No matter the industry, ever-improving technology is seen as the golden panacea to an organisation’s need to stay ahead of the curve, maintain competitiveness, improve productivity or just save the planet. Often the promises of new technology fail to live up to the expectations of the organisation, be it the user, the supervisor, manager or owner. Why?
The clue is in the first sentence, believing that technology is the golden panacea, the piece of kit that is going to pay for itself in months if not weeks. Organisations embrace technology readily or fear it, often driven by past experience, direct or otherwise. The act of deploying a new technology is only part of the process and we would argue that it represents a smaller element of success than you realise.
Mitigating the risk of any technology rollout often comes down to selecting the right partner – it can be anything from product know-how through to the working relationship; get it wrong and you could be in for some unpleasant experiences and failure. It’s a two-way street; finding the right supplier is as important as engaging with the right client. Squaring that circle is a critical element but for the purposes of this article, we’ll concentrate on a client selecting the right provider.
Top of any selection criteria has got to be engaging with an organisation that spends a significant amount of time listening and questioning your desired outcomes; what are you trying to achieve, what challenges need overcoming, how does this fit into the big picture? Seems obvious, but reality doesn’t always stack up – understand the options, look for transparency; you don’t want to regret being railroaded because that was what you were sold. Equally, don’t be bedazzled by big promises and grand schemes; any deployment should be treated as an evolution not a revolution. This should be a long-term relationship and look for past examples.
Look for a partner who has depth and breadth of experience, but also relationships with multiple vendors – you’re not looking for a Jack of All Trades, Master of none; but somebody with the network to address your challenges. Often a solution will require multiple systems in combination; so finding someone who plays nice with others is often in a good position to offer the most attractive offering and support.
Institutional inertia is a large factor in determining the success of any implementation; recognising that and finding a partner steeped in experience dealing with similar environments is critical. Equally, much of this inertia may actually come from you, and recognising that removes a significant hurdle to success – an investment in new technology must be matched by an equal investment in altering your processes. Would you ride a bicycle the same way you ride a motorbike?
Choosing the right partner is hard and there are countless books on the subject but if you invest as much time in selecting the right partner as you do selecting the technology, consider it a valuable investment. Finally, and we’ll admit bias here; look beyond the brand names; don’t ignore them, but there are plenty of smaller outfits, like Ramjack, that are often born of bigger companies that can offer more and are willing to invest the time and effort in ensuring your success is their success.