New tech is being released daily and the bright and shiny marketing is designed to lure us in! Promises of incredible growth, increased efficiency, and easy integration are enough to tempt anyone. But is “Out with the old and in with the new” a solid technology strategy?
CHECK YOUR TECH
It’s natural to crave the latest and greatest but, before investing in anything new, it’s worth looking through your current tech and asking, “Are we getting the most out of this?”
Perhaps the technology you have in place is not being used to its full potential. Common indicators of underutilized technology systems include:
- Processes for how to use the technology are not documented, shared widely, or used consistently across roles and departments
- Training on the technology has been insufficient or patchy, often leading to a low adoption rate
- Strategic purpose of the technology is not understood or communicated
Luckily, these issues can be remedied through a few easy steps! Follow the steps below to assess your systems, address gaps, and get the most of your existing technology.
1. Document your current state
To start, create a list of all the current technologies in place within the company. Locate documentation for current systems including requirements and rationale for use, if available. For each line item, identify the purpose, any integrations with other systems, the departments that utilize it, and the current owner. Also, consider listing any unused features of the technology that might be helpful or usable at your company. Get newsletters and roadmaps from the current technology vendors to learn about new features and upcoming releases.
Next, document your current business processes and map how these technologies fit into daily operations.
2. Find the gaps
Identify current technology gaps through interviews with employees by identifying process inefficiencies or pain points; for more on process optimization, check out this related article – How to Fix a Process.
Identify upcoming technology gaps by reviewing your organization’s Strategic Plans and Departmental Business Plans. If your company is planning a large technological switch in the upcoming years – it might be time to start preparing!
3. Create your future state
Then, using the list of current technologies, analyze whether any current systems can fill the identified gaps. A slight change in use or utilization of an additional feature may remedy the problem. For example, perhaps your company manually prints and mails invoices, but through system investigation you discover your ERP can automatically send invoices to customers with an associated email address. This warrants a change in process using the existing systems!
Document your new future state processes incorporating new/improved uses of current technology. .
4. Implement change
Use change management to realize your new future state.
Drive compliance and technology use by:
- Removing redundant systems, if possible, to reduce complexity.
- Creating training that includes technology activities to ensure proper and effective use of technology. – Check out this related article – How to Train on Tech
- Creating, monitoring, and sharing progress towards system purpose and objectives to promote buy-in and use.
By following these steps, you’ll find ways get more out of your current tech and maybe identify other possible efficiencies along the way. But, if after exploration of current systems, process and business goals are still not achieved, then (finally!) it may be time to consider something new.