No matter the industry or size of the company, technology is a must-have for a business to develop and stay competitive. Technology can be a significant financial investment, especially given how quickly it changes. Knowing what tech is right for your business is not something to consider lightly. Choosing the right technology involves identifying your company’s needs as well as anticipating potential growth, all while staying within your budget.
Defining the Factors of Your Technology Needs
Open the Conversation
Opening the discussion on technology to your employees is monumental in identifying needs. Who better to help management and IT define requirement than the day-to-day user? Yet management often overlooks the end users, making assumptions or decisions based on what they believe what their needs are or should be. Instead, collaborate with your staff to determine their productivity needs and concerns through surveys, holding focus groups, and keeping an open forum on technology developments. Needs and uses will change over time as your company develops and as users find new and innovative ways to work. Having an open discussion allows all viewpoints to be heard and information to flow.
Just as important as keeping the discussion open with your staff, invite your customers and other stakeholders to share their thoughts. Considering and anticipating your customers’ needs and desires is the hallmark of competitive business and helps companies to grow and evolve. Implementing the right tech to satisfy your customer base while reducing your bottom line effectively is paramount to success.
Set a Budget
The cost of technology and implementing it can be significantly expensive for companies and the developed pre-set budget is essential to the success of your business. But beyond the cost of setting up technology, you have to factor in the expense of maintaining and upgrading it over time while avoiding purchasing unnecessary add-ons and perks.
Just as technology changes over time, so does your business. You need to consider short-term and long-term growth when accessing your technology needs and chose technology that can grow with you. Sometimes, growth happens in unexpected areas, and your business may venture into new segments, product, and services. Evaluating your business changes and the technology that supports change will help you determine where to invest your tech growth and where to cut back.
Integration and Security
It is equally important to make sure your technology can be integrated with your current tech from software and multiple devices to seamless and secure communications. Communication goes far beyond the tradition telephone. Companies need to consider how to integrate phone systems, email, voice and video conferencing, and instant messaging, as well as how to deploy this tech at the home office, on the go with mobile devices, and in satellite or remote locations. A unified communications provider can offer many services that help achieve this tech goal.
Unified communications specialize in complete communications integration across all platforms and can take the guess work out of communications technology while reducing the cost. There are factors to consider when choosing a unified communications provider from how you want to define your customer service to the types of communication systems you want to use. However, the benefits of using a third party to implement your communications mean your company will know exactly how much is spent on this IT expense. Additionally, you will not have to worry about the cost of upgrades or catastrophic events as well as the ways cloud services can improve your customer service.
Technology is a top priority today, and the factors guiding your technology business plan are not mutually exclusive. When considering these and other potential factors, remember that they all relate to each other and you can draw strategic value from taking a big picture approach.