Information technology is perceived as the magical antidote to all business problems. It’s assumed that once you apply IT to a process, everything will suddenly function better, faster and smarter than before. As many business leaders have found out though, not all tech is created equal. In addition, systems only respond to the inputs provided to them.
Therefore, if you make poor decisions in your IT acquisitions, you are unlikely to realize the gains you anticipate. It doesn’t help that there are hundreds of competing products for almost any tech solution you are looking for.
Check Out the Tech Used By Your Competitors
Competitive analysis has been one of the basic pillars of business strategy development. However, companies must go beyond the traditional review of barriers, threats, and vulnerabilities by looking at the technology the competition is using.
Such analysis should study the advantages the solutions have delivered for competitors, what shortcomings these systems may have and whether the price is value for money. Depending on the strengths and weaknesses of these solutions, you can choose to acquire a similar system or seek one that has overcome the gaps you identified.
Seek Your Customers Validation
Your business’ primary reason for existence is to make a profit. That won’t be possible without a critical mass of customers willing to buy the product. Chances are that you’ve already placed your customers at the center of your product development, marketing, and communication decisions. Take this consultation a step further by seeking their views on the existing technology and the areas they think can be improved to enhance the end-user experience.
For example, you might deploy chatbots on your website to reduce the need for customers to communicate with a person for simple queries. However, chatbots don’t have cross-generational appeal. While Millennials will be happy to interact with a bot, Baby Boomers won’t be as enthusiastic. Talking to your customers will ensure you choose the IT solution with the broadest customer appeal.
Weight Cost Versus Benefits
Buying new technology isn’t too different from the process that guides any other business expenditure. You must perform due diligence and know what product will give you the best value for money. IT solutions can not only be expensive but setting up a new system takes time, money and learning. So your IT expenditure must be one you are ready to live with for several years.
When evaluating the cost of technology, you must focus on the total cost of ownership (TCO). Some IT decisions have an attractively low purchase price but are actually expensive in the medium to long-term thanks to license fees, maintenance costs, mandatory plugins, OS-specific features and more. So make sure you are comparing like for like before you settle on any one product.
It Doesn’t End with Implementation
Setting up a new system can take weeks and months of work depending on its complexity. After pouring so much time and resources into getting the system up and running, it’s tempting to sit back and relax in the expectation that everything will work as well as it should. Yet, taking such a stance will see you jolted back to reality in no time.
The environment the new system operates in won’t be static. There’ll be changes to the hardware, operating system, feeder applications, data volume and the number of simultaneous users. What that means is even if the application was stable, things could turn for the worse due to these changes in its environment.
All IT solutions must, therefore, be subjected to active monitoring and go through a scheduled review to confirm that no bugs and errors have come up. You could, for instance, use log monitoring and analysis tools (see log analysis and log management by Loggly) to keep track of system behavior.
Staying on the cutting edge of the technology revolution is something every business should aspire to do. Good and current technology gives your company a better shot at outrunning the competition. Still, it comes down to the suitability of the IT decisions and solutions you settle on for your business. The above tips can help you make the right decision.
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