Choosing Technology that Works For You
The first tenant in selecting or implementing new technology is to
evaluate your business and assess your needs. Choose technology that
works for you.
It sounds simple, but it is the most common error businesses
make when buying new technology. Think of purchasing a new computer
system as soliciting a bank loan or investment. You must justify an
expenditure to someone. When buying technology, practice justifying it
to yourself. Ask yourself how this new system will help your business.
What is the return on investment. Account for the non-pecuniary effects
of the purchase. Does it require a lot of maintenance, headaches,
downtime, time drain? Decide also, for what time period you will make
this assessment. Are you looking 1, 2,3 or more years out.
Know Your Business
There is much to consider, but remember, the key is to know your
business. If you are a grocier, you must know food. Do not let
technologists rob you of your simple core and fundamental purpose. If
you sell food, anything that distracts you from that end, is inherently
bad for your company.
Think big picture when implementing new technology. Do not fuss over
tech-details. Describe your problem to your vendor(s) and see if the
technology will help solve your problem. If you are asked to redefine
your problem in order to fit the technology, remember: you are a
grocier. You know your business. Do not let anyone tell you that you
need to forget about tomatos for a second in order to understand some
new wiz-bang gadget. Kindly show them the door.
Avoid Crisis Management Situations
Think of technolgy as a service. This goes double for software. Do
not expect to buy a product and have it solve your problem. Expect an
ongoing relationship with your vendor or VAR to work with you to solve
your problem. Think of yourself as a thirsty wanderer in a desert. Did
you bring enough water? If not, you might be gouged when you need it
the most. Once you have arrived at a crisis managment situation, it is
too late. Better to have worked out a water supply agreement with a
vendor to keep your business running. Is water important to you? It had
better be. You know how much water you need to function. Or put another
way. If technology is important to the successful realization of your
company, do not play games with its supply.
If you are buying piecemeal, not planning implementations, not
evaluating future costs, then you might consider the possibility that
technology is not important to your company and pursue other
Re-evaluate your technology purchases every quarter. Did they do
what they said they would do? Did they facilitate your business? Did
they muck things up? Was your vendor responsive? Did the technology do
what it was supposed to do?
Ask youself these questions frequently always in the context of your core competency, macroscopically, and with your eye always on the tomato.