Does Your Company Have a Weak Link?

Some time ago, I noticed that some part of the investment businesses made in technology was wasted. It’s not that the technology didn’t perform as advertised, it’s more about the business and the benefit it expected to get from the technology.
It’s only recently that it dawned on me that the problem has to do with weak links.
I have started to think of businesses as chains of events. Marketing does its job; a prospect responds; sales takes over; the sale is made; production makes the product; shipping ships it; customer service supports it. Without sales, production can’t do its job, and so on.
Without realizing it, businesses try to optimize specific links in the chain. Production tries to do its job “better.” Marketing tries to do its job “better.” This is where the problem is.
If the weakest link is sales, improving marketing won’t do any good. If the weakest link is production, improving sales won’t do any good. In fact, improving anything but the weakest link can be counter productive.
This is the explanation I’ve been looking for–technology investment is wasted if it does not strengthen the weakest link.
This doesn’t mean that there can’t be more than one weak link. But there can be only one weakest link. Until the weakest link is strengthened, strengthening any other link won’t have an effect.