Make Technology Benefit Your Business

Posted by on July 3, 2008 in Business Technology, Phone Systems, VoIP [ 0 Comments ]

While you were sleeping the world changed. You might not know it for a few months or years, but new technologies were discovered or perfected, and those technologies will be refined into tools that will offer your business further growth and efficiencies. This process is almost as fixed now as sunrise and sunset. Those who deny technology has moved to the forefront of how businesses operate on a daily basis are being eclipsed by those embracing the advantages technology offers. To ensure your busy is the latter and not the former, ask yourself…

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“How can my business benefit from technology?”

The final answer to this question isn’t known until you actually implement a solution, but there are iterative answers that will lead to a positive outcome.

  1. Know your business processes. This might seem redundant but it’s common that small companies know how to work the business but don’t know how the business works. It can be a time consuming process to document your procedures, policies, and work flows, but your business must drive technology decisions (not vice versa). Start with a simple outline of how you get from A to Z; that outline will be your guide when selecting the technology right for your business.

  1. Prioritize your technology decisions. Your process outline will highlight areas of need for technology: phone systems, network security, e-mail, file sharing, and so on. Your goal with this step is to build a wish list of technology solutions (go crazy, wishes don’t cost anything) from which you can establish a schedule of which solutions you require now, later, and nice-to-have. And in all honesty, budget plays the most significant role in this phase; allot yourself a certain dollar amount and stick to that figure (give or take 10%). This will force you to focus on just that technology which will do the most for your business now and later.

  1. Know what you don’t know. Don’t expect to know any technology by reading articles, books, or blogs. Technology is supposed to make your life simpler, but it takes complex technologies, such as advanced VoIP phone systems, to do that. Look in the mirror and tell yourself the truth about your technology aptitude. Now you’re ready to investigate the right solution for your business. This is where you Google to find resources; ask colleagues or competitors or friends for contacts; talk to manufacturer’s of the technology in which you’re interested. You’re looking for those who know the technology like you never will, but who will be able to translate that technology into benefits for your business. This is a leap-of-faith moment, but if the resource you find asks you more about your business than tells you about the solution, you’ve found the right resource. (Remember, business drives technology.)

  1. Prepare the troops. Your employees will be the primary user of the phone systems, or any technology solution you implement. Let them in on the process as early as possible (outlining the process stage is about right). The input you’ll receive will be invaluable to determining a final selection. Once you have chosen a tool, put employees in charge of implementation (to a certain extent). You build rapport with the vendor this way that will be invaluable later when you require support or have follow up questions; you also empower employees to make the tool their own – it’s much easier to adjust technology than it is employees’ processes and habits. Your odds of a smooth and success install rise dramatically with a team-based approach.

This is a much abbreviated list of to do items when selecting a technology, but it touches on four vital points that will help ensure you benefit from implemented technologies.

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