How to Time Your Technology Investment
Technology has played an important role in transforming the manufacturing industry. The most common question every business faces is when they should invest in technology and where they should invest. Investing too early or too late in technology can prove non-productive for your business. Also, often you get overwhelmed by the various technology offerings available and the value addition provided by these offerings. Every offering often has unique features which provide a varied value addition to your business. From a business stand point, timing the technology investment and choosing the right avenues to invest play a vital role in maximizing the ROI from technology investment. Here are few indicators which could help you in timing your technology investment.
The most important indicator for any business to invest in technology is the scalability issues it comes across. Managing the existing resources and attaining the optimal output using the existing resources is always a prime concern for the business. Especially when a business is ready to transform to next level, it should look for ways to increase efficiency and deliver quality output at the same time. A simple question like is your business in best position to monetize the momentum the technology solution is going to offer will help you analyze it’s need. Businesses should define macro goals which indicate the growth in the business. This helps in determining the ideal time for starting a relevant technology projects to increase the efficiency and scale efficiently.
Majority of the businesses have processes or works which are repetitive in nature. You essentially have a set of activities which are being done repeatedly by a person or multiple persons which would yield same result. Activities tracking the inventory, managing the flow of raw material or generating shipping labels or other such activities when not automated, would require substantial human effort to complete the task. When automated these tasks can save substantial amount of time and frees up the available resources.
Automation of repetitive tasks helps in increasing the productivity of the existing resources and saves both cost and time. Businesses should identify and automate such repetitive tasks at the earliest to maximize the benefits both from technology and existing resources. You should also evaluate the total number of steps involved in a particular process. This helps in analyzing the number of steps that can be automated and also provides a clear understanding of about the value addition of automating a specific process. This can help you decide whether you have to opt for automation or not.
Increased interdepartmental dependencies
One of the major indicator for implementing a technology solution is the introduction of new processes and departments in your organization. For example, when you have a smaller business, you might have same set of resources working through both client acquisition and delivery aspects. However, once you start acquiring more business, you have separate departments for acquisition, delivery and servicing. The major task for any business with multiple departments is to ensure seamless transition of the client through these various departments. All the departments should have a knowledge of previous interactions with the client to ensure uniformity in the message.
Apart from client handling, while starting multiple new projects, there is always a heightened activity in the interdepartmental communication. Various departments should interact with each other while designing and delivering a new product. The marketing team should deliver its marketing research material to the solution team to design a product. Similarly marketing and sales teams should exchange literature and feedback to design effective marketing and sales strategy. Technology plays an important role in improving the communication among various departments ensuring every department has the required information at their disposal when needed.
The important question every business should ask before implementing a technology solution is: How much of an advantage the planned technology solution is going to offer for its business over its competitors. Businesses should develop a deeper understanding of their business model compared to their competitors. They have to look at the ways they are going to differentiate themselves from their competition in terms of product or service delivery. This can help them assess the role technology is going to play in defining their USP and standout from competition. By identifying such opportunities and seeking technology, businesses can get lead time to establish themselves in the market as a thought leader.
The benefits offered by technology come with a cost. Businesses should assess their technology needs on a periodic basis to analyze the best time for investing in technology to make most of their investment. Starting off too early without assessing the internal processes and need or starting late and investing higher amounts in technology to make up for it will prove to be counterproductive. More often than not, to reap the benefits of technology investment, one should always get the timing of technology implementation right.