Although exploring and implementing new technology seems like a daunting task, continual technology updates are crucial for the long-term health and success of your business. While there’s no shortage of applications available, it’s important that these solutions work best for your business objectives and processes. Thoroughly assessing a technology solution and determining how it fits into your organization before selecting one is key.
Here are some considerations for a more seamless and streamlined process:
1. Develop your goals
Outline a comprehensive list of actionable goals you are looking to achieve with a technology solution. Determine your timeline, urgent needs, personnel involved and your budget. Establishing a clear vision before beginning the evaluation process will help you to remember your high-priority objectives and eliminate solutions that don’t meet your criteria.
2. Understand how your data is used
Understanding what a technology company is doing with your data is important. What information are they collecting? Are they sharing your data with third parties? Is the information you are supplying necessary in successfully solving your issues? Ensure your IT department assesses these details and helps you understand the security fine print.
3. Identify integration needs
Compile a list of your current technology solutions and determine if they will successfully integrate with the new solution. Can your new solution replace any older solutions you currently have in place? Are you using the cloud to share information between platforms? Effectively utilizing cloud offerings can save your business time and resources. Let the technology do the work for you.
4. Determine scalability
One of your top goals is likely to grow your business. Does this technology solution offer the flexibility to grow with you without disrupting your current workflows? Does it offer more tools that you may need for the future? Can you upgrade to a different plan with more functionality, data storage or a higher user limit? The technology should have the ability to support your business, now and into the future.
5. Determine points of access
If your business has increased the number of remote and hybrid workers, consider how the technology solution will work for them. What devices are they using to access the solution? Are you comfortable with that? If a remote worker is using a solution that stores client data on a mobile device that’s stolen, how will you respond to that? Are they using a secure network? Gaining an understanding of how your remote workers will be interacting with a technology solution should be incorporated into your strategic plan.
6. Assess their customer service
You will likely have questions about the software after the implementation process, even if you have participated in comprehensive training. Your business development representative or implementation team may be pleasant to work with, but what about after you’ve rolled out the product? What type of support does the vendor offer? When is their team available to you? What resources do they have? Ask these important questions before selecting your solution and try reading reviews to understand whether the customer service team is equipped to help you solve obstacles you may face. Don’t be afraid to push back on your vendor, even going as far to ask for resources to be swapped out if they are not working out for you. While disruptive, it is better to incur a loss on project implementation than correcting mistakes after the go-live.
7. Evaluate the cost
Though the total price can seem overwhelming, consider the resources you are saving and the capacity for growing your business you are gaining by implementing the new solution. If you are spending money on a monthly subscription, how much will you be saving over time if you buy the full product? What other technologies can you eliminate? Can you redistribute that money for other business development projects? Try not to focus solely on the initial investment.
And remember – the technology solution you select doesn’t have to be perfect. It just needs to be best for you. It doesn’t need to solve every issue your company has. It just needs to align with your clearly established goals and work well for your team members. Following a clearly outlined process will make your next technology implementation process smoother, quicker and more coordinated between staff members.
Once your organization has selected the best tool for your needs, developing a strategy for use and an implementation plan is an important next step prior to rollout.