Finding a reliable IT advisor is, so they tell me, a bit like finding a good mechanic to look after your car. You can spend a lot of money working out you haven’t found the right person yet.
Because technology is key to how successful your business is, you just don’t have the luxury of working through this by trial and error.
Consequently, many businesses decide to make no decision at all. And this can be costly in itself – the business continues to be inefficient, customers feel that your service is too slow and sales opportunities slip by because the business is not agile enough.
Where do I start?
Great question. Opening the Google search bar is where most start but this can lead to a state of confusion. What most business owners want to do is to be able to sit down with someone and talk through the issues, such as –
- What problems they are facing,
- What is working in their business and what isn’t
- Ideally, what they want to be able to do
Most owners have ‘heard from someone’ or ‘read somewhere’ that you can ‘do this stuff’ and ‘all you have to do is push a button’. Sound familiar? We all wish it was that easy.
One approach is to have a reputable business and tech-savvy person come in and conduct a digital audit of your business.
What does the Digital Audit process involve?
Before anyone starts making recommendations for products or solutions, you need to first understand exactly what the problem is. And precisely because there are so many solutions out there, it is important that you find a solution that meets the needs of YOUR business. Even though you may be in the same industry as someone else who appears to really have it right, it pays dividends to ensure that YOUR business operates in a way that can take advantage of the proposed solution’s winning attributes.
The Digital Audit will involve looking at in detail just how things get done in the business. This means most likely interviewing your staff and especially your key people to hear how they make things happen. Usually, we find too that they may just have some great suggestions on how processes can be improved. And of course, it means interviewing you to understand what the pain points and requirements of management are.
It is only once key information has been tabled can a proper recommendation around technology efficiencies be made. Too often, a decision is made around a great promo YouTube clip of a product instead of based on the needs and nuances of the business.
What will the Digital Audit Report tell me?
A Digital Audit Report should set out a number of things, including –
- What works and what doesn’t
- What the aim is in implementing change
- What is recommended and why
- What is involved in terms of change management
- What it costs
- When it can be delivered
The report should give you a diagram of the proposed ecosystem that is proposed as well as some kind of table of benefits that will be derived from implementation. As noted above, it should, in particular, give you an indication of what cost you are up for and the time frame for delivery of the project.
Less is more!
A word of warning – don’t try and do it all at once. It would be nice to come in Monday morning and have it all humming but the reality is that this just won’t happen. Stage the implementation process rather than going all out to challenge the big bang theory. Where there is a solution which involves a number of areas of the business, think carefully about which area should move across first.
If you try to implement too much at once, it can backfire. And before you know it, key systems are not working at all and this can directly affect revenue and customer retention. Consider how much testing should be done before ‘Go Live’ date appears. Ensure that the team is clear on what processes have changed and how things now work once you have ‘thrown the switch’ on the new system.
Bring the team along and don’t be the roadblock
I hope it is clear that the process of a system review and update involves the whole team and not just the boss. After all, most likely they will have a lot to say on things that need improvement given that they are the ones doing the work. If you involve your team along the way, there will be less resistance when the new changes are scheduled to appear. This is critical to the success of the project.
Team members are usually keen when it comes to introducing new technology that is going to give them a better work environment. Ensure that they are a part of the project that is on the drawing board.
Quite often, we see that the boss, despite the best of intentions at the start, is wedded to his or her usual way of doing things. If the process is to be a success, EVERYONE needs to be open to change, including the owner.
It’s not a product – it’s a solution!
Remember, going digital is not simply about choosing a product – it is about transforming your business with a technology solution that meets your needs.
For more information on going digital in your business, contact your local RSM office today.