The primary reason for utilizing innovation and technology should be to enable your workers to spend less time performing manual tasks while adding value in places where it fits with your company’s goals.
There are probably many software tools on the market that would provide great value to your company, but perhaps only a few will help you meet your next immediate business objectives. In that case, you may be better served to focus implementation on those “business objective” tools first.
This is where it’s helpful to have an internal framework to evaluate tools. One question many companies ask – or should ask – is, “Will we be better at what we do by using this technology?” Whether you are a builder, a manufacturer, an electrician, or an architect, limit your evaluation to tools that are going to help you hit your specific business milestones.
Your evaluation framework should be based on the short-term and long-range goals for the company. Be mindful of the initiatives you want to achieve in your business: improve profits, expand into another region, standardize your processes, or other ambitions. When evaluating technology, make sure your evaluation team does so through the lens of your company’s objectives. When someone recommends adopting a tool, you can ask them to show how it meets the framework you’ve established.
When introducing new technology into your company, it’s important for the employees to know what will be involved: whether it is expected to be difficult or easy and how it will affect their day-to-day activities. They should be able to experiment with it without worrying that they will break it. Sometimes a pilot project is the best way to achieve that and will enable users to ask questions and adjust the way the tool is used for their specific needs. In addition, choose a software vendor that will stay involved in your implementation and ensure it is ultimately successful.
Users should also know what your expectations are for the technology tool. An implementation roadmap is a good way to show them. How do you measure success? After six months or a year, you can compare expectations with what has been achieved. This can reflect back on the evaluation framework.
As a way to deal with employee turnover, it’s beneficial to document all your business processes – not just the software tools – so you don’t lose institutional knowledge when somebody moves on. The ability to seamlessly add a user to a project with access to all the information is powerful. This prepares your company to inform replacements about how each department in the business operates and helps bring new employees up to speed quickly. It also goes a long way to ensuring that everyone can focus on the same business objectives from their department’s unique perspective. If you spend time on this now, it will pay long-term dividends and can be refined as your business evolves.
Tune in to Bridging the Gap Podcast episode 121 to hear about Cameron Page’s unique experience with this topic.