Ensuring your technology investments pay off
Technology investments can do much more than just satisfy basic business needs. With the right planning, they can play a critical role in boosting your company’s competitiveness, growth and profits.
But when small and medium-sized businesses go shopping for technology, it’s not unusual to hear about costly investments not paying off. Here are some common pitfalls.
Tech purchases are often made hastily or in an emergency—not as a thoughtfully planned part of a business strategy.
- Businesses rely on product vendors for advice when choosing systems.
- Purchases tend to be carried out by staff with little IT expertise.
- Technology is often viewed as an expense rather than as a strategic tool.
Training and implementation – technology investments
You’ve gone out and invested in a major new technology system, but it’s not working out the way you hoped. Benefits are taking too long to realize and employees are grumbling about the confusing new technology. What’s
There’s a strong chance the culprit is a lack of employee training. It’s one of the most common challenges in implementing new technology, especially in smaller companies where training is sometimes not a priority. Yet training is especially vital as technology products become more robust.
10 steps to successful technology investments
Before making a technology purchase, do your homework. Many major IT implementations go off the rails because the product isn’t a good fit with a company’s needs. The risks are also increased by a large number of products competing for your dollars.
Follow these 10 steps to help ensure your tech purchase turns into a profitable investment—not a money pit. If you lack the required expertise, hire an experienced independent consultant to advise you.
- Prepare a strategic plan for your business, if you haven’t already done so. The plan should include a vision for the future and an action plan for achieving it.
- Make a list of problems with your current operations and technology solutions. Identify perceived opportunities for improvement.
- Create a “needs assessment” for new technology systems. Be sure to base it on your strategic plan and to include implementation needs, such as employee training and any needed re-engineering of business processes.
- Assess potential costs and available resources, keeping in mind that you will have to maintain your systems and update them in the coming years.
- Use your needs assessment to create a request for proposals to send to vendors. Be sure to consider smaller players, not just major suppliers.
- Assign scores to how well vendors meet each requirement and determine the total cost of ownership of each proposal, including costs for licensing professional services and maintenance. Get more information about the vendors by seeking references from other companies.
- Invite your top picks to present their products. Provide them with a “demo script” covering the requirements they must address during their presentation.
- Involve employees throughout the process to help ensure their needs are met and that they take ownership of the new system.
- With employees’ help, develop an action plan for implementing the technology you choose.
- Monitor implementation and impacts.
Contact Musato Technologies to learn more how our deep understanding, implementation, and application of ICT will ensure that your technology investments pay off.
An article adapted from BSD.