Using the Right Technologies to Improve Your Business Results
Businesses are always seeking a competitive edge with a success checklist which includes:
- Peer admiration
Choosing the right technology set is paramount for your success. However, the process of choosing the technology that suits you best can be challenging.
No company is an island
Companies and businesses are always connected to their customers, their products, and their current and prospective employees. Keeping these stakeholders aligned is not an easy task, but the right technology can make all the pieces come together as a whole which makes sense and drives businesses forward.
Businesses must develop a keen eye when choosing the right technology. So, how can companies know whether a technology is right for them or not?
The right technology:
- Acts as an enabler for business growth
- Supports and enhances the current and future business functions
- Enforces culture-driven behavior
- Keeps assets secure
- Stores data and provides business insight
What to look out for
When choosing technology, you should minimize calculated risks for as much as possible. There are several questions you can add to your requirements checklist.
1. Does the technology have built-in security?
Technology should be designed with security in mind, and should keep things safe for the ones using it.
2. Does the technology have the features I need and can they be customized?
Choosing a turn-key product usually means no customization is available out of the box. However, you should check if there are APIs, add-ons, or other integration paths that can connect your current technology to the one you intend to purchase.
3. Does the technology require me to invest in infrastructure or not?
Choosing a cloud-based product requires little to no infrastructure investment, while non-cloud products require infrastructure investment.
4. Does the technology need a lot of time to set up?
Setting up a new technology can temporarily put your business on hold in terms of productivity and workflow throughput.
5. Does the technology require training?
Choose a technology that has an acceptable learning curve for the employees using it, and ensure that you are given a sandbox environment before using it on a daily basis.
6. Does the technology scale?
Choose a technology that can grow or shrink depending on your needs.
7. Does the technology require updates, upgrades, or maintenance?
Choosing a cloud-based product means that any maintenance happens behind the scenes, as it is the responsibility of the service provider. Choosing non-cloud products will require you to own and maintain the associated infrastructure.
8. Does the technology have good reviews?
Check the reviews and existing customer feedback to choose between several prospective technologies.
The right technology for your business is a technology that responds to your business needs and which enables people to solve and move business issues forward.
System Integration means that the software you create or buy is linked to other native or third-party software by default or via extensibility.
Extensibility means being able to connect an application with other applications or to enhance the capabilities of an existing application. Extensibility covers areas such as database integration, third-party integration, API, or plug-ins.
Choosing technology that is open to System Integration makes your business more adaptable and more versatile. Here are a couple of benefits:
- No duplicates, as all systems are aligned
- Centralized data from multiple sources
- Fast search and data compilation
- Easy tracking and less manual work
- Enhanced workflows and automation
Asset and Content Management
Businesses must have single sources of truth as far as their assets and content are concerned. Investing in technology which can help you manage these end to end means that you truly own and keep your business know-how in check, at all times.
Asset and content management are pillars for business clarity, forecasting, and knowledge management. Here are a couple of benefits:
- Centralized repository for structured and unstructured data
- Access to content versions and to the latest working version
- Multiple-format publishing
- Intelligent metadata tagging
- Custom rules for data aggregation and extraction
The right software is always a secure software which has built-in or embedded security. Think security first to keep data, repositories, code, credentials, and all business-related information:
Track, Learn, and Adapt capabilities
We learn from others, but we also learn from ourselves through various degrees of introspection and insight.
Choose technology which derives or extracts insight directly from the tools you use in terms of:
In other words, tracking capabilities should either be embedded or plugged in the software you use, so that the insight you get is highly accurate and data-driven. Moreover, when external audits knock on our door, you can offer immediate information to show that all compliance guidelines are observed.
Collaboration and Communication
Getting buy-in, gathering ideas, and building consensus requires group effort and coordination, both offline and online, ad-hoc, planned, or asynchronous. Collaboration and communication tools bring together, in one place, the capabilities we all need to function as a whole and task ourselves in a focused manner.
Writing emails is great, but following threads and adding new file versions can be difficult to follow, as it is error-prone. However, when technology integrates file management with email, data repositories, and messaging, your business is on the right track towards building a digital office.
Here are a couple of benefits:
- Engaged employees who know where and how to look for information - we recommend you this article written by our partner Powell Software
- Integrated email, scheduling and capacity management assistant
- Integrated access to notes, documents, and content
- Integrated access to project management functions (tasks and progress)
- Real-time communication via channels, and meetings, with recording support
Automation entails that you can abstract similarities between processes or identify common patterns within a recurrent process, and then transfer them onto an automation workflow.
Here are a couple of benefits:
- Less manual work
- Fewer errors and glitches
- Embedded synchronization
- Enhanced processing speed
Going cloud means that the technology you use is hosted and maintained by the service provider. As a business, you simply use the cloud service on a web platform where you log in and work. Choosing such an option means no longer worrying about updates, servers going down, or data being unavailable.
Choosing cloud technology has several benefits:
- Reduced hardware costs
- Flexible computing capacity depending on needs and scalability
- Built-in security, which allows you to focus on business-related activities
- Minimum to no service disruptions
- 360-degree digital business
The right technologies for your business do not solve all your problems in a magic way, but they give you the tools to do so.
Choose technologies that boost your business in terms of:
Technology must enable and streamline processes, workflows, tasks, and align them with schedules and capacity. Tracking work, and reporting the past and current state of events should be built-in and available round the clock.
Technology must support employees in building and sharing business knowledge. To achieve this, choose technology that enforces concurrent editing, centralized repositories, business-wide search, and intelligent tagging.
Technology must allow employees to exchange and find information at any time, as well as schedule meetings and keep accurate records of their decisions.
- Customer satisfaction
Technology must capture customer feedback and make it actionable.
- Sales and revenue
Technology must improve the way products are designed, built, and then released to market, so that predictability becomes ingrained and natural.
Technology must enforce the security of all company assets, products, and customer data. Any security sneeze can alter customer trust and can dent credibility.
Technology must support every audit-related check box, so that businesses are compliant with all legal requirements.