“…we’re talking about growing your company, therefore it’s up to you to identify value in technology!”
On the Financial Planning website, I just finished reading Joel Bruckenstein’s 2009 Software and Technology Survey (read the article). It’s a fantastic piece, and Joel went to great lengths to analyze what technologies people are and aren’t utilizing. After reading this story, I was left with a question: why aren’t people purchasing a certain technology? I have some theories as a vendor of efficiency solutions. Whether you’re a techie like me, an IT expert, or simply a buyer of new technology, you’d think that saving people time and money would be a compelling motivation for them to want to utilize it. They don’t, though. What is the reason behind this? Ignorance, return on investment (ROI), and a lack of realized value are the three primary reasons I encounter that apply to everyone, including myself.
Ignorance is a powerful weapon.
Let’s face it: it’s far simpler to ignore an issue than to attempt to address it. Imagine halting a process in the midst of it to look for a better solution every time you run across an inefficiency, a lack of integration, a missing functionality, and so on. You’d never get things done on time. When you’re in a hurry and just want to finish a job, the last thing you want to do is stop and look for a better approach. As a result, we stay unaware of superior solutions, services, or features within our current solutions. One of the greatest ways to handle this issue is to set together a technology strategy, as Joel suggests.
A strong technology strategy should begin with an overview of your operations and processes, identification of current technologies that service each process point, and identification of who on your team is responsible for each process step. Identify the process phases where you either don’t have a technological solution at all or your present solution is old or inadequate using the overview. Knowing which process phases need your attention will make selecting the technology that best suits your process flow much simpler. The last stage in creating a basic technology strategy is to do research and create a budget.
How Do You Calculate Return On Investment?
When it comes to purchasing technology, there is a common misunderstanding known as return on investment (ROI). Every salesperson hopes that if they can demonstrate you an extremely good return on investment, you’ll hand them your money. That isn’t exactly how it works. You instinctively understand that your return on investment will be affected by your actual use of the solution, existing expenses without the new solution, and whether or not you and your users will embrace it.
A better method to determine if a solution will provide a return on investment is to determine if you can live without it entirely. Of course, you must factor in the cost; paying $5,000 to save $500 is not a good deal. Spending $5,000, on the other hand, may make sense if the solution would raise your income by $10,000 while saving you $500. If you believe you can’t live without the solution, disregard the ROI figures since the solution will be worthwhile if your budget allows it. If you can live without the solution, consider if the new technology will help you expand, increase revenue, improve your image, or provide other intangible advantages that are difficult to quantify in an ROI study.
Is it more important to have a sense of value or to have it realized?
A product may be marketed in two ways: as a perception of value or as a reality of value. During the sales and research process, a person’s perception of value is developed. Inquiring about other people’s experiences with the product, reading about the most popular solutions, and hearing anecdotal success stories may all help you determine the solution’s worth. Then you purchase it and hope it lives up to your expectations. The alternative option is to assess value before making a purchase. When you can see the solution in action and see the effects for yourself, you may generally realize value during a free trial. For example, with our end-user product, Quik! Forms Library, you may test the fully-featured software for 14 days for free, and you’ll discover the value of the solution and know if it’s right for you within the first few minutes of making forms.
A lack of value, whether seen or actual, is the main reason you didn’t acquire or utilize a technology. To use technology to benefit your company, you must first solve the challenge of determining the value of a specific solution. The person or website advising you to look at technology might do a better job of expressing value, but we’re talking about growing your company, so the onus is on you to identify value in technology. Take advantage of the free trial and put the answer to the test. Interact with other users. Check out the customer testimonials and case studies. Find the value and you’ll understand what Mark G Nichols means when he wonders, “What are you waiting for?”