Before you have a read through this article, you may want to check out other blogs on Digital Transformation, or understand business strategy tools, such as Scenario Planning and Porter’s Five Force Analysis.
Which technology is best suited to your business?
Technology is everywhere around us today, and with the growth of technology, businesses are having to consider which technology systems are best suited to their needs or requirements and in doing so, make an informed decision on which piece of software to invest in which meets their requirements. So if technology can be considered as the number one tool for improving the efficiency of how a business operates, lets take a look at which types technology are currently supporting this, and the steps to selecting a new software system for your business.
This is no easy task for business leaders, as it is important that they are selecting and implementing a system which is of high quality, improves business performance and generates a return on investment (ROI). Before taking a look at the five steps you could follow when selecting an appropriate technology system, let’s consider the different types of technologies which are currently being implemented within businesses around the world today.
Types of technology systems
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) Systems: Artificial intelligence systems are being developed and implemented within many different companies and industries to deliver value to customers. For example, within the retail industry, many large retail brands have online chat bots capable of delivering end users feedback and information based on their requirements, which in return is improving customer service for that business.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems: The most common type of customer relationship management (CRM) system which is being used is the likes of HubSpot. This system is built in a way to allows organisations to deal with and manage their customer requests more effectively. Companies now have the option to integrate their CRM with text messaging for faster communication. This could boost responsiveness and build stronger customer relationships.
- Project Management Systems: Those businesses which find themselves dealing with large amounts of clients at a given time will normally have a project management system developed or implemented within the business. This type of system allows businesses to manage their resources more effectively, and improve productivity and performance by scheduling employees and allocating tasks accordingly.
- Enterprise Resource Planning(ERP) Systems: Enterprise Resource Planning systems are set up in a way to manage the operations of a business. The tools within these technology systems will allow you to make better use of the key areas within your business, such as human resources, supply chain management, finance and project management. Therefore having all these key resources within the one system will allow you to become more efficient and flexible with your time and decision making.
- Communication Systems: Many businesses use online communication systems as their approach in speaking with their customers, and in most cases their employees as well. Direct messaging can be seen through the likes of email, or chat boxes such as Slack. In addition, the need for voice over systems has grown massively in recent years where zoom or microsoft teams are used by business for many different reasons such as meetings, training purposes or conferences.
- Cyber Security Systems: Many businesses run the risk of being faced with cyber attacks and for those businesses which hold a high amount of confidential employee or customer data, it may be worthwhile deploying a system which mitigate this risk and prevent any data being lost or stolen.
5 Steps to Selecting Technology
Identify your needs
Within this step, you want to take a step back and consider your vision. You want to be thinking about what we are setting out to achieve, and what the end result will look like. An individual with company experience and knowledge will likely carry out this process as they will have a good understanding of what areas of the business needs improving and what the end outcome should look like. Below lists some of the actions which could be taken during this step;
- Conduct an external analysis: Looking at the Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal (PESTEL) factors that could impact your business will be a good starting point towards becoming aware of any future threats that may impact your decisions towards selecting an appropriate piece of technology.
- Carry out a SWOT Analysis: Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your businesses, then having awareness of the opportunity and threats which currently exist will allow you to become proactive and make more informed decisions.
- Analyse your current business processes and workflows: Understanding the internal operations of the business will also be key to both deciding which areas of the business require change, and how the new technology will match or change your current business processes and operational workflows.
- Communicate with your stakeholders: Understanding who this technology will affect most will be key to the overall process. For example, speaking internally to your employees, understand their frustrations or any other they feel needs improvement, as well as collaborating with forms of management to discuss what the ideal outcome or scenario to selecting the correct technology would look like will create awareness and a vision to how the technology can impact the company.
- Set SMART goals: When you have communicated with your key stakeholders, you will want to set goals which are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound, clearly identifying what you want to achieve through the technology which is being implemented.
Do your research
The second step is completing research into the technology you aim to implement within your business. If we take things into perspective, if you were planning to buy a car, you are likely to consider all your options before deciding what one suits you best in terms of price and quality. The same applies with selecting technology. Some key questions you want to ask your during this stage have been listed below;
- Does the technology match your processes and workflows or are there ways to use the technology to improve current ways of doing things?
- Does the new technology support the growth and development of your company?
- What are other companies or customers saying about the technology?
- Are there any risks associated with implementing the technology?
Evaluate ROI and Scalability
The price of technology is going to be a major factor when deciding upon selecting and implementing new technology within your business. It is also important to calculate the return on investment (ROI) and scalability capability, factoring in the price of service implementation support and any future maintenance or upgrading costs. Some key questions you should ask yourself have been listed below;
- How many users will be impacted by this technology, and how does this affect the price?
- Do you have the financial capability to implement this technology?
- Do you have the financial capability to support the implementation if this takes longer than you expected?
- Does this technology support the growth and employment of new employees within the workplace?
Test and Pilot
In most case scenarios, there are different versions or types of technology when deciding upon a technology software system. For example, if you were to select a project management software system for your business there are many different options such as Monday.com, ClickUp, Asana and Teamwork.
Therefore, the best method to select a piece of technology is to begin by shortlisting each of your options down to around 1-3 based on your needs which you have identified, then test and pilot each within the business to identify which one suits your business the most.
Key considerations within this steps;
- Involvement: This step offers the opportunity to involve your key stakeholders in terms of your customers or employees within the testing of the technology system. These groups of individuals will know the business the best and will be able to offer transparent review and feedback on the new technology being selected.
- Communication: You will want to create clear communication opportunities, whether it be through group feedback meetings or instant messaging, the easier it is for your key stakeholders find it to communicate how they feel about the new technology during the testing and piloting stage will have an effect on how successful the end outcome will be.
- Scoring Analysis: Creating an in-depth scoring analysis sheet to analyse each of the technologies strengths and weaknesses will be critical to concluding and deciding which system is best suited towards your goals and objectives. The end outcome of which technology you choose should be backed with both data analysis results, and communication feedback from your stakeholders.
- Create Milestones: As a leader on this process you will want to create milestones and look for opportunities to celebrate success when testing each of the systems. The more motivated your customers or employees are during this process, the easier it will be for them to become embedded in the new ways of working. Therefore, showing your praise and communicating the positive impact of their involvement in testing and piloting the new system will be important.
Now you have come to the conclusion to which technology is best suited to your business and your overall needs, you are in a position to negotiate the terms. Many technology providers have a fixed monthly rate per user however depending on how flexible you are, or your provider is, you may be in a position to come to an agreement on the terms.
That summarises an overview of the 5 types of technology your business could potentially leverage and use to exploit opportunities and grow in the future. If you enjoyed this article and want to view more content like this, make sure and check ProfileTree’s Youtube out for more. Thank you!