Technology, in the business context, is there to make life easier. Saving time, money and person-hours as well as completing tasks that would otherwise be impossible are some of the advantages provided by technology. Whether it be improving the productivity, potential or profitability of your endeavour, the efficient use of technology within your small business can play a vital role in its success.
Even so, there is always the danger of choosing a less than optimal (or even downright inappropriate) solution for your business’ daily needs. If this happens, not only will you fail to experience any of the advantages the technology can potentially provide, but you may even be burdened with faults and failures of equipment or with trivial tasks that are clearly unsuitable and even unnecessary for your business. In other words, you could be worse off than before. This is why it is important to carefully choose the technology needed for each area to meet your business requirements.
When we speak of technology, we usually think about computers, networks and communication devices. However, a whole range of equipment and infrastructure can be included within the sphere of this term, including the choice of an operating system. Choosing technology for small businesses can be anything from the kind of security system to be deployed down to the type of CY cable to be used for control equipment on assembly and production lines.
No matter what the specific technology is, there are three important steps that you should not overlook to make sure that what you choose will truly be an asset and not a liability:
1) Analyse your business needs and be honest to yourself about them. Evaluate your business as it stands and see where you are doing well and where you are lacking in order to assess where the holes in your tech infrastructure are.
2) Choose a technology that is scalable. Buying new technology is usually expensive, so make sure the lifetime of the technology will be long enough to give you a return on investment. Explore some industry-specific online forums and see what worked and what didn’t work for other businesses.
3) Make sure you get the appropriate levels of support and training for your security system or other technology. Technology does need configuration and occasionally troubleshooting and having someone on your team that can deal with most day to day issues is important. If that fails, get the appropriate level of support so you can get up and running as quickly as possible after a fault or failure. Obtaining an ongoing training process and a continuous support contract are both important steps to make the most out of your investment.