In an age of ever-changing technology, it can be difficult for businesses to stay ahead of the curve and not get sidetracked by trends that may not lead to long term success. This often involves a healthy amount of cynicism about hyped-up technology, though anybody looking to improve their business should always be on the lookout for innovations that will give them an edge. This never-ending cycle of adopting can be wearying, but by following a few basic principles, a business owner can stay ahead of the curve and pick and choose new options that fit their business.
Simplify wherever possible.
Occam’s Razor applies to data architecture and business technology as well. Customers and employees alike prefer simpler interfaces that allows them to complete their objectives as fast as possible. Baking a high amount of modularity into business technology systems allows for them to be easily scaled as time goes on and accounts for the addition of features that may not have originally been planned for. Don’t sacrifice functionality, but realize that the user experience may have a bearing on customer satisfaction and employee efficiency.
Talk to your workforce.
Adopting any new technology can’t solely be done by a business leader. Employee buy-in is necessary for a business to expand its infrastructure and serve their needs. This can range from feedback on new systems to proactively polling employees on the kinds of technology that would make their jobs easier. Furthermore, proper instruction on technology usage can help secure valuable data and eliminate any early roadblocks that may cost business.
Build for the customer.
In the end, your customer will also be one of the primary users of your organization’s technology, and poor systems can hinder a relationship. New technology should deliver value to customers, either through their direct access to systems or by improving productivity for employees expected to interact with them. Efficiencies in tech infrastructure can reduce costs and in turn drive value for the average consumer. New technology should be approached with a mindset of “What problems do we want this to solve?”
Establish a plan.
An infrastructure overhaul or data migration can be a months-long process that can put any other technological projects on hold for an organization. Adding technological capability shouldn’t be done ad hoc; it requires a plan that matches a business’s values and strategic objectives. Planning out adoption can allow for earlier technological developments to support others further down the line. For that matter, contingencies for course correction are necessary as industries change and disruption can impact businesses further.
A single big change may paint a business into a corner as they try to catch up to other developments along the way. Instead, look for ways for functionality to be rolled out gradually and benefit a team. A frequent release schedule can help shore up larger weaknesses as they’re being fixed or addressed. For that matter, always look for opportunities to learn and improve your systems—continuous iteration helps keep current and respond to changing trends.