed norms. It takes a deci­sion and sup­port at every lev­el of the com­pa­ny to move towards a future that seems alien. “For those rea­sons and more,” he says, “many com­pa­nies are con­tent with dig­i­tiz­ing, and are unwill­ing or inca­pable of mov­ing towards a ful­ly dig­i­tal­ized world.”

How­ev­er, Dr. Chal­houb cau­tions that dig­i­tiz­ing may inher­ent­ly car­ry more risk than a com­plete dig­i­tal­iza­tion. He points out that tech­nol­o­gy has proven capa­ble of aug­ment­ing all aspects of any giv­en process: It may make a good process even more effi­cient, and it will either rel­a­tive­ly or sub­stan­tial­ly high­light the inef­fi­cien­cies of a less robust process. “To turn your com­pa­ny into a tech com­pa­ny, you first must find the bot­tle­necks in your cur­rent process­es, iden­ti­fy areas of high­est risk, and apply new, tech­nol­o­gy-enabled process­es to these areas.

“The effects of apply­ing tech­nol­o­gy, if done prop­er­ly, will give you lever­age to tack­le more bot­tle­necks, and uncov­er more inef­fi­cien­cies,” he con­tin­ues. “It will give your com­pa­ny lever­age over com­peti­tors, but, maybe more impor­tant­ly, inspire oth­ers in your indus­try to do the same, with com­pe­ti­tion push­ing every­one towards a more effi­cient future — a ris­ing tide real­ly does lift all boats.”

Empha­siz­ing that it’s an ongo­ing process, Dr. Chal­houb says, “The move from a ‘tra­di­tion­al’ com­pa­ny to a ‘tech’ com­pa­ny is real­ly an end­less cycle as opposed to a one-time transition.”

Anoth­er view from some­one well out­side the tech­nol­o­gy sec­tor, James Good­now, man­ag­ing part­ner of law firm Fen­nemore, acknowl­edges tech­nol­o­gy can be daunt­ing, but believes it doesn’t need to be — par­tic­u­lar­ly for com­pa­nies want­i­ng to grow and adapt to change. “If com­pa­ny lead­ers look at their com­pe­ti­tion, I’ll bet they’ll see exam­ples of how tech­nol­o­gy is the growth cat­a­lyst” he says. “Although some with­in a busi­ness may be intim­i­dat­ed by any­thing more than switch­ing between apps on their phone, chances are the com­pa­ny is already pay­ing for rich, pro­duc­tive tech­nol­o­gy that can dri­ve effi­cien­cy and growth. You just may not be using what you’ve got to its full poten­tial. So, before you shell out big bucks for the lat­est and great­est tech, make sure you’re max­i­miz­ing what you already have. Once you’ve done that, focus on cloud-based tools that allow your team­mates to bet­ter col­lab­o­rate and share infor­ma­tion across offices and loca­tions. Don’t just go for the “raz­zle-daz­zle” tech—find or cre­ate tech­nol­o­gy that helps you address spe­cif­ic cus­tomer or employ­ee pain points. Tar­get­ing those needs will give you the best return and move your busi­ness forward.”

So, is every com­pa­ny a tech com­pa­ny? “Yes,” Miller says, “because tech­nol­o­gy plays a very impor­tant role in near­ly every industry’s success.”

How­ev­er, Miller sep­a­rates com­pa­nies into two roles: com­pa­nies that use tech and com­pa­nies that inno­vate and cre­ate tech. “Both can cer­tain­ly be con­sid­ered tech com­pa­nies,” he says, “but for Arizona’s growth, we’d like to attract com­pa­nies that cre­ate and inno­vate. This is because inno­va­tors are the tech com­pa­nies that cre­ate high-pay­ing jobs and improve over­all growth.”

Tech Jobs in Every Industry

As Miller not­ed ear­li­er, tech jobs are impor­tant to busi­ness­es in non-tech indus­tries. The Ari­zona Tech­nol­o­gy Council’s report breaks down employ­ment by sec­tor and shows growth of tech­nol­o­gy jobs in almost all. Some are min­i­mal, to be sure — retail and enter­tain­ment are each less than 1%; but it’s instruc­tive to see that it exists in realms from health­care to real estate, from edu­ca­tion to warehousing.
Miller describes some of the key tech­nol­o­gy jobs:

IT/Cybersecurity Pro­fes­sion­als: This is the tech indus­try and indi­vid­ual that is most impor­tant to non-tech­nol­o­gy indus­tries because these pro­fes­sion­als keep every indus­try online and safe.
Data Cen­ter Archi­tects: These pro­fes­sion­als enable every­one to have access to the com­put­ing pow­er and stor­age they need, from any­where. As an exam­ple, using Microsoft Office used to require a high-end com­put­er, but now all that pow­er is host­ed in the cloud.

Advanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Pro­fes­sion­als: Indus­tries are using advanced man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­niques to cre­ate bet­ter mate­ri­als and safer/more effi­cient struc­tures. Con­struc­tion is a good exam­ple of an indus­try that has ben­e­fit­ted great­ly from advanced manufacturing.

Auto­mo­tive Engi­neers: The engi­neers mak­ing elec­tric and autonomous vehi­cles are improv­ing near­ly every indus­try, but espe­cial­ly sup­ply chain/logistics and trans­porta­tion. For instance, Niko­la is cre­at­ing more effi­cient trucks that cre­ate bet­ter jobs for truck dri­vers while dri­ving fuel costs down, improv­ing safe­ty and cre­at­ing a more sus­tain­able world.

Trans­form­ing with Tech

Bare says the biggest mis­take he sees, as a con­sul­tant, is busi­ness­es sim­ply throw­ing mon­ey at tech­nol­o­gy think­ing it will make them a tech com­pa­ny. While that may, indeed, increase their tech­nol­o­gy capa­bil­i­ties, he believes all such inno­va­tion needs to start and end with the cus­tomer. “We don’t start with the tech­nol­o­gy; we look at the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence that we want to cre­ate and then ask our­selves, ‘What is the tech­nol­o­gy that will get us there and improve our cus­tomers expe­ri­ence with us?’”

Sim­i­lar­ly, Miller empha­sizes that tech is about cre­at­ing tools for oth­er peo­ple and believes that busi­ness­es are using tech­nol­o­gy cor­rect­ly when they cre­ate a tool that dras­ti­cal­ly changes the way peo­ple do things for the bet­ter or improves the out­come dras­ti­cal­ly. And he shares, “One of my favorite local star­tups, Qwick, took an indus­try about get­ting food­ser­vice pro­fes­sion­als to events from a high­ly man­u­al process involv­ing phone calls, email, and back and forth com­mu­ni­ca­tion to an online appli­ca­tion that allows the peo­ple need­ing work­ers and the work­ers them­selves to find each oth­er with a few clicks and with more mon­ey in both pockets.”
Tech as Disruptor

Tech also cre­ates the oppor­tu­ni­ty for busi­ness­es to be dis­rup­tors in their indus­try, which Bare believes is a sig­nif­i­cant fact. In fact, he says, “If you look at every­one else in your indus­try, you see that they are using tech­nol­o­gy to accom­plish the same goal: wins for the cus­tomer. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, if you focus only on your indus­try and your known com­peti­tors, anoth­er indus­try will swal­low your indus­try whole.” Expo­nen­tial com­pa­nies, he explains, are grow­ing and gob­bling up adja­cent indus­tries with bet­ter solu­tions for their cus­tomers. He notes, for instance, that Mer­cedes Benz is no longer just com­pet­ing with BMW; they both real­ized a shared con­cern and start­ed col­lab­o­rat­ing. “They are com­pet­ing with Uber and Tes­la in indus­tries they would have nev­er con­sid­ered if they focused on each other.”

Kar­la Jo Helms, CEO of JoTo PR, observes that the chal­lenge for busi­ness­es is how to be seen as a “good­will equal­iz­er” in the eyes of the industry’s audi­ences and influ­encers, not­ing that, while peo­ple dis­like change, it is the very essence of inno­va­tion. “In the 25 years since the Har­vard Busi­ness Review coined the term dis­rup­tive inno­va­tion, one com­mon denom­i­na­tor has been abun­dant­ly clear: Research. It goes with­out say­ing that lack of prepa­ra­tion is a sure path to failure.”

Helms shares five ways dis­rup­tors “get it right”:

Doing mar­ket research into the key tar­get audi­ences to find their actu­al accep­tance or defi­ance to adop­tion. These key tar­get audi­ences should include one’s com­pe­ti­tion; know­ing their insight before­hand has giv­en many dis­rup­tors the advan­tage of prediction.

Doing Key Opin­ion Leader mar­ket research that find the influ­encers of the key tar­get audi­ences. Adopt­ing the new media approach today — of com­mu­ni­cat­ing through influ­encers and key opin­ion lead­ers — allows adop­tion to occur 10 times faster.

Tak­ing the two instru­ments and data above to math­e­mat­i­cal­ly cal­cu­late the size — and poten­tial hin­drance to adop­tion — of the tar­get audi­ences, to come up with the esti­ma­tion of effort (time, mon­ey, mar­ket­ing) it will take to con­vince a seg­ment of the pop­u­la­tion to change their minds or to think in a new manner.

Prepar­ing ear­ly for legal suits, such as from com­peti­tors and any­one in those eco­nom­ic net­works that will get cut out due to the inno­va­tion — and include cri­sis com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­e­gy plans in that preparation.
Uti­liz­ing the news media as a broad-stroke edu­ca­tion tool to drown out ill-intend­ed naysay­ers before they speak up.

“When you become a dis­rup­tor, you are putting a tar­get on your back, so you must be pre­pared,” Helms cau­tions. “Know your tools. Research, edu­ca­tion via PR and pub­lic­i­ty, and prepa­ra­tion for crises will help com­pa­nies lever­age the court of pub­lic opin­ion for the fastest adop­tion. That enables dis­rup­tors to gain pos­i­tive expo­sure, which in turn will lead to big­ger influ­ence — and in many cas­es retard the lia­bil­i­ty of being attacked.”

Non-Tech as Tech

Tech has per­vad­ed the finan­cial indus­try so much that it has giv­en rise to a new indus­try sub­sec­tor: fintech.
“Fin­tech star­tups played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the glob­al finan­cial indus­try dur­ing the pan­dem­ic,” Frank Breuss shared in a recent arti­cle for In Busi­ness Mag­a­zine. The CEO and co-founder of fin­tech com­pa­ny Nikulipe not­ed that pay­ments com­pa­nies, espe­cial­ly, have brought rapid solu­tions to aid the tran­si­tion in com­merce, which shift­ed from phys­i­cal to dig­i­tal in a mat­ter of months. “Pay­ments indus­try experts expect the increase of fin­tech solu­tions to con­tin­ue dri­ving the growth of e‑commerce for the fore­see­able future, cit­ing the change in user behav­ior,” he con­tin­ues. “In fact, we believe some chal­lenges that have under­mined e‑commerce before remain unsolved and so the need for fin­tech solu­tions will remain for the fore­see­able future.”

Con­nie Carter, VP of busi­ness devel­op­ment at eMONEco, which works with finan­cial insti­tu­tions to cre­ate fin­tech-dri­ven pay­ments solu­tions, sees mass adop­tion of real-time fund­ing sys­tems around the globe as con­tribut­ing to an envi­ron­ment in which many con­sumers, mer­chants, and finan­cial insti­tu­tions expect to be able to pay friends and cus­tomers, set­tle bills, and trans­fer mon­ey at the drop of a hat. “While the con­cept of ‘pay­ing now’ is not a new one — cash is an imme­di­ate pay­ment trans­ac­tion instru­ment, after all — the growth of ‘real-time pay­ment’ options has helped build a new stan­dard among con­sumers. This new stan­dard is dri­ving change for tra­di­tion­al pay­ment types — checks, cred­it, deb­it, pre­paid, and the like — as con­sumers have gen­er­al­ly come to expect faster set­tle­ment peri­ods, noti­fi­ca­tions, and con­sol­i­dat­ed reporting.”

Carter believes this con­sumer expec­ta­tion and the COVID 19 pan­dem­ic have brought these issues to the fore­front and banks will need to trans­form their mod­els to com­pete with the likes of Google, Apple, Face­book and Ama­zon (col­lec­tive­ly referred to as GAFA). “They’ll have to become dig­i­tal ser­vices busi­ness­es that are able to mon­e­tize data and build prod­ucts and ser­vices around pre­dic­tive insights into their cus­tomers, such as how they earn mon­ey today ver­sus how they will earn mon­ey tomor­row,” she says.

While COVID brought added atten­tion to this issue, many banks had already begun adopt­ing fin­tech solu­tions. For an arti­cle specif­i­cal­ly explor­ing fin­tech in bank­ing, Don Gar­ner, CEO of Alliance Bank of Ari­zona, told In Busi­ness Mag­a­zine a year ago that Alliance Bank had begun see­ing a “marked shift” in how busi­ness­es are doing busi­ness and respond­ed by imple­ment­ing such 24/7 tools as online busi­ness bank­ing, secure mobile busi­ness bank­ing apps, fraud pro­tec­tion, remote deposit resources and more to serve busi­ness­es. Cred­it­ing fin­tech with help­ing the finan­cial indus­try make incred­i­ble strides in enhanc­ing the speed, accu­ra­cy and respon­sive­ness of banks, Gar­ner says, “We see that trend con­tin­u­ing, espe­cial­ly as the Fin­Tech com­mu­ni­ty con­tin­ues to push the enve­lope build­ing increas­ing­ly effi­cient finan­cial plat­forms and more enhanced tai­lored bank­ing solutions.”
Carter cites a report from Price­wa­ter­house­C­oop­ers, “PwC Finan­cial Ser­vices Tech­nol­o­gy 2020 and Beyond, whose research found that tech­nol­o­gy is affect­ing finan­cial ser­vices in a mul­ti­tude of ways. Its con­clu­sions include the pre­dic­tions that fin­tech will dri­ve the new busi­ness mod­el, dig­i­tal will become main­stream, “Cus­tomer intel­li­gence” will be the most impor­tant pre­dic­tor of rev­enue growth and prof­itabil­i­ty and reg­u­la­tors, too, will turn to technology.

Anoth­er non-tech indus­try that has been high-pro­file in its embrace of tech­nol­o­gy is real estate — and Home­S­mart Inter­na­tion­al is arguably in the van­guard with its near­ly three dozen tech­nol­o­gy prod­ucts and ser­vices and use of more than four dozen tech­nolo­gies for its website.

While con­ven­tion­al bro­ker­ages tend to stick to tra­di­tion, Home­S­mart has not only adopt­ed tech­no­log­i­cal advances but has devel­oped its own solu­tions aimed at rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing the real estate indus­try to pro­vide an inte­grat­ed sys­tem of excel­lent ser­vice at the hands of the lat­est technology.

The tech­nol­o­gy-pow­ered real estate fran­chisor made its RealS­mart Agent Mobile appli­ca­tion avail­able in the iTunes app store and on Google Play. As is the case with all oth­er Home­S­mart pro­pri­etary tech­nol­o­gy, the appli­ca­tion was writ­ten entire­ly in-house and inte­grat­ed direct­ly into HomeSmart’s exten­sive tech­nol­o­gy platform.

In fact, the foun­da­tion of the Home­S­mart busi­ness mod­el is built on an ecosys­tem of pro­pri­etary tech­nol­o­gy that stream­lines the home­buy­ing process from list­ing to clos­ing. There exists no third-par­ty ven­dors or out­side sys­tems with­in Home­S­mart, allow­ing less redun­dan­cies and com­pli­ca­tions for the end user. Founder and CEO Matt Wid­dows cre­at­ed the com­pa­ny to run on end-to-end tech­nol­o­gy, pro­vid­ing cen­tral­ized ser­vices to all bro­kers and agents. This strat­e­gy to real estate, in turn, allows for con­sis­ten­cy through­out all Home­S­mart loca­tions nationwide.

Law, says Good­now, is one of the most tra­di­tion­al pro­fes­sions that exists — it prides itself on buck­ing trends and not fol­low­ing along with what oth­er busi­ness­es are doing; it’s lit­er­al­ly an indus­try that’s built on prece­dent, where it’s nec­es­sary to look back­ward to deter­mine how to go forward.

Acknowl­edg­ing that the legal indus­try has been slow to adopt tech­nol­o­gy, Good­now says, “We view that, in our mind, as a great chance for us to out­pace our com­peti­tors.” Good­now says Fen­nemore has a lot of dif­fer­ent soft­ware offer­ings inte­grat­ed into the firm in all types of areas. Some are off the shelf, some the firm has been involved in help­ing to cre­ate, and some
“Tech­nol­o­gy is — or should be — at the heart of even the most tra­di­tion­al com­pa­nies,” Good­now says. “Even if your busi­ness isn’t build­ing search engines or smart­phones, tech­nol­o­gy dri­ves effi­cien­cy and col­lab­o­ra­tion at the best busi­ness­es across indus­tries. This is espe­cial­ly true in an emerg­ing post-pan­dem­ic world with a work­force inside and out­side of the office. At our law firm, we’re imple­ment­ing automa­tion and AI-based tech­nol­o­gy that elim­i­nates repet­i­tive process­es so our lawyers can bet­ter serve our clients and pro­vide more val­ue. For exam­ple, we’ve invest­ed in new AI-based soft­ware that helps us break down client work into ratio­nal, struc­tured units so we can under­stand the con­stituent parts of a case and uti­lize flat rates with clients when it makes sense.”

Addi­tion­al­ly, he says, “Our needs have cer­tain­ly changed as a result of the pan­dem­ic, and now with a dis­trib­uted work­force, many of whom are in dif­fer­ent loca­tions in their homes, we’ve got to make sure that we can move seam­less­ly, so we’ve been work­ing to inte­grate some new work dis­tri­b­u­tion soft­ware, and that allows us to get assign­ments across offices and to peo­ple with the right skill set and the right availability.
With that as a high pri­or­i­ty, Fen­nemore col­lab­o­rat­ed with an AI com­pa­ny to cre­ate soft­ware that helps the firm under­stand how much time it takes to han­dle a par­tic­u­lar kind of case. “That helps clients when it comes to bud­get­ing, giv­ing them the oppor­tu­ni­ty to have flat-rate pric­ing. But it also helps us inter­nal­ly, to bet­ter under­stand how to allo­cate resources. We’ve invest­ed in automa­tion soft­ware, to stream­line process­es where we can.”

In fact, Good­now says tech­nol­o­gy is at the heart of Fennemore’s strate­gic plan. And he empha­sizes that such plans should not be sta­t­ic. “I think any busi­ness, in any indus­try, needs to reeval­u­ate their plan post-pan­dem­ic. Any­thing you have, even if it’s from Feb­ru­ary 2020, you can prob­a­bly toss it out the win­dow now because the world has changed so much.” He sees tech­nol­o­gy as a key part of Fennemore’s adap­ta­tion for the future and help­ing the firm stay ahead of com­peti­tors. “So, it’s a big play for us, and we’re see­ing results com­ing from it, and it’s some­thing that we think’s going to give us a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage going forward.”

So, while Fen­nemore is clear­ly not in the tech­nol­o­gy indus­try, Good­now says, “We have a very robust infor­ma­tion sys­tem team at the firm, and includ­ed in that we have soft­ware devel­op­ers and web devel­op­ers that are with us on staff.”

Becom­ing Tech

“My advice for becom­ing a tech com­pa­ny,” says Miller, “is to look at how tech­nol­o­gy can improve your pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and/or the val­ue of the prod­uct or ser­vices you deliv­er.” A mort­gage com­pa­ny, for exam­ple, can use or cre­ate tech­nol­o­gy to turn the process of get­ting a mort­gage more valu­able, eas­i­er, and more effi­cient­ly, while also low­er­ing the cost of sup­ply­ing the mort­gage. “This rep­re­sents tak­ing an age-old process and using tech­nol­o­gy to stand out and add val­ue, thus using inno­va­tion to stand out from the com­pe­ti­tion and, effec­tive­ly, become a tech company.”

Bare sees tech at the heart of the mas­sive trans­for­ma­tive dis­rup­tion hap­pen­ing right now to com­pe­ti­tion. “Once some­thing is dig­i­tal, it is able to go expo­nen­tial. Com­pa­nies that com­pete lin­ear­ly have no chance against a com­pa­ny that grows expo­nen­tial­ly. For exam­ple, dig­i­tal com­pa­nies com­pete for a long time just mov­ing along decep­tive­ly until one day … you find they’ve dis­rupt­ed your cus­tomer. From there, expo­nen­tial com­pa­nies seek to dema­te­ri­al­ize, demon­e­tize and democ­ra­tize,” he says, briefly describ­ing the con­cept of his book Expo­nen­tial Theory.

Says Bare, “Near­ly every indus­try is in a tran­si­tion — whether they know it or not.”

What People are saying
  • Aaron was employed by our Credit Union Board of Directors to assist in the process of choosing a new name for our organization.  We were evaluating 3 different organizations to assist in this process and choose Complete Strategies. He was very professional and knowledgeable in all facets of the process. I would highly recommend him his work to others.
    Don Bregin
    First Data Independent Sales Electronic Payment Services
  • Aaron Bare, in one word ~ brilliant. He has already proven time after time he can create, grow, and turnaround businesses generating millions in long term revenue and relationships. He truly thrives on taking one genius idea, organizing a plan, and focusing on execution — all while changing the world!
    T.J. Loftus
    Biz dev, internet marketing consultant, web entrepreneur
  • Aaron has strategic cunning and great business acumen. His leadership skills are his most obvious strength.
    Jack Wu
  • Aaron redefines time and energy every day. He has the ability to implement when others are just thinking about reading more on an idea. He is a true pioneer that has courage and spirit to venture into the unknown; it is these qualities that make him a superb entrepreneur and leader. I have had the pleasure of working with Aaron on many projects in our MBA and now continue to work with him on mobile business applications. In addition to his boundless energy for creation he sees connections between social networking, marketing and sales that drive efficiencies in turning leads into customers. I would say that he is a genius in the social marketing area.
    Shawn Seaton
    MBA, Strategic IT thinker and implementer who solves complex application, infrastructure, people or project issues
  • Aaron Bare developed a Custom Disruptive Workshop for Coca-Cola’s Largest Cross-Functional customer team.  This 3-day program included disruptive innovation sessions, how best to organize disruption, and used change to align the entire team on accountabilities & goals that would drive results. He was able to disrupt the way the organization was traditionally thinking by introducing several techniques that will enable the team to become change agents, while deploying several new meaningful projects that will drive the team’s collaboration, team strengths, and focus based on the customer & Coca-Cola’s objectives. He provided an environment that allowed our associates to understand the speed of change, the skills & capabilities required to be an integral part of our customer’s growth, and gained the alignment of the team to commit to each other to be their ‘best’.    It was a huge home run for our team and the outside thinking was just what we needed….
    Cathy Horgan
    VP, The McDonald’s Division, USA
    The Coca-Cola Company
  • I have had the pleasure to know Aaron for several years and finally see him at work providing expert guidance and services to one of my businesses. His knowledge and expertise is unsurpassed and he is very enjoyable to work with on a project.
    Tom Fulcher
    The Idea Gardener LLC
  • Aaron Bare and JobingTV have been instrumental in the recruitment efforts at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. Their outstanding ability to present the St. Joseph’s spirit in each of our Jobing TV segments has been phenomenal.
    De Anne Russell
    SPHR, Manager – Arizona Service Area Talent Acquisition and Employment Branding
    Dignity Health
  • I have known Aaron for almost 15 years and he is one of the most dedicated people I have ever worked with. Aaron is focused on building mutually beneficial partnerships and has an exceptional business mind. He also has wide experience in evaluating human performance and has become a leader in this area.
    Mike Reed
    Meeting Consultant
  • As a marketing major, I always think about how I can utilize both my business degree and the law degree, and your lecture opened my eyes to things I never considered before. Thank you!
    Sangduk Simon Lee
    Lewis & Clark University
  • Aaron is a dedicated professional who truly understands the concept of serving and not just selling. It’s rare to find someone who “gets it” and then “lives it”
    Rick Stoddard
    Managing Partner, Performance Plus, LLC & Chief Coaching Officer, VP & Regional General Manager
    Process Corporation, Rocky Mountain Region
  • Aaron spoke to a global growth conference for the Russian Science Technology and Education Center and was extremely effective in communicating his ideas about marketing online. I enjoyed his fresh take on internet searching and how to prepare online information both to be found and to impress the right audience.
    Doug Bruhnke
    Growth Nation and The Global Chamber
  • Buzz Mouth! What can I say! Aaron Bare has molded Buzz Mouth into THE cutting edge entity for helping businesses and individuals breakthrough and occupy the space they covet by delivering the right message at the right time with the right tool to targeted audiences. Buzz Mouth has harnessed a unique mix of social media, brand positioning and collaborative consulting which is unmatched by others in the business arena today. Aaron and Buzz Mouth were invaluable in helping to put Brand Aspirations on the map. Why wait for 2020, when you can be there now with Aaron and Buzz Mouth!
    Stephen F. Horgan
    Founder Brand Aspirations
  • Aaron provided me a great overview of products to help me in my career and provide additional contacts I was looking for. Aaron was very easy to work with and extremely responsive on all issues!
    Michael Dendinger
    Senior Manager, Strategic Supplier Management
  • Aaron is a big picture thinker, who thrives on creating new ideas and cutting edge technologies. He has the unique ability to also relate these concepts to others with both passion and ease.   I’m always happy to work on projects with Aaron and Buzz Mouth – he fosters a fast-paced and innovative environment.
    Laura Fursman
    Executive Assistant, Blogger, Artist
  • Mr. Bare came to Florida International University to speak about entrepreneurship generally, and how to be disruptive in the legal field.  By disruptive, he meant changing how things are done in the legal field and learning how to capitalize on those changes. The most important thing that I took from Mr. Bare’s presentation was that it is vital to become an expert in something.  Really, it is less important what that something is, just so long as you are an expert somewhere.  From there, all that remains is to find out how to capitalize on that expertise.  Essentially, Mr. Bare helped us realize that no matter what you are an expert in, somebody somewhere will need that expertise.  Therein lay opportunity. Overall, I thought Mr. Bare was fantastic.  He is among the more interesting speakers we have had the opportunity to host this academic year.
    Philip Howard
    Federal Society President
    Florida International University
  • Aaron has the ability to take a complex subject (social media) and break it down to understandable terms (for a 50 year old). I respect not only his expertise in social media but the fact that he brings a wealth of experience from the staffing industry – he “gets” what Duffy does and is effectively massaging the language so potential customers will understand immediately what recruiting research is.
    Kathryn Duffy
    Duffy Group
  • Aaron Bare was a great value partner in our recent name change and marketing efforts. He gave us an agenda to follow with timelines as well, to get our project done. We think Aaron Bare is the type of person that everyone would enjoy working with, as well as learning from his vast experience and great wealth of knowledge.
    Marsha Bare
    CENTERLINE Federal Credit Union
  • Aaron Bare’s presentation about the dynamics of the marketplace and our potential as entrepreneurs opened an entirely new set of possibilities for us. Welded to legal theory, we too easily forget about the reality of business and the dynamics beyond the staid examples of our hypotheticals. Law cannot possibly keep up with changes in technologies and global markets. Success will require vigilance for opportunities and a tolerance for risk. Mr. Bare’s fresh presentation breathed fresh thought into our law school, a perspective we direly needed.
    Nicholas Chidiac
    Federalist Society, George Washington University
  • I highly recommend Aaron Bare and Buzzmouth for your marketing needs. They are fun to work with and really go the extra mile to make sure you have what you need, on time and on budget!   I will definitely hire Aaron’s team at Buzzmouth in the future!
    Sara Decker
    Turning Pointe Wealth Management
  • Aaron is the perennial entrepreneur. His ability to generate new ideas and processes was instrumental and inspirational while we worked together. He and I became good friends because of his great work ethic, exceptional demeanor and incredibly enthusiastic attitude towards work and life. I learned quite a bit from Aaron in the short time we were colleagues and I look forward to learning more from him as a friend in the future.
    David Gallello
    Senior IT, Operations and Marketing Expert
  • JD’s may be better entrepreneurs than MBA’s.  The talk by Aaron Bare re: entrepreneurial opportunities in the law was motivating!
    Alden Hinds
    JD candidate
  • Aaron helped Simply Servers develop hiring strategies that helped us recruit quality employees for our unique business model. Then he paired that with the newly formed Jobing TV segment without his help and the help of the team. Aaron is a great at making connections and solidifying relationships!
    Bonnie Bauman
    Operations Manager
    Kool Party Rentals
  • Aaron is a truly innovative, high energy entrepreneur. He has a great grasp of how to own and grow businesses coupled with a kindred spirit for commerce. I look forward to working with him again in the near future.
    Kyle Stanton
    EE, MBA, President
    Titus Innovations Inc.
  • It was such a pleasure meeting and hearing you speak on Thursday at the ASU event about pitching and all of the little elements that truly make a difference when doing so.
    Arizona State University
  • Aaron’s presentation was intriguing and thought-provoking.  He provided a unique perspective of the future of the legal profession and the impact that technology has had, and will continue to have, in shaping the way attorneys practice law.
    Aaron Boothby
    Federal Society President
    University of Akron
  • Thank you for making this understandable and actionable. Enjoyed the evening.
    Startup Entrepreneur
  • I just wanted to say thank-you again for speaking at the event at McGeorge School of Law on Monday. I had excellent feedback from students who were encouraged by your presentation. These days especially, law school can become an environment where discussions about careers become dreary, discouraging, and full of doomsday predictions. It was exciting to see students energized about what they can accomplish and how to accomplish it. I am sure future leaders of the Federalist Society at McGeorge would love to welcome you back.
    Courtney Martin
    Federalist Society at McGeorge
  • Just attended a motivating lecture from @aaronbare at BLS. The legal world needs to innovate and keep pace with technology!
    Kristen Dufour
    JD Candidate
    Brooklyn School of Law
  • Though some of the information I have heard before, most of your workshop was newly found knowledge which I am implementing right away. A) I practiced a “question” approach with a potential new customer today, and B) I have made a conscious effort, and have been successful, in not using “but, can’t, or try” even once today. I constantly read/hear successful people saying how their mentors have been instrumental in their success (this is where I would normally use “but”), I have yet to find my mentor. I would love to continue our conversation and explore the opportunity of you becoming my mentor. The refreshing difference that I noticed in your approach is that you have practical advice and suggestions, unlike my experience with business coaches who have a great conceptual ideas. Please let me know what would be the next step for us to proceed.
    Startup Entrepreneur
  • Aaron is focused on the needs of the client, delivering what was promised or more. He is consistent and innovative. He works hard to present the client in a way that is both distinguishing and exemplar.
    Rebecca MacTavish
  • Aaron is a true networker. He is continuously striving to connect people for mutual benefit in a friendly and positive way. His efforts extend the people he works with and creates new opportunities for many. I am happy to have Aaron Bare in my personal and business network.
    Bill Gluth
    Creative Thinking for Exceptional Businesses
  • Your presentation amazed me. The whole time you really had me at the edge of my seat.  Aaron I know that you mentioned that you wanted to be surrounded by people that don’t want to live life just as it is. If there is anyway I could become one of those people in mentorship, or helping in any area. Your talk impressed me and to have even a few moments of your time would help me 10x. The two hour presentation has already boosted me 100 times more than I would have been.
    Startup Entrepreneur
  • Aaron Bare’s insightful intellect helps audiences better understand the disruptive nature of social media and the negative and positive impacts on their lives.  His insights allow them to leave with a deeper understanding of the challenges they face in these rapidly changing times and the tools and resources necessary to not only compete, but succeed!
    Jeff McKeever
    MicroAge and WPO Disruption Chair
  • I invited Aaron to present to a ‘C’ Level group of executives on Disruption and its impact on business models and leadership. He succeeded in making a number of us uncomfortable with both the speed and scope of change across a broad swath of hard product and digital verticals.  Aaron was knowledgeable, engaging, balanced and gave our group many compelling examples of the forces driving business model challenges, along with some solutions derived from creative adaptation. Fast decisions, trial and error pivots and business model changes (while also limiting the risks of huge bets), along with technologies ‘simplifying’ force offered important insights for our group and particularly powerful takeaways.
    Bruce Black
    M&A Advisor
    Fox & Fin Financial Group
  • I recommend Aaron highly, and especially appreciate his ability communicate effectively and to find positive solutions to some of my business challenges.
    Valerie Simpson
    Small Business Consultant, Efficiency & Productivity Consultant
  • Thanks for the seminar today at BLS! Some very interesting ideas on how technology can/will change the legal profession.
    Jed Bernstein
    JD Candidate
    Brooklyn School of Law
  • There are very few actual movers and shakers with a vested interest in the Phoenix community who have a solid intelligent background and grasp on business at a high level. Aaron is one of those rare individuals. I met Aaron many years ago on a plane and was impressed from the start. I have had the pleasure of working with him throughout the years on projects, and have also had clients and colleagues who have had the same pleasure with amazing results. Aaron is top notch!
    Amanda Vega
    Social Media, PR, and Compliance Nerd with 20 years experience. CEO, Published Author, Professional Speaker
  • Comments about Aaron Bare’s presentation have become viral on our campus. The students quickly and easily identified with him. The faculty and staff have continued to discuss his talking points with the students. The campus is in full buzz with phrases and descriptions that include: ‘Inspiring’ ‘Motivational’ ‘A career maker’ ‘I can’t stop thinking about his comments’ ‘I will be an entrepreneur’ Aaron is THE Entrepreneurial MAN!
    Dr. Jeffrey Walls
    Indiana Institute of Technology
  • In August, 2012, Aaron Bare presented and facilitated a dialogue on “Disruption Influences on Leadership and Innovation” to our annual corporate strategic planning retreat.  Aaron’s presentation style is comfortable and conversational, yet provocative and stimulating.  His interaction with our team left us full of ideas, and wanting more!  Our firm is committed to deploying our “energy and ideas for a better world”.  Aaron talked about how “disruption is innovative leaders being the change they see in the world.”  We have embraced his ideas and are using them to bring as we seek to inspire positive social change and create a better world. We highly endorse Aaron as an outstanding presenter, thinker, entrepreneur, and innovator.
    Richard Tollefson
    The Phoenix Philanthropy Group
  • I had the opportunity to work with Aaron on multiple projects during our EMBA program. Aaron immediately stood out as an individual with innovative ideas, exemplary business acumen, and a great knowledge of social media. Aaron has always taken the time to share his wealth of knowledge with the members of our class and has inspired the creation of entrepreneurial ventures because of it. I highly recommend Aaron Bare.
    Robert Vega
    Marketing/Digital Strategy Consultant
    Southwest Kidney Institute
  • Aaron Bare’s presentation spoke to the technological push in every industry and the need for lawyer’s to adapt, encouraging participant’s to consider new issues, and move the legal field into the technological age.  Aaron’s unique perspective and forward thinking approach throw participant’s into the chaos of disruptive influences, bringing it full circle by introducing new and innovative ways of considering technology and the legal field.
    James Devereaux
    Federalist Society Chapter, William & Mary School of Law

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