Technology decisions are just plain difficult at times. Should I move my CRM to the cloud? Is that new SAN failover solution right for my company? What about image based backup and recovery? The acronyms alone are hard enough to figure out, let alone whether it is the right solution for your business.
Some successfully solve this problem by finding a trusted vendor and relying on them. But what happens when you don’t have that kind of a relationship, or when you are venturing out into a new area, where there is no trusted provider? These decisions are crucial to your business and making the right one is key. Here are 7 factors to consider when making technology decisions:
1. Take the tech jargon out. Jargon is confusing, even when we get it. For instance, “Should I move my CRM to the Cloud?” might translate to, “Do I want to locate my contact information for customers and prospects on a computer at Amazon?” Even if you understand the acronyms, taking the jargon out makes the decision factors more evident. What comes to mind? Is there a risk my information could be accessed by others? Will it cost less? Will it be easier for my salespeople? Will my Internet be fast enough?
2. Look for a process. Most technology requires an organized approach to implementing it. Is there an installation and training plan? Does the company proposing the solution have a documented process for making it happen? Do they seem confident about the next step and the one after that? How will you know when the project is done?
3. Measure your distance to the edge. There is something new in technology all of the time. Be sure to consider where you are on the edginess scale! Are you one of the first to use this new rewrite of your manufacturing software? What could it do to your productivity if it does not work as planned? Sometime you want to be edgy; the goal is to find the leading edge, not the bleeding edge!
4. Calculate the risk. Consider both the up and the downside. How many people might this effect? What could it do to team productivity? Cloud solutions are viable and good when done right and when chosen considering all of the factors. What is the risk if a cloud implementation goes bad? Huge. Getting it right is important.
5. The small stuff is really just small stuff. Sometimes, we spend too much time overthinking things. How to replace a PC or laptop should be a quick decision based on the user’s need and product availability. Get rid of the jargon. Pick the right stuff and move on. Replace at 4-5 years unless a power user, then possibly more often.
6. Remember the human element. Technology usually comes with people attached. Are the people you will work with people you like? What are their values? Are they focused on making your people productive? Are they readily available for support? This factor is doubly important with technology. So many tech people don’t relate well. If integrity is missing, it is convenient to fabricate answers to one’s own benefit.
7. Make sure it doesn’t break something. Sometimes new technology breaks something good we already have going. Will that new cloud based email continue to allow me to send my voicemails to my email inbox? The goal here is to stop and examine all the working parts and make sure that the new thing won’t break the old, or at least make sure we know the investment necessary to fix it.
Technology decisions are sometime difficult because they are out of our comfort zone. They are made easier when we set the technology aside and look at the core issues. Make sure your new technology measures up before taking that leap!