We spend a lot of money on technology for our businesses. In fact, worldwide IT spending is projected to reach $4 trillion in 2019, while the average SMB spends between $10,000 and $49,000 per year on technology.
So it's safe to say that, when we're investing in new technology - whether it's hardware, software or a new system - it's important to get it right.
Small and medium businesses are affected the most by bad IT choices; you don't have the money or time to waste, and the last thing you want to do is make things harder for your team with new technology that hinders your work.
Here are five things you need to consider before splashing the cash on the latest and greatest technologies.
Don't always believe the hype.
Sometimes new technology can make your life better. But, throwing your cash at the latest IT trend rarely solves all of your problems, at least not instantly.
For example, the cloud is likely to help your team out a lot, but making a sudden change over to the first cloud services provider you lay eyes on may not work for you.
We'd recommend writing down your main goals and seriously consider the results you want to achieve with technology. From this, you should be able to tell whether that new software you've heard a lot about is completely right for you.
Do check whether it'll work with your existing setup.
Not everything is always compatible, so it's essential to make sure that whatever you're investing your money in works with what you currently use.
Luckily, as technology evolves, more and more software and systems work together. But, it's still crucial to double and triple check before you make a purchase.
Don't forget about your budget.
Find out the full costs of what you're investing in.
More and more IT solutions, such as cloud storage, email, productivity apps and cybersecurity software, are packaged as pay-as-you-go in monthly instalments.
This is a great way to spread costs and avoid upfront payments; however, you need to be sure that you're not paying more in the long run.
Subscriptions quickly rack up, and before you know it you're spending way more than you intended to each month.
Do train your team.
Just because you've installed some fancy new software doesn't mean that all your problems will fade away.
Your team needs to be trained on how to get the most out of their new technology. Some people may not be happy about changing their daily habits, while others may not be comfortable using a new product.
Make sure everyone is on the same page from the start, whether this involves you taking the lead and offering support, or consulting an expert to deliver basic training.
Don't ignore feedback.
You should always be open to feedback from your team members and include them in any conversations about new technology.
While feedback is essential for after you've purchased and implemented any new product, it's also wise to gauge your employees' opinion beforehand.
This could save you wasting money on technology that won't be used, or it could inform your decision on which product has the best features to suit the way your team currently work.
By involving them from the beginning, you also have more chance of getting your team on board with the new changes.
Want some more advice on investing in IT? Chat with a member of our team right now.