In the cut-throat world of business, organizations have two choices: continuously improve, or get left behind.
Customers expect fast service and value for money. That means that if you don’t want to lose out to your competitors, you need to be on your toes.
And if you can improve your business and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time? Well, count that as another win for your company as well as for the planet.
But how do you make sure you’re at the cutting edge of your industry?
Well, in today’s digital world, introducing new technology can be a fantastic way to stay ahead of the crowd.
However, even the best digital solution will only work if it is properly implemented. So, where do you start?
Identify Areas for Improvement
Before you begin identifying the best new technologies for your business, it’s helpful to establish whether you have any existing problems that need solutions. Or whether there are any areas that you could improve upon.
Think about what you could change to:
- improve productivity
- reduce costs
- and/or improve procedures
To do this, consider asking your customers and employees for feedback. Perhaps your service could be quicker at dealing with inquiries? Or maybe customers would appreciate a live chat option on your website?
Whatever problem or area for improvement you identify, there are likely to be technical solutions available to you.
The key is finding the right option for your business.
Compare the Different Options on the Market
Once you have identified problems and areas for improvement, it is tempting to jump straight into the solution.
But, that could lead to choosing the wrong technology for your business. So, instead, thoroughly research your options.
To make this process as effective as possible, you may find it helpful to locate a number of different companies offering the digital solution you’re looking for first.
You can then use this list to create a shortlist based on:
- And ease of use
Don’t be afraid to contact the different providers for more information tailored specifically to your business. And reviews can be incredibly useful in narrowing down your favorites.
Once you have decided on a provider, it is time to consider how you will implement your new technology throughout your business.
Determine who will use the New Technology
Who will be using your new technology? A few key members of staff or your entire company?
Will your customers have access to the technology through your website?
These are important questions with serious implications for your business. The sooner you identify the key stakeholders, the quicker you can formulate plans for appropriate employee training.
And, if customers will also have access to the tech, it will allow ample time to create external ‘how to’ guides and FAQ pages.
Remember, new technology can only benefit your business if the relevant members of staff use it properly.
This means making sure your employees are on board with the change and are confident in using the technology you are implementing.
But, no matter how adequately you prepare for change, you are still likely to face some resistance to the proposed changes.
Prepare for Resistance
Learning to use a new technology means stepping out of your comfort zone, and this can make people uncomfortable.
Because of this, introducing new technology to your team is likely to be met by initial resistance. At least from some of your employees.
This is a problem as a small number of negative reactions can create a counterculture that impacts on morale and productivity.
So, to prepare for negative responses, communicate your intentions early and accept feedback. This will give your team a chance to get used to the proposed changes and will ensure that they feel listened to.
Additionally, be sure to explain the reasons behind the changes. The more your staff understands your decision, the more likely they are to react positively (especially if it will eventually make their jobs easier).
Ask: ‘How will I Measure Success?’
Before you set a date to implement your new technology, it pays to know how you’ll measure its success.
For some digital solutions, this will be an easy process: you will simply need to watch your profits to see whether the solution is working.
But for most new technologies, the impact can be more complex. So, consider gathering feedback on productivity and customer satisfaction, as well as assessing the impact on your bottom line.
How Your New Technology will be Integrated with Existing Software
When you are integrating new technology, it’s essential to ensure that your existing tech and hardware is up to scratch.
For example, innovative software won’t be very helpful if the rest of your equipment is outdated or not properly maintained.
You can either optimize, upgrade, or replace your computer.
So, assess your current set up and consider whether any improvements can be made. There are many ways you can do this:
- First, check that your existing tech is compatible with the digital solution you plan to implement.
- Then, estimate whether your software is meeting it’s potential. If your computers are running slowly, you can do a few things to speed them up. (Mac, Windows)
- Next, consider your hardware. If your computers are on the older side, consider cleaning your hardware.
Be Prepared for Teething Problems
Implementing new technology is a process, not a one-off event. This means that teething problems are to be expected.
Instead of worrying about teething problems, use them as opportunities to improve.
Schedule anonymous employee surveys to discover how staff members are coping with the changes. And depending on the impact to customers, consider using focus groups to garner opinion on what is and isn’t working.
As you progress, you should begin to iron out any initial kinks. And before long you will see the positive results new technology has on your organization.
The original version of this article was first published on Future of Work.