Develop a process for identifying the right tech for your business
Once you’ve identified the aspect of your business that technology will improve, leaders need to fully interrogate potential solutions.
This means finding the right supplier, ensuring the technology works for your business, budgeting accordingly and getting your team on board.
Start with an idea
For website monitoring company RapidSpike, technology investments typically begin as an idea to improve the business.
CEO Gav Winter said that ideas must answer at least one of four key questions to be taken forward. Will it help the business grow? Will it improve the product for customers? Will it improve the experience customers have with the brand? Is it going to improve life for the team?
Once an idea has been agreed, the team starts researching technological solutions. They begin with online research, reading supplier websites and product reviews. At this stage, it’s essential that the team understands any potential services.
“I always look for simplicity in technology – do I get it right from the start? Certain technology products and services are very straightforward because they align to our business and goals,” Gav said.
Reach out to suppliers
Once RapidSpike has narrowed it down to three potential suppliers, Gav reaches out to the companies to say he is interested in the product. If suppliers are not responsive at this stage, alarm bells should start ringing.
“We like working with companies who are closely aligned to our values as it makes interactions straightforward. We want suppliers to really want RapidSpike’s business. That doesn't mean that we won’t choose a big supplier if they’re the best. We just want suppliers to care about what we’re doing,” Gav said.
While a good relationship is essential, Gav has to be certain that the technology works. He advises business leaders to get a demo of the technology and assurances that the supplier can offer free support during the implementation phase.
“Suppliers who are confident in their own abilities often offer a lot of free consultation because they know that if they win your business, you’ll be partners for a long time. So I always feel that when they’re happy to be involved in the implementation, they’re obviously confident about what they do,” he said.
Gav added that he typically sees technology partnerships as lasting three years, unless something goes catastrophically wrong. Therefore, it’s essential to have confidence in the technology and the company supplying it.
“We like working with companies who are closely aligned to our values as it makes interactions straightforward.”
Gav Winter, CEO, RapidSpike
Budget and plan
Once Gav has identified the right product, he works out how much the technology will cost to purchase and integrate. He then forecasts expected gains to the best of his ability.
In the fast-moving world of technology, it’s not always easy to predict the precise financial benefit of implementing new technology. Therefore, it’s important to trust your instincts that the technology will help the business to grow.
“Often, it’s an R&D [research and development] assumption that the technology will work. Unfortunately, tech that we think is the bee's-knees this year may not be the thing next year. As much as we can plan, I think we also have to be reactive.”
Gav also recommends business leaders plan technology investments to protect future growth. For example, RapidSpike recently invested in serverless technology to accommodate expansion.
“We saw an issue with the scalability of our server network, so we've moved to serverless technology, which meant different databases and new skills which we had to learn. That was a major investment. But we knew that was growth protection because if we continued increasing the amount of servers, the maintenance would have been too much,” Gav said.
Get buy-in from the team
Before purchasing any technology, Gav ensures he has buy-in from his team, especially those who will be implementing or using the technology.
“Making sure that the team buys into the technology before you invest is really important. The implementation can't go well if the team doesn't believe in it,” he said.
Getting approval from shareholders is another necessary obstacle Gav has to overcome before making an investment.
“I look for consensus from shareholders that we’re doing the right thing. If I don’t have consensus, then I’ve got to remove those objections. And, if I can’t remove those objections, I need to do more research,” he added.
business size: 10-49 People
business type: Digital, technology & computer services
Top three takeaways
You must be confident that technology will improve your business. Be clear on the tangible benefits before investing.
If the technology is right, ensure the supplier aligns with your business. Are they responsive? Will they offer free consultation through implementation? Is their business stable?
Ensuring the team buys into the technology before you invest is really important. Implementation can't go well if the team doesn't believe in it.