Automating company processes such as accounting and customer service is an attractive thing to do for many company owners. This not only reduces the cost of running the business, but it also makes it a lot more effective as well. However, how do you ensure that the decision you are making is the right one? It’s very important that people do enough research prior to investing in solutions such as automation of systems in a company. The goal is to make sure that you get the most value for money, and that you end up putting in place measures that will be relatively future-proof. Some of the ways of doing this include:
Find out what current technologies are available
If you are not very conversant with a specific form of technology, it would be unwise for you to simply invest in it for the sake of doing so. It’s better for you to find out where current technology stands, and then use this as the benchmark to work towards. Take, for instance, the decision to store all your data in the cloud. Rather than simply signing up for a free data storage service, it would be a good idea for you to find out what cutting edge technologies are used for cloud storage, as well as what other features you can get from the system. Once this is done, you will then be in a better position to assess the suitability of any firm that offers you the service. It will be easier for you to identify a firm that offers services that are clearly outdated in this way.
Social media can be your friend
What are your peers doing in terms of using technology to run businesses better? What are some of the experiences that people have when using some IT solutions? This is information that can help you decide on how to implement an IT system. For instance, if you find that there is a particular IT solution that is associated with many teething problems, you could avoid using it if you are more interested in a smooth transition.
This is where social media can help you out a lot. Using sites such as Facebook and Twitter, you can analyze all the chatter regarding the solution you are thinking of using. This method of gathering information is usually effective since it allows you to plug into what both professionals and regular users have to say about the product. This gives you a more rounded view.
Don’t be afraid to analyze the technical details
Say you are interested in getting a new internet connection service for your office. If you come across a claim such as ‘our company offers a 60MB/s uplink’, what does this really mean to you? You should take the time to analyze such technical information in order to find out what they really mean and whether or not they are suitable for you. In the case of the internet connection scenario above, some of the questions you could ask include:
• Is this a constant speed, or does it vary with time?
• Is the connection speed enough for your needs?
Doing this for every technology you come across and are interested in will help you see beyond the marketing spiel, and this will make it easier for you to make a decision that you can live with.
Don’t be afraid to sound ignorant when dealing with the contractor
Once you decide that you are going to invest in a particular technology for your business, you will need to consult a contractor to make it happen. Before doing this, it is customary to have a discussion with them so that you can furnish them with the details of what you expect. During such an interaction, you should not be afraid to sound ignorant. Even if a question sounds dumb to you, you should ask it anyway as long as you end up understanding the technical details of the investment. The goal is to make sure that by the time you pay the contractor to effect the changes you have asked them to, you will have a very clear idea of what they will be doing and how the technology will benefit your business.
The issue of being future proof
The other concern you need to address before investing in new technology is finding out whether it is future proof or not. The goal is to make sure that whatever technology you invest in will have a lifespan that is long enough to give you good returns on it in future. If you use a technology that is too archaic, you will find that within a very short time, it will not be sufficient to sustain your needs. You will therefore need to pay for another upgrade. This is both expensive and very inconvenient, and can be avoided by investing in newer technologies that are relatively future proof.