It's 2017 and let's face it, the struggle is real when it comes to choosing technology. The reality is that technology should SERVE your needs in business, not that your business needs to Change to use technology (well not usually). The mobile phone is a good example: all the adaptations of the cell phone have come in ways that actually improve business use; now they can do things like scan a document and turn it into a .pdf that you can mail from the device...who needs a fax machine now?
But, before you go buy the next big technology system...be it a device, software, or service, you need to consider these 3 questions to ask before adopting new technology for your business.
1. How much time will it take me to start using it?
There is always a learning curve to everything. And the more that the new technology differs from old, or the longer it has been since an upgrade, or the more drastic the ability of the new tech then the longer it will take to utilize and find comfort and realize ROI.
I once had the extreme pleasure of driving a 2014 Ford Shelby GT. I've driven Fords before, I've driven cars before, but when the owner told me to drop it in second and gun it (while going 40mph already) I was not ready for the pure pulse of power and acceleration. I almost lost it in the ditch...which would have been unspeakable. Yet, the same analogy could be made for bringing new tech into your business. Do you really understand the power and the force behind what you're thinking of adopting into your business? What happens if you lean in? Can you manage it or will it run your business into a ditch that is costly to get out of?
2. How easy is it to update?
Nothing is forever. My Dad taught me to work with tools at a young age and instilled a great respect for the proper care of tools so they would last. He taught me to sharpen an axe and said, "This was your Great Grandfather's
3. How hard will it be to move on or change it in the future?
Your business will change which will change your need for technology. The “golden handcuffs” any tech company wants is to embed your so deeply into their product that leaving is more painful than staying. So look for how people are leaving the technology now, is your data easy to pull and transfer, will you need special service? We never like to think of the end, especially at the beginning, but to not consider these questions is to stick you business in one place forever.
If something about these questions seems to be familiar to you then it might be that you're familiar with the 3 E's of business: Enter, Exist, and Exit. Never get into a new business without understanding (to the best of your ability) what it will cost you at the front, during, and at the end to pursue the business. The same rule of thumb lives in technology. Thankfully the competitive marketplace is proving as a fantastic filter for navigating the process and keeping choices limited to usually a select few.