When is a tech solution the right one? How do you identify the right tech for the problem you are facing? A common problem in many organizations is essentially trying to throw tech at a challenge without fully exploring the parameters of the challenge.
Figuring out what to do can become even more overwhelming when you start asking whether you need a custom-made solution or you can purchase one off the shelf, if you need to simply upgrade a system or if an entire overhaul is necessary, and how much can be done in-house. You can find yourself lost in the details before you have even had a chance to really examine the big picture. However, the good news is that there is still a process you can follow even when the situation is a complex one. Consider the points below as you move forward.
Know the Problem
Do you know what your problem is? Before you say yes, think carefully. It is not uncommon to confuse symptoms with the cause. It may be worthwhile to talk to others within your organization to make sure that you are correctly identifying the issue. If the issue is one that affects your customers, you may want to get some feedback from them.
You might be struggling with meeting compliance standards when it comes to dealing with refrigerated assets. You might assume that the issue is with some of your staff or with how these assets are handled. This could cause you to overlook the fact that reliable refrigeration monitoring systems are what you need. Reefer monitoring solutions are cost-effective, but you might need to dig to the root of your problem to identify them as the answer. Of course, there are a few additional steps you should also go through from examining the impact on employees to choosing the tech solution.
If your employees are affected by the change you’re making and they are resistant to that change, you need to figure out why. It could be because there is something that you are unaware of in their processes that will be negatively affected. It might be because they have higher priority issues that they want you to address or because they have a different perspective on what the solution should be, which is one reason why you should seek feedback widely in the planning stages.
On the other hand, if the change is necessary, you will need to get them on board. This can be tricky because while there may be an overall advantage to the company, their own processes might become more cumbersome in certain ways. You will need to find a way to present the change to them that shows how it can benefit them as well. There is also simply the issue of resistance to change that many people have. In this case, they will eventually adjust, but you may need to provide incentives or find another way to balance the inconvenience of a potentially frustrating learning curve. Letting them be part of the discussion and the process can also help prevent the feeling that a top-down decision is being imposed on them.
Check Your Goal Alignment
Your solution needs to be in alignment with your organization’s strategic plan over the next few years and your goals. How does it complement the priorities you have set? This can also help you decide whether the problem is something that needs to be addressed immediately or if there are other issues you should be focusing on more instead.
Sometimes, as in the case of compliance issues around refrigerated assets mentioned above, the issue is not one that can be shelved for a later date, but often teams and individuals can find themselves distracted by shiny new tech that can certainly deliver but which may not aid you in meeting your most important benchmarks in the years ahead. Taking all of this into account can also help you narrow down which solution might be the best since some may be better at aligning with your medium-term aims than others.
Create a Plan
Planning can help you avoid some of the pitfalls described above. Is it true in other areas of life, like preventing your car from theft and putting identification on your pets’ tags in case they run off, planning does not prevent problems, but it can make them more manageable. There should be two aspects to this plan for finding tech solutions for your business.
First, if you develop a kind of blueprint for implementation, you can see how the tech fits into the overall operation, including existing systems and processes. Like a good business plan, this can also highlight gaps in your thinking and anything else you may have overlooked. The other aspect of the plan is articulating criteria that will tell you whether the solution was the right one. This criterion should be as specific and measurable as possible in the same way that a goal should be. In fact, once you have established it, you can use it to work backward and see if what you have chosen is likely to deliver the necessary results.
Choose the Right Solution
When you start to look at the actual tech, there are a number of things you should consider before you make your decision. To start with, look for something that is scalable so that it can grow with your business. You should also look for an effective user interface. Look at how adaptable and customizable it is. Consider as well what kind of balance you want between accessibility and security. It may be important that employees can access a platform from anywhere.
However, you also need to make sure that any important data is protected. Be sure that you consider how much training will be necessary. Even if your employees are enthusiastic about the new tech, if learning how to use it is going to be very costly in terms of time and money, you may want to consider another option. Another thing to look at is how much support you will get with the transition, installation, updates and any troubleshooting. In all of these areas, see what experiences others report as well. You may not be an early adopter, but the advantage of this is that you can be more certain that the tech you have chosen is stable and reliable.