Implementing Technology Into Your Business
When I worked for one of the largest banks in the United States, we used to joke that we weren’t a bank at all. We were an IT company that had a front of a bank.
This statement has become more true for more businesses as technology continues to grow in importance in daily life.
What role does technology play in your business today?
What role does it need to play in the future?
How do you close the gap between where it is and where it needs to be?
How does technology support your business processes and systems?
Answering these questions correctly can mean the difference between your business failing and succeeding.
It can mean the difference between being stuck at your current level of business or growing beyond your wildest dreams in a way that doesn’t make you crazy.
These questions can be difficult to answer though. Technology is always changing and there’s so much to know, it can seem like an impossible task.
Always chasing the latest and greatest can also distract you from the most important work needed for your business. It can also cause delays in getting things in place that could add value to your business today.
Here’s a Process for Implementing Tech
Having a simple process to follow can help you ensure you’re choosing and implementing the right tech for your business at the right time.
First, make sure that your business is driving your technology and not the other way around. So many times I see businesses letting their technology dictate to the business.
Technology should support the business direction, not define it.
Anytime you find yourself saying, “I need tech in my business” stop and ask yourself the question “what problem am I trying to solve?” Make sure that you can articulate a problem without talking about the technology you might use to solve the problem. Restate the problem as the desired outcomes you’d like to achieve.
Ensure that you have a defined business process that is going to solve the problem you just defined. Technology can’t work on its own and should be married to one or more business processes that it is supporting. Defining the process before picking the technology ensures that your business is driving and the tech is supporting.
Once you’ve clearly defined your problem and desired outcomes, along with a business process, start the process manually first.
You can leverage some technology to make it easier, but nothing that requires a significant investment. For example, if you’re trying to better capture Customer data for use in marketing additional products, you could start doing that in Excel or Google Sheets first. Don’t go out and try and buy a CRM application straightaway.
Anytime you start a new business process like this, you are likely to want to make several small iterations at the start. By leaving the process manual with low technology, you’re able to iterate much faster and change the process without having to rework a bunch of technology with every change.
Once you’ve got a business process working manually that you aren’t changing very much, now you can start to think about applying the real technology to streamline the business process and complete your business system.
Keep your eye on your desired outcomes and check any possible solutions or improvement work against those outcomes. All too often these types of projects go sideways and the project work gets in the way of getting the outcomes.
What I mean by that is people often get caught up in the thing they’re doing and lose sight of why they’re doing it. A common occurrence is seen when businesses decide they need a website.
Oftentimes a business sets out to build a website for a specific purpose but as they start building, they get caught up in building the best website imaginable, adding unnecessary bells and whistles. This extra work is known as “overprocessing” and is one of the wastes often seen in business.
Keep the technology focused on the defined problem you’re trying to solve and aimed at delivering the defined desired outcomes.
Pick the software that best facilitates the process you’ve defined and the desired outcomes you want to achieve. As you go through the work to implement the new tech, continue to check the work you’re doing to the process and desired outcomes the tech is supposed to support.
If You Need More Help
If you want help on figuring out where your business is at, I offer a technology audit that includes the following –
Four calls with me over a few weeks time to establish where your business is at and which technology will be the biggest benefit to your business.
During a tech audit, I’ll take a look at what you have in place today and how the technology you’re paying for aligns with your business systems.
I’ll identify gaps you have as well as practical improvements you can make to get the most out of your technology.
Based on your future business plans, I’ll also develop a technology roadmap that will lay out the next 6-12 months of tech work for your business.
You’ll end up with a better knowledge of how technology is currently supporting your business and the things tech could be doing to support your business.
You’ll also receive lifetime access to a few of my courses – Time Studies for Entrepreneurs, Intro and Advanced Systems Thinking for Entrepreneurs, and Optimize For Outcomes – the Course.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me on your preferred social channel or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.