The implementation of advanced technologies can dramatically improve the operating efficiencies of your business. However, technology is currently evolving at such a rapid pace that keeping track of changes has become a daunting task. Here are eight tips to help you keep up with the latest business technology:
1. Determine Your Needs
While the latest technology can work wonders for your business, attempting to use the wrong technology is a waste of time and money. To ensure that you are investing in technology that will provide the best return on your money, it is critical that you perform a needs assessment.
Start by identifying deficiencies in your business processes. Then, brainstorm about how to eliminate bottlenecks and improve workflow. In some cases, this will mean implementing an automated information system to eliminate manual tasks.
2. Make Time to Evaluate
Businesses often become so busy that they have no time for strategic planning. However, it is important to set aside some time to reassess the company’s needs, weaknesses and priorities on a regular basis.
You can do this by scheduling regular meetings for that purpose, perhaps once per week or once per month. Each meeting should be conducted according to an agenda that has a specific timeline for implementing new technology.
3. Plan Ahead
Implementing new business technology requires a balancing act. On the one hand, a business will be left behind if it drags its feet. On the other hand, it is never a good idea to be a technological guinea pig because the new technology could be full of bugs or simply a bad idea. Let others use a new piece of technology first, and watch how it goes for them.
To successfully implement new systems, the IT department must be diligent with the planning process. A determination should be made of the resources needed and the amount of funding that will be required.
4. Know Where to Look
To find the latest technology, you should be reading blogs by people who are knowledgeable in your industry and are willing to provide real-time updates. Tech websites and news feeds are good resources.
In some cases, you can initiate or participate in a social media discussion related to the latest business technology. This could be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any number of other social media sites. A good place to start is by asking questions.
You can also use social media to create custom feeds for yourself. By “following” or “liking” certain pages, people, and hashtags, you can get instant updates from your desired technology sources. Try to dedicate some time each day or week to scrolling through these curated feeds to see what people are saying.
5. Attend Industry Events
Attending industry events is one of the best ways to learn about new and relevant technology. Vendors typically demonstrate their latest technology, which gives you a way to compare one technology to another.
Attending a technology conference also provides an excellent opportunity for networking with peers and fellow professionals. You can find out what new technology they are using and how it is working. You may also gain a better understanding of what certain technology can do for you and your company.
6. Watch the Trendsetters
Instead of watching news about trendsetters, why not just watch the trendsetters themselves? Trendsetters like to talk about the new technology they are using or developing. They often have a blog where they share information about their latest endeavors.
You can get updates straight from the source, plus you will have access to release dates, updates, guides, and tips. Just keep in mind that not all trends are successful. Some will crash and burn. However, there is always something to be learned by watching the trends and those who create them.
7. Consider the equipment
In addition to new software, updating business technology sometimes requires new equipment. Physical systems are evolving so fast today that the process has earned the nickname Digital Darwinism.
As a result of this, consumer behavior is also changing. Customers are no longer satisfied with past business practices. They want to be able to conduct business on their smartphones. Consequently, it is a good practice to have a system in place for replacing outdated equipment in a seamless fashion.
8. Watch Your Competition
It is always a good idea to keep an eye on your competition. One benefit of doing so is that you can see the technology they are using and whether it is helping them gain a competitive edge.
You can also get a good idea of the technology your competitors are using by visiting their website. If it appears that your competition is using a specific third-party vendor, you can contact that vendor to find out more about the services they offer.
You can also check up on your competition through social media. Look into their likes and dislikes, and then use that information to your own benefit. Don’t be afraid to learn from them if they are doing something better than you.
The Bottom Line
Business technology is evolving so fast that it is hard to keep up with the latest trends. However, by following the eight tips listed above, you can get a jump on your competition and implement the latest business technology that will help you streamline your business processes and keep your customers happy.