Keeping up with technology today can be an overwhelming process. Nearly every month there seems to be a new device, new operating system, or new application available for use that makes older versions nearly obsolete. While there can be lots of advantages to keeping your business’ technology up to date, there are a few questions to ask yourself before making any major technological advances at your company.
1. Do We Really Need This?
While some advances in technology are radically more sophisticated and useful than the technology that has come before, some have differences that are barely noticeable. In these cases, what you’ve been using for the past two years will most likely hold out just fine for another year or two. Make sure your business isn’t wasting money by purchasing new software or hardware simply because it’s new. If it isn’t going to make a significant difference in the healthy growth of your business, feel free to wait until something substantially better comes along.
2. Can We Afford This?
You may have been holding off on upgrading certain technology at your company because of costs. When thinking about introducing new technology, ask yourself if that situation has changed at all. If you haven’t been able to afford the upgrade for the past three quarters, was this quarter that much better that you can afford it now?
When calculating the costs of introducing new technology, remember that cost goes beyond the initial purchase price. For equipment, you may need to train staff, have a maintenance professional on call, or even order parts or accessories to have on hand when something simple needs to be replaced while you’re using the equipment during the work day. For software, your employees may still need training, and there could be other products that are meant to be used with the software (such as a 3-D printer with 3-D design software) that you may need to purchase in order to use the software to full capacity.
3. Do Our Partners and Clients Use It?
Being on the cutting edge of technology can be detrimental if your clients and business partners aren’t on the same level as you. This can create connectivity, communication, and productivity issues for you, your partners, and your clients. Before buying new technology, assess how willing your clients and business partners would be to make the change with you, if they haven’t already.
4. Do We Have Time to Make The Switch?
Making any changes in business always takes time, and often more time than we allow. It could be a few hours or several months, but it is important to ask yourself if you have set aside time to make a technological change in your business. Have you set aside time for staff to get properly trained to use the new technology? Have you set aside time to announce to partners and clients that you’re making the change (if applicable)? Do you have a plan and time frame for getting rid of, or uninstalling, the old technology? If you haven’t made the time yet, plan to do so when it’s most convenient for your company.
5. Is This a Long-Term Change?
There are many changes that take place for businesses that are outside of their control, yet can still be painful, chaotic, and frustrating. Internal, self-motivated changes can produce the same feelings if they occur too frequently.
If your employees learned how to fully utilize all your operating system has to offer six months ago, changing operating systems within the next three months will probably just irritate everyone involved and decrease morale and productivity. When making a switch to a new technology, make sure that the change will last several years, as opposed to several months. If, for some reason, it is necessary to make changes on a nearly annual basis, be sure to communicate that to your business partners, clients (as necessary) and employees so that they aren’t caught off guard by the
Introducing new technology into your business can be a move that increases productivity and profits, as long as you take time out to properly assess the effectiveness of making such a change. If you are able to answer ‘yes’ to these five questions, feel free to move forward with making the purchase. If you still find you’re not able to answer ‘yes’ to most, or any, of these questions, it may be in your business’ best interest for you to hold off on the purchase until you’ve made arrangements for a smooth, long-term transition to new technology that has benefits that will be well worth the purchase price.