“There’s a tech solution for that.” That statement might as well be a bumper sticker, meme, or trope. At the very least, it belongs on a coffee mug. After all, there’s no dearth of technological options on the market today. And you’d be wise to consider ways to use all that tech to your advantage.
Here’s the issue, though: Not all tech is worth your investment. Sure, some tech looks dazzling on the surface, but what if it’s not right for your company? In that case, you’re just throwing money down a digital hole. That’s hardly good for your bottom line.
5 Ways to Choose the Best Tech Solutions
So how do you decide between all those business cloud services, data management software, AI-empowered systems, and more? Take your time and execute some simple planning steps.
1. Choose tools that will shrink your tech stack.
Do your team members constantly move between programs, losing momentum while manually transporting and searching data? You’re hardly alone. According to Anthem Business Software, the average small company relies on up to 10 different tech tools to accomplish tasks. That’s a lot of logins and probably tons of duplication of effort, too.
Rather than bring one more product (and corresponding logins) into your tech toolkit, search for innovations to help you consolidate your workflows. For instance, a budget-friendly CRM that takes the place of several of your current systems will make life easier on your staff. At the same time, it will reduce the likelihood of human error by removing the need for constant copy-and-paste actions.
Key Takeaway: A jam-packed tech stack can water down your ability to wow customers and pivot fast. Consolidating tech can give your organization a serious efficiency boost.
2. Consult your growth plans.
You have key objectives for the future of your organization. Lay them out like a roadmap before diving into any kind of digital transformation project. Even if they’re not presented as formal business plans, they’ll help you see where you want to go. This allows you to begin looking for tech solutions that will help you reach the goalposts you set up along the way.
An example of this might be to grow your customer base by 50% within a year. With more customers, you’ll inevitably need a strong way to support them and turn them into fans. As Gallup figures show, loyal shoppers can be expected to buy 23% more than other shoppers. In this situation, you would want to explore tech to help you provide exceptional service such as AI chatbots, support software, and maybe even a more robust e-commerce platform.
Key Takeaway: Your growth goals are unique. Make certain any tech you bring into the fold helps you achieve your most ambitious aims.
3. Invest in tech trends with potential.
It can be tempting to put dollars toward the brightest, newest tech solutions available. Even if your stronger competitor uses a specific technology, you don’t have to follow suit. Some tech is trendy but destined for the “fad” heap. Or, it may simply be a dead-end for what you need.
A good rule of thumb to follow as a business leader is to look, pause, and consider before you leap. Moving all your information to the wrong system could result in more than just temporary headaches. Untethering from a bad tech choice can be tricky depending upon the other systems or workflows it affects. How can you avoid this problem? Put tech tools through mini test runs with limited employees and data if you can.
Key Takeaway: Don’t be taken in by flash and early reviews. Google Glass was once heralded as a genius invention but landed in the failure zone.
4. Ask employees about gaps in their processes.
Your workers know more about what they do on a day-to-day basis than you ever could. Tap into their needs by asking them about their most nagging friction points. What irritates them most? What stops them from being as proficient as they’d like? Where do they feel task-related pinches throughout the day?
After you know which problems haunt your team, you can begin working with them to find the right tech solutions. Let’s say that your human resources department complains about having to answer 401(k) questions all the time. You might empower them to look into alternate 401(k) providers that give better access and education to customers. It might seem like a small fix but could eliminate a clear pain point for your people.
Key Takeaway: Never assume that you know the tech that’s best for your crew. Instead, bring them into any major tech adoption decisions early in the planning stages.
5. Consider custom-built tech solutions.
With new tech products emerging every season, you may think that there’s an answer for every problem. But that may not be the case. Your organization could operate in a way that others—including competitors in the same space—do not.
True, building a tech product from the ground up can be pricey. At the same time, it depends upon what the product is. Working with a partner to create a specialized mobile app for your brand might pay for itself in improved customer engagement and sales. So if you can’t find exactly what you need, stay open-minded about inventing it yourself in-house or with a tech development company.
Key Takeaway: Though there’s plenty of products for sale, there’s still tech to be developed. Your company might just find itself in need of something that hasn’t been constructed yet.
One thing’s for certain: You can’t afford to let your tech become outdated. Start the process to modernize your tech toolbox now. As a result, you’ll position your company to remain on the leading edge and power your way into the future.