What to think about when choosing technology
Technology should be implemented only in the context of careful strategic and operational planning, and not just “buy software for the sake of buying it” just because everyone else does. It should at the very least help you to increase revenue, improve client engagement and save on operating costs.
To ensure uptake of a new system in your business . . .
- Plan well & align with your overall company strategy . . . make sure that when you choose and deploy software that you have a clear rationale and context to reach company goals, and that you have input and support from the workforce in the planning stage.
- Don’t automate an already flawed manual system . . . rather redesign your manual process to an optimum standard or best practice and then automate a proven method that works for your business.
- Integrate with other processes & align with your overall company strategy . . . focus on information-sharing across all aspects of your business, such as marketing, sales, and service. Marketing staff should be able to leverage client information from sales and service to better target campaigns and offers. And support agents require quick and complete access to a client’s sales and service history.
- Deploy a system that is easy to use . . . all solutions are not created equal, and some vendors offer more user-friendly applications than others. Simplicity should be as important a decision factor as functionality.
- Choose the right capabilities . . . employees need to know that time invested in learning and usage will yield personal advantages. If not, they will work around or ignore the system.
- Provide training . . . changing the way people work is no small task, and help is usually a requirement. Even with today’s more usable systems, many staffers still need assistance with learning and adoption.
- Lead by example . . . showing employees that upper management fully supports the use of a new application by using the application themselves may increase the likelihood that employees will adopt the application.
When choosing a vendor . . .
- Been in business a while and can prove it – can provide references and a list of customers
- Can provide real time technical support – telephone, online and email support, user forums and even better, a knowledge base that is easy to access.
- Products come with free updates and refund policies – free software updates and no-questions-asked should you not like the software and want to return it – usually allow a 60 day trial period.
- Listen and respond to your feedback – when you have suggestions, ideas or complaints they actually listen and let you know if they’re going to apply it.
- Have a track record of development and refinement – products are mature, stable and offer you real business solutions, not just fluffy, nifty features.
- Offer flexible options to purchase, license or lease – a structure that’s right for YOUR business.
- Standards approved – meet an industry best practice, benchmark or standard that is internationally recognised and reviewed.
- Software is easy to integrate with other systems – or at the very least can synchronise with others so that you avoid duplication of data.