Introduction by Dr. Lucy Green
According to Gartner, 70% of global technology buyers are exploring more ways to increase their tech stacks today. In an age of digital transformation, countless organisations have discovered a new demand for innovative tools to power and augment their teams.
Unfortunately, even as we continue to rely more heavily on tech tools, deciding what to buy and how to invest remains a consistent challenge. Today’s business leaders must walk a fine line between staying ahead of the curve with new solutions and over-spending on unnecessary ones.
According to Nadia Tatlow of Shift Technologies, brands need to be “ruthless” about the apps and tools incorporated into team workflows to ensure they have a beneficial impact on performance.
Let’s explore the key stages of becoming a better buyer of technology in the digital world.
Think holistically or waste money by David Dungay
The value technology can deliver to businesses is currently going through a critical inflexion point. On the one hand, the right tools have the power to improve the way businesses operate. Contact centre software, collaboration tools and workforce management apps all boost productivity, strengthen interactions in the workforce and enhance company culture when used correctly.
On the other hand, many companies influenced by the challenges of the last few years are rushing into investments without proper planning. One in two digital transformation projects are deemed failures because buyers focused on short-term solutions rather than long-term results.
In a challenging economic environment, it’s tempting to focus your investments on the goal of reducing current costs and achieving quick peaks in productivity. However, a holistic view is the best way to leverage a stronger ROI overall. Teams must understand how each investment influences the entire business, not just one section.
For instance, investing in a range of tools for collaboration to give users more communication options might improve results initially, but it also places greater pressure on IT teams who need to monitor and protect data flows. At the same time, failing to consider the entire ecosystem at once leads to silos and disconnects in your technology stack.
For instance, you might invest in cybersecurity solutions to protect your hybrid employees, and discover the same tools don’t integrate with your in-office staff. This means you need to buy even more tools to complete your security barrier.
About David Dungay, Editor in Chief, Today Digital
David has built a reputation in the telecoms and unified communications sectors over the last 12+ years as a media professional. David joined Today Digital in 2020 to help build their offering in the technology sector and since has successfully launched new titles in the Customer Experience, Digital Workplace and Extended Reality markets. David specialises in the vibrant channel sector where he enjoys developing offerings for those that sell through partner ecosystems.
Focus on outcomes over outputs by David Dungay
To take a more holistic approach to technology investment, start each purchase by:
- Setting specific goals: Companies need to know what they’re trying to achieve with each purchase and what the features of each solution can offer. Decide which processes are important to your business, and where technology can deliver benefits.
- Working with specialists: Technology has grown increasingly complex. Buying technology well means listening to suppliers, advisors, and experts who can guide you towards the correct solution for your specific needs.
- Prioritising user experience: Productivity grinds to a halt when employees are unable to use the tools available to them immediately. Simplicity and ease-of-use accelerate adoption and drive faster returns on investment.
Remember, your new technology should also integrate seamlessly with the tools you’re already using. The more disconnected your tools are, the more complex the workplace becomes.
Every purchase made by a company investing in new technology should be focused on achieving specific “outcomes”, such as greater productivity and efficiency.
Unfortunately, many business leaders focus heavily on initial “outputs” like simply allowing teams to communicate or work remotely.
Many companies still don’t see technology as a strategic tool for achieving specific goals. Often, the best way to enhance the results of your investment strategy is to change your perspective. Drawing on the specialist skills and knowledge of a technology expert can help with this.
Talking to a specialist allows you to dive deeper into the long-term benefits of each investment by understanding what it can solve for your company. Suppliers can also guide buyers toward the right solution by evaluating their landscape for them, reducing some of the risks associated with trying to understand each option yourself.
To ensure you’re getting the most from each investment, you’ll need to combine your short- and long-term views. Remember, technology is changing all the time, and so are the needs of your team. Your potential suppliers will be able to help you find solutions to problems you have right now and plan for greater results in future.
When engaging with suppliers:
- Ask for help to map your business strategy into an investment plan outlining short, mid-term, and long-term gains for your business
- Explore case-studies, whitepapers, and testimonials to see the impact the technology has had on other companies
- Perform proof of concept tests looking at the holistic impact on the business
- Ask your supplier to propose how they will make your business goals a reality
- Request assistance on how to involve stakeholders in your business with the new technology implementation and how to manage change.
The best-fit tender process is dead by David Dungay
In the technology buying landscape, tenders are often issued to a supplier to propose a solution to a problem the tender owner needs to solve. Unfortunately, there are problems with this model. Today’s companies should focus on finding technologies that add value to their operations rather than taking value away.
For instance, in one business environment, a CISO has an objective to secure a solution that meets specific business criteria, like budget management. The CIO has other objectives to invest in technology which improves performance or efficiencies. These two focus areas could be in conflict from a holistic perspective. Investing in a best-fit solution could mean you end up with a system intended to address two sets of goals which don’t align.
Working with a supplier or vendor capable of engaging with various teams and helping to drive the investment of technology without causing disruption is crucial. The more businesses leverage cloud and managed service solutions, the less relevant the best-fit tender process becomes.
We recognise issues like wasted budget and shadow IT, as well as risks for breaching regulations like data protection.
For most companies, the road to success starts with evaluating the overall business strategy. Start by setting up a working group with stakeholders across the business, and allow them to produce a technology investment plan 100% suitable to all needs. The joy of the cloud is that it’s flexible enough to make previously unachievable goals like this a reality.
#Helpme Action Plan – do’s and don’ts when buying technology by Dr. Lucy Green
- Think holistically, considering the impact on the whole business
- Focus on long-term, short-term, and mid-level results, not just immediate savings
- Work with specialists and suppliers to get guidance toward the right tools
- Set specific goals and determine how technology will help you reach them
- Prioritise user experience, change management, and simplicity
- Get too caught up in the benefits of short-term solutions
- Focus on ‘initial outputs’ over outcomes
- Try to go it alone with your technology investments
- Ignore certain parts of your business when investing in new tools
- Follow the best-fit tender approach