Technology purchases have become increasingly more challenging, and in some cases more expensive and in all cases more important to the success of a business. Each time a business introduces a new technology into their business, there is a chance that the technology will have a negative impact verses a positive impact. This risk of failure makes the selection, implementation and maintenance of all-important business technology even more critical.
The risk of failure of choosing the right technology for your business can be greatly reduced by developing a plan or checklist to use in the process. This approach is really nothing more than what successful business owners do when they make other crucial decisions. Collecting information and organizing one’s thoughts related to the subject matter greatly increases the chance of making the right decision.
There are 3 Critical Questions that I believe should be asked when evaluating new technology and its potential impact on your business.
First, you need to evaluate the technology and the company that provides it. The technology should not only meet your current needs but also those anticipated in the future. It should be flexible, expandable and easy to use. The company that supplies the technology should have a stable track record that shows they are committed to their product/services for the long-haul. If they fail, are there other providers that could fill the void and support the technology? You never want to be in a place where you have technology that works today but has no support for tomorrow.
Secondly, what actual impact will the technology have on your business. You should try to develop some measurable bench marks so that your expectations are more objective than subjective. The potential impact of the technology should be measured against the learning curve of the employees who will use and benefit from it. Will your workforce embrace the technology so that it offers the return you expect? The potential impact on your customer, vendors and your overall business should be considered as well.
Lastly, what are the capabilities and track record of the potential vendor(s) who will deliver, install, and maintain the new technology. The right vendor will understand your business in general as well as the area they are directly impacting with the technology. A vendor who takes time to evaluate your overall business is more likely to provide the right technology that will deliver the highest return. The vendor must also understand your workforce and the impact the technology will have on their ability to produce. Most often new technology is implemented to increase productivity. However, if the workforce is unable or unwilling to accept and use the technology there can be an actual reduction in productivity.
I encourage you, as a business owner, to make the investment in time and resources to plan the purchase of your next technology. Evaluating your employees, existing process and procedures and your expected return on the investment help insure success with the purchase. The actual selection of the technology itself coupled with selection of the right vendor to install and maintain technology will go further in insuring the success of the technology in your business.
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