As a business leader and decision maker, you are in a unique position to perform a tech audit because you are already intimately aware of what your current technology is and what your needs are. Don’t be afraid of technology; it’s more about knowing what you want to accomplish.
Unfortunately, a lot of people view “technology” as being a magic bullet. It’s become a buzz phrase to “leverage new technology to improve….” If you understand technology has limitations though, you can start to unpack whether or not you can solve a problem with tech.
Before You Overhaul Your Tech Solutions
- Be wary of trying to build an internal engineering organization
- Have clear expectations and a clear understanding of your goals
- For most businesses, the shortest path to success will be SAAS
Be clear about your goals.
At the end of the day, software, computer systems and networks are just tools and they’re designed to solve problems. Without properly identifying what those problems are that you want to solve, it’s very challenging to select the appropriate tech to meet your goals and needs. The good news is that even if you’re not a tech expert, as a business leader you probably already have the skills and expertise to evaluate your needs; this applies to tech as much as any other problem your business might face. The successful application of technology for your business starts with a solid understanding of the business goals.
Consider what you already have.
What tech may people in your business actually be attached to? Are people relying on tools more than implementing best practices or managing time well? Are there tools that are being fully utilized? What benefits do your tools have besides their main function? What do you wish to have and what is actually happening?
Evaluate your options.
Once you know what your goals are, it’s time to figure out how to implement them. When you are auditing your tech, you need to treat software like any other investment in your business and figure out what the priority is. Price? Quality? Velocity? Then implement the “iron triangle” philosophy to evaluate: you can pick two points and those two will always affect the third. For example, cheap and high quality but slow, or cheap and fast but low quality, or high quality and fast but expensive. This will help you make better decisions for your business.
You could also perform SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) analysis with a quadrant and cross benefit analysis chart. You could also do a design sprint in which you take all your ideas, get your stakeholders in a room, set a goal, and then have everybody give three ideas on sticky notes for how to accomplish the goal. You can even use this to figure out what your goals are. This is a great tool to build buy-in and support for new solutions, and will offer a lot of clarity and direction for solving software and tech questions and problems.
Surround yourself with knowledgable people.
It’s not reasonable to think that someone who doesn’t have a background in software development, management, or tech at all will be able to make well-informed decisions about the pros and cons of an approach. For a comprehensive tech audit to succeed you need to surround yourself with qualified, smart people. We often match companies seeking to revamp their tech use with the leaders who can best inform those decisions through our Market Insights division, bringing in a tool like this can be eminently helpful. Use competitive analysis and put out a request for proposals to multiple places. It takes time and you’ll have to deal with pitches and sales people but it’s worth it. You’ll gain perspective and understanding of what your options are and what kinds of problems can be solved and benefit to your organization.
Prepare for implementation resistance.
Tech is like a Swiss army knife: There’s a trade off between doing one thing very well and being able to do a lot of things. Tools actually can end up creating additional complexity, and can take time to manage. Be sure your tools are leveraged properly, or there could be due to lack of buy-in from the team; people are scarred by poorly managed tech. Focus on training and onboarding, be clear on why you’re using this tool. Don’t get so wrapped up in trying to automate and standardize everything you end up doing nothing very well.
You’re investing a lot of resources into something that could become a core part of how your business operates. Business leaders should not be afraid of not understanding tech, and should see it as their role to be sure tech is serving their employees and their business effectively.
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