This must be the most interesting time for many entrepreneurs to run a company.
At every turn, a certain technology start-up comes up with a new solution to a problem with which companies struggle. From 3D printers that can generate spare parts in minutes to AI bots that can run your department of customer service, technology changes every facet of everyday business.
The introduction of new technology is nevertheless not without its challenges. It is often a double-edged sword for SMBs in particular. One MIT study found that 63 percent of the managers interviewed did not believe that the pace of technology adoption within their respective organizations was sufficient, with most employees reporting an enormous discrepancy in their understanding of the benefits of newly implemented instruments.
Splitting resources on the latest technology can make every business extremely competitive, but it can also lead to organizational and strategic disruption, financial losses and a whole list of negative effects that can lead to the rebuilding of any SMB. Therefore, it is important to prepare your company for even the smallest technological additions in your office. Some important things to do before you jump into the next technology trend.
1. Ensure you can handle your infrastructure.
In recent years, there have been significant breakthroughs in business technology, with important press releases such as machine learning, blockchain, and quantum computing. However, much less attention was paid to the infrastructure that supplies them, which often sees startups and SMBs blindly incorporate technology without understanding what they need to integrate and maintain. The introduction of new technologies should always start with thorough infrastructure evaluations to ensure that different elements of your company work with the technology.
Assessments should cover your network infrastructure, end-user devices such as desktops, disaster management, servers (both cloud and physical solutions), and data storage and recovery capabilities.
The resulting evaluation report will show you how well your company is able to handle new technology installations and help you prepare for future technology requirements.
2. Mitigate the risks of internal technology.
Even with a thorough evaluation report on infrastructure, business owners must take into account the risks associated with the introduction of new technologies. Each new software or hardware around the office opens up your business to dozens of potential threats–not only external but also internal.
Although external threats have been well documented in recent years, internal vulnerabilities are largely ignored.
Internal threats can take many forms but often focus on poorly trained, unmotivated and sometimes malicious staff.
In the United States, for example, new technology in the healthcare industry contributes to the increase in financial abuse, which is a worrying trend for companies in this sector. Financial abuse costs victims and companies more than $ 2.8 billion a year, thanks to employees who either do not understand the new technology or take advantage of newly installed systems –such as integrated payment systems–to siphon funds from unsuspecting customers, causing enormous losses for companies.
Therefore, never bring new technology without the involvement of your staff to mitigate these risks. For example, the implementation of a CRM system without teaching your employees how to supply data and process the results could do more harm than good. Invest continuously in workshops, seminars, and online training programs before they are implemented and ensure that they are subject to regular monitoring and evaluation schemes at all integration stages.
3. Take the time.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the impulse always resists rushing, even if every other competitor dives in. According to the 2018 edition of the Gartner Hype Cycle, blockchain, AI, the Internet of Things, and many other tech trends will mature in 5 – 10 years and become overhauled for many small and medium-sized businesses.
Therefore, companies that hurry to make decisions involving such technology run the risk of systemic failure. Instead of overhauling entire systems and workflows in your company, start small and grow in scale. For example, instead of moving entire operations to the cloud, start with simple cloud-based solutions such as Office 365, which will allow everyone in the office to get to grips with the cloud. After months or years of using these simple solutions, when the time comes, it will be easier for everyone to migrate to more complex solutions.
At some point, in the end, 7 out of 10 companies will fail, so make sure that the latest technology adoption in your company is not one of the potential reasons for failure. Focus more on added value than on catching up and do not underestimate the value of low-tech technology or completely avoid technology when your business relationships are at risk.