6 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE BUYING NEW TECHNOLOGY FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Deciding which new technology to buy for one’s business is always a daunting task. Especially when you do not have much technical expertise with the many different technologies out there. These technologies can range from different types of software or hardware. The influx of technologies requires a buyer to seek the answers to certain salient questions prior to purchasing. Hence whatever decision that is made must be well informed.
Business owners must seek the answers to the seven (7) questions below before investing in any new technology for their business:
1. Which parts of your business need the technology?
Ask yourself; which part(s) of my business really need(s) the technology in order for the company to work better?
Knowing the exact part(s) of the business which needs the technology will prevent you from wasting money. This might be the case if in your business there are some processes which are done manually such that you spend much of your time doing these tasks, for example; report writing, stock taking, business trend analysis and the like. In this case to reduce the amount of time to complete a task, you might consider purchasing soft wares that are automated and speed up these business processes hence, saving you time and money.
Also note that if a technology you desire to purchase would be rarely used in your business, then avoid purchasing it since there wouldn’t be any or little returns on investments.
2. How does it work?
Knowing how to operate the technology you desire to purchase is extremely important. Understanding the functionalities of the technology and the benefits it brings to your business processes is paramount to your purchasing decision. You will need to ask yourself; ‘is the technology easy to learn? Do I and my staff need a special training on the technology prior it purchase? You will need to factor the cost component on any training and under cost that comes with understanding and knowing how to operate it before making a decision to purchase.
3. What are the indirect costs of this technology?
Usually, when buying new technology, one is tempted to only consider the capital cost of the technology and little attention is given to the total costs of ownership during the life time of the technology. These indirect costs may include; maintenance costs, additional support for the technology.
You might relate to this situation where you are purchasing a software system for your business and the software vendor is the only one who knows the technicalities of the software. The vendor becomes the sole repository of the maintenance know-how of the technology and takes advantage to charge throat cutting prices. Certainly this would be very costly and might adversely affect your bottom-line.
Even though this is a crucial question to ask, getting the accurate feedback to make an informed decision on purchasing the new technology often becomes stressful. Vendors of the said technology rarely provide all the needed information to the question. A good number of people purchasing the technology would only discover these costs after the actual purchase. Try to do more of online research on the technology. The internet has made it possible to solicit a lot of information on any product or service. Also, speak to an array of IT professionals who might readily provide the needed information.
4. How often will the technology change?
It is believed that technology changes every six months. Prior to purchasing any new technology, ask yourself; ‘How soon will this technology become obsolete? How soon will there be an upgrade? Is the version I am purchasing the latest? For instance, users of Microsoft would clearly see that their soft wares keeps on evolving. It was then Windows XP and its now Windows 10
These technological changes makes it very difficult to take a decision on purchasing technologies. More so, the questions of whether to buy a completely new one or to upgrade the existing one often becomes a dilemma. Mostly, the right decision to make will depend on the type of technology you desire.
5. How will the new technology make or save money for your business?
Any new technology that is decided on should always be in sync with your business strategies. The new technology adopted must align with the business strategies of your firm to ensure high revenue and profit generation.
Always analyze the new technology to understand how it enhances your business strategies. If the two do not sync, you will be wasting your time and money purchasing a technology that wouldn’t benefit your business operations. However if a technology investment will improve the efficiency of operations then it is worth it.
6. How long is the payback period?
The duration for returns on investments is very critical. It is important to clearly consider the length of time required to recover the cost of technological investment.
They payback period of any investment is a very important determinant of whether purchase a new technology. Often technologies with longer payback periods are typically not desirable but they are often worth it.
Brief Profile of Writer” Bridget Nyirongo, Malawi.
Bridget Nyirongo is a young Malawian female Computer Scientist (Software Developer)
passionate about using her technical expertise to see and realise a high
representation of females in the male dominated field of Information and