When selected and used correctly, the right technology can be rocket fuel for your business, Mosaik CEO Sheila Reddy writes. However, implementation and adoption make all the difference.
Have you ever found yourself being dazzled on a tech demo and tantalized by the promise of more business, more time back in your day, or even just a less demanding hit on your monthly credit card statement — only to find that same app gathering dust across your devices, or worse yet, turning the promise of a better tomorrow into the reality of a harder today?
If so, you’re a member of one of the largest clubs in the industry, one that even includes tech vendors shopping for their own needs. On occasion, we may fall victim to a smoke-and-mirrors sales pitch of a half-baked product; however, more often than not, the unrealized hopes and dreams of new tech are lost to the pitfalls of misaligned purchase decisions and ineffective implementations.
Here are some ways to avoid those pitfalls:
Shop with purpose
Before you sign on the dotted line or key in your credit card information, make sure you have a clearly defined “why” when it comes to the tech product you’re selecting. Most often, it’s because that tech can help you generate more business, increase efficiency or save money. Sometimes, you may even find a unicorn that does all three. Even in that case, define which of those goals is the most important to you.
The why is usually what defines the how of picking the right product and maximizing its use. If the goal is to save money on an existing product, your evaluation of alternatives needs to be an “apples-to-apples” comparison.
Whatever the new product can’t do or does differently will help inform not only your decision but what workarounds or process changes you need to plan for so they’re part of your implementation from Day One. You may even find that the time and opportunity cost spent on those workarounds actually outweigh your savings.
When you’re clear on the outcomes you’re trying to achieve, you’re less likely to fall victim to bells and whistles that don’t matter or don’t fit into your business. And, if you have a team or employees, you can rally them around the exact outcomes you want to see.
For example, if your goal is to increase efficiency, you don’t want anyone in your business setting up the shiny new tech to be a mere replica of exactly what you’re doing today.
Have a game plan
Implementing new technology in your business is more than just setting a date on the calendar. You need a gameplan of how you want to roll out the tech and it should fit the needs and priorities of you and your business.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you’re implementing a feature-rich product, pick the features that are most valuable to you and roll them out first. It’ll help you perfect the application to your business but will also prevent feelings of overwhelm or being bogged down by features that simply don’t move the needle. When there are too many balls in the air, at least one of them usually ends up on the ground.
It also doesn’t have to be a big bang. Leveraging “dry runs” or “pilots,” especially if you lead a team or brokerage, can have a tremendous impact on downstream adoption. Simply put, it gives you the opportunity to work through kinks.
Also, engaging a “champion,” such as a tech-savvy agent on your team, to participate can generate excitement within the business and build confidence that it’s the right move. Naysayers who are resistant to change often end up becoming the first in line through this approach.
This is also when your vendors are the most motivated, as they want to earn a permanent seat in your tech stack. This is a great opportunity to leverage their desire to count you as a “win” with perks such as extended trials and implementation support. And, worst case scenario, you can always cut your losses before getting in too deep.
Any new tech, no matter how user-friendly or simple, requires intentional adoption and integration into your day-to-day, as well as consistent oversight of those under you. Don’t forget to factor in the time commitments that come with that when you’re planning and scheduling a roll-out.
How it starts is how it ends
While annual sales volume, like football games, can still be won in the fourth quarter, tech implementations are almost always won in the first. Early adoption will typically make or break your business’ use of technology. Even if you pick the right product and have a flawless implementation, if it’s not utilized in the first weeks and months of its introduction into your business, it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever be able to resurrect the momentum.
As much as we want to be on the bleeding edge, old habits die hard. Don’t be afraid to mandate, even if that mandate is to yourself. If utilizing new tech feels like an option to those in your business, they will treat it as such. If they know it’s here to stay, they’ll be more inclined to not only adopt, but to power through the pain points that naturally come with any type of transition so you can get to your desired outcomes faster.
When selected and used correctly, the right technology can be rocket fuel for your business. That said, the product is only half the battle; the making and breaking is in picking the right one and implementing it correctly. Following this framework will help you turn the tech traps into trophies.