We have all heard the saying “Fail to Plan, you Plan to Fail” and there is a lot of truth to this. Sure, there are some of you out there that somehow fall into a bed of roses even when you don’t plan ahead, but for most of us, it takes planning to achieve great things.
Technology is no different, but what is a Technology Plan? For some, it’s as simple as planning and saving up for a new computer. For others, like businesses, it can become a complex process of measuring how and when technologies should be replaced or implemented.
For the purpose of this article, I will discuss the approach (at a high level) I recommend for small to medium sized businesses, as they often are the biggest violators of failing to have a Technology Plan in place.
- Find out where you currently are with Technology - Like any plan you must have a firm understanding of where you currently are with technology before you can properly think about where you want to be. Therefore, your first step should always include a thorough review and documentation of your current technology and how it’s used in your business. This is called many different things by other Managed Service Providers (MSP) such as “Technology Audit”, “Network Assessment”, or perhaps “Technology Assessment” (the term we use). However, not all MSPs perform their review to the same level, so before you allow someone to come in and perform one of these reviews make sure they explain what they will be reviewing so you can be assured it will be a complete review of your technology. Some MSPs will charge anywhere from $250 to perhaps $1000 or more for this review. We actually provide this service as a free introduction to our services to prospective clients.
- Determine where Technology Fits – One of the most miss-understood things about technology is that sometimes it’s NOT a good fit for something. As an example, Auto-Attendant on your phone system (you know--that almost human voice that politely asks, “Please press 1 for Sales”) may not be a good fit for your business. While it may save the business a bit of time, it may also be a huge turn off to the clients and, therefore, the benefits it provides are outweighed by the negative impacts it has on customer service. Where technology can really shine is helping to streamline processes or improve employee efficiencies.
Next week I will cover the remaining high level steps of developing a Technology Plan.
Daniel A. FitzGerald
Owner & President