While more and more businesses are taking advantage of the systems and software available to improve their daily functions, they may be spending too much and utilizing too little. Since IT advances emerge so quickly and in so many iterations, it can be hard to choose the best and most efficient products for your business. Even worse—once you implement the expensive new software, you still may not know the best ways to use it.
To resolve these issues, you can educate yourself on the best ways to select software, train employees, and track the benefits of your investment.
Research Your Products
No matter what kind of software or system you are considering for your business, make sure you do your research before making a hefty IT purchase. While innovative new tech can be really exciting for business owners, sometimes the most attractive products aren’t the right ones for you.
Before you get in too deep with product comparisons, weigh your values and preferences and determine which features are essential. Knowing which areas of your business you are hoping to automate or improve will help you when you start looking for products.
While you are searching, try to seek out an IT package that covers multiple functions from your list. It may be hard or even impossible to find a complete package that contains all of your desired features, so be flexible and recognize that your investment may be even higher than expected if you have to purchase multiple programs from multiple vendors.
Educate Your Employees
Another aspect of IT investment is preparing your team for implementation. For IT to work effectively, everyone who uses it or is affected by it has to understand it. Some IT vendors provide training materials as part of their packages, but some may not; in that case, you will be responsible for providing training through another outlet.
Employees may have a hard time changing their methods if they are comfortable with your business’s existing tech, so you should prioritize their training to keep up the quality of work that you are used to.
Further, you need to maintain the new software that you purchased. As your processes are integrated into your new system and business resumes as normal, your team may identify problems with the tech or need help learning how to use some of its features. To do this, you will also need an IT management provider that will offer technical support and respond to employee queries.
Track Your Improvements
If you plan to implement new IT software, you will need to determine ways to measure its impact on your business’s performance. To do this, consider translating your list of essential features into a list of trackable changes and assign benchmark goals. As your business settles in with the new programs, periodically check to see if the areas you hoped to improve in are showing positive changes. If not, you may need to do another round of employee training or inquire with your IT management team about proper use.
After making a large IT investment, you will likely want to assess employee adoption rates and determine how successful the transition was based on their performance. While these figures are useful to see how the new programs are going over, consider this period an opportunity to check in with employees and see how the switch is going on their end.
Employee feedback can be extremely useful in determining areas for improvement or even potential problems with your software. For instance, if your chosen software misaligns with your current business processes, the employees working in those areas would be the first to notice. From there, you could work together with your employees and your IT team to come up with productive solutions that make your IT purchases worthwhile.
When considering new IT investments, knowledge and flexibility are your greatest assets. By following the above practices, you can make informed decisions about exciting new tech that will actually benefit your company, your employees, and your customers.