The fast-paced world of business apps seems to always be evolving. For those businesses that aren’t in the technology sphere, it can be daunting to sift through all the apps available for your business. While a lot of technology is designed to save you time, there are a lot of considerations before you take the leap to upgrade your technology. The first step is to ask some key questions to make sure buying that app or equipment is the best route for your company.
The first question you should ask is, “What’s the budget for upgrades?” In 2016, small businesses spent an average of 7% of their revenue on IT and technology upgrades. A major consideration for your budget is whether to lease or own your new hardware or software. You may pay more over time for leasing, but you can free up cash flow and won’t have to dispose of old technology in a couple years. What else affects your budget? Compatibility with your current system. If the upgrade or new purchase you’re considering isn’t currently a part of what you already have in place, you will need to budget for any software or hardware purchase that is required for integration.
The second question should be, “What process isn’t working well?” Look at your daily tasks, and note if one or more of those tasks creates a burden on you or your employees. By selecting what tasks could be improved, you narrow the field on which available apps to consider for your company. Whether it’s managing appointments, CRMs, or even a slow internet, there’s an upgrade that may help increase your productivity. Ask your employees for input on their current systems as well. They can help identify which current tech that is slowing them down, or suggest a wish list that would help them accomplish tasks better.
Third, ask, “Is this a good investment?” Determine if you’re looking for mission-critical software or hardware that you cannot run your business without, or business-critical apps or equipment that make running the company easier. Identifying whether it’s a need or a want allows you to make a smart decision about how soon you should purchase your upgrade. Another issue is how long will your purchase last until it becomes obsolete. If there is a new version that’s already been announced, or company history shows a pattern that indicates one may be coming soon, you may end up spending more in the near future. Don’t forget to include costs for any testing or training for your employees and how long they will be taken away from other tasks while training.
Remember that sometimes old school is best. I have seen whole companies shut down for the day when the internet goes out. If your tech system crashes, what happens to your business? The chase for the perfect technology sometimes can be addictive. But if you can go through these questions thoroughly, you can determine if upgrading your technology is worth it for your company. Let us know if you need a second pair of eyes over your tech plan. We’d be happy to crunch some numbers and determine your ROI for what you have in mind.