Smaller organizations with limited budgets have to figure out how to embrace and conquer technology in today’s world. Too often I see this dynamic happening the other way around. When there are so many tools to help solve a problem it can be difficult not to defer to technology and its experts. The danger with this deference to experts is the technology begins to drive your decisions, rather than the goals and needs of your organization. So how can you prepare yourself for what will be a daily struggle to keep up with an ever-changing landscape that seems to be driven more and more by technology?
Start with a Mindset Shift
Over the next few posts, I want to discuss some of these foundational principles important for every decision maker when faced with decisions that appear to be technology related. This series will cover 5 of the key organizational capabilities that every organization I’ve ever worked with needs to efficiently build off the value its team members create. While this is not a discussion of specific technology tools, discussing the capabilities technology can enable is important to establish a foundation for approaching eventual technology decisions. These are areas to consider before you make the next decision locking you into a tool or contract that can dramatically change the way you function as an organization.
Capability #1 - Communication
You may be thinking to yourself right now, “why are they starting with such an obvious component to ALL human interaction?” It’s because there are plenty of organizations out there still approaching communication in a surprisingly expensive and inefficient manner.
For example, there are very few scenarios that require a traditional landline telephone system. We are working right now with one small business that is paying an unbelievably high amount per month for their legacy landline phone system. It’s not because they want to, it’s because that’s just the way they’ve been doing it for the last 35 years. Meanwhile, their customers are busy checking Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook for ideas around our client’s core product offering. The hundreds of dollars a month that are being paid for “crickets” is consuming valuable resources. For a lot of organizations, it’s not always easy to step back to evaluate the current way of doing things. It takes the right mindset to help ask the questions that matter.
Communication comes in so many packages in today’s world. Just a decade and a half ago there were a handful of methods people used to communicate. Fast forward and today almost all technology tools we use are either some form of communication tool, or at the very least have a feature built into them which allows us to communicate in some fashion.
However, aside from the packaging of the communication platform, there are still only a few fundamental ways we communicate. The text, audio, and visual are still the foundations to how we communicate. The only thing technology has done is changed the ability to take these three modes of communication and deploy them in extremely scalable ways. So what should you look for if you are an organization faced with evaluating a new communication tool, or set of tools?
Here are three key elements to consider before jumping into a specific communication solution:
So What Next?
As always, find someone you trust. If you’re hearing the pitch about how awesome their product is and what it can do for you and they haven’t even taken the time to understand what your goals are, most likely they can’t be trusted. However, if your advisor understands you, your goals and your business, listen to them. The technology packages are different around the margins (aka preferences), it’s more important you solve the right problem with the right tool, rather than get a tool to go look for a problem to solve.
And if you don’t have anyone to turn to, feel free to give us a shout, we would be happy to help answer questions, point you in the right direction, or see how we might be able to help you more directly.
Stay tuned for the next article on ERP, where we make the case that it’s something everyone needs, including the smallest organization, the organization of 1.