Selecting the right technology for your business should be based on much more than an initial attraction or a great looking interface.
So, what should you think about when evaluating technology? Here are some simple steps to follow:
- What are the problems you are trying to solve? Have you taken the time to evaluate problems within your company before looking for a solution? Sometimes, the process begins with a current frustration or attractive presentation, when it should come from a proper assessment of your company’s requirements. Sounds obvious, but have you actually found your business? Getting help with this is invaluable, it often presents unexpected but important questions.
- Does the technology support your business model? If your client’s proposition is about providing holistic planning for life, then your solutions need to align with that. Multiple, disconnected scheduling tools take the focus away from planning.
- Do your plans have integrity? Are the measurements around them consistent? If risk measurement, forecasting, and reporting all use different assumptions, how confident can you be about the plans you offer?
- Do your systems integrate? A properly integrated solution doesn’t all have to come from the same vendor. Choosing the best solutions is in fact fundamental. However, they need to share data and reports effectively. Getting it wrong simply adds inconsistency and cost to your customers.
- Will your people see the value in it? A great customer-facing tool that creates problems for your support team is not a plus. Scoring value across the business is an important decision-making process.
- What data will it give you? We operate in a data-driven world. If the systems you’re selecting don’t allow you to access the critical information they store or share it between all the applications you use, you could file problems downstream.
- What level of change can you handle? While a big bang may seem cathartic, we’re still delivering for customers and running businesses. Small changes can help, but these should be done against the pattern you’ve agreed upon.
- Are you honest? Correctly judging the value of what you have, measured against the business you will become, is essential. This may mean removing long-standing technology and changing habits. Part of your score should include the cost of licensing and maintenance versus the value it offers. If not, remove or replace it.
Your company’s technology needs to be a long-term collaborative relationship. It must support the way you do business with your customers, deliver value throughout your business, and always align with your model for the long term.
Paul Miles is the principal of the Silverback Consultancy