The business world is chock-full of software, apps, devices and other tech, all promising to make life simpler, your work easier, and your business more successful. But researching, testing, purchasing, implementing and training on all of these “solutions” can be a full-time job in itself.
How can you keep up with the technology landscape and identify the right tech for your business?
Below we offer 3 tips on how to lifehack the business technology problem.
1. Set a Routine
To keep pace with relevant technology and industry news, you need to make learning a habit. Establish routines for consistently monitoring what’s out there.
- Set up an RSS feed reader, such as Netvibes, Digg Reader or Feedly, and include top trade publications and tech blogs.
- Flag items to read later. Don’t derail your workday each time you come across an interesting read. Instead, save them for later using a bookmarking tool like Pocket or Instapaper.
- Set aside time to review. Commit to reading your saved articles weekly, if not daily. For example, you could skim your RSS during coffee breaks, bookmark interesting articles throughout the day, and catch up on reading over lunch.
2. Make Due Diligence a Process
It can be easy to get bogged down in all of the news and technology out there. That’s why you need a process behind your decision-making. Create a standard review method you use each time you evaluate a new solution for your business.
To make technology evaluations efficient and actionable, consider:
- Is this solution truly applicable to your business?
- To what extent has this solution been tested?
- Are there other alternatives you should evaluate?
- Is the vendor reputable? What training, support or resources does it offer?
- Is the solution compatible with existing systems, software and processes?
- Can you test it out with a demo or free trial?
Your time is limited, so focus on the areas of study that will have the biggest impact in your workplace, and follow up on ideas worth pursuing.
3. When in Doubt, Keep It Simple
In general, the more systems you implement, the more headaches that could arise. Especially as a small- or mid-sized business, you don’t have the available resources to implement, integrate and maintain a complex technology infrastructure. For this reason, seek out the following solutions whenever possible:
- All-in-one products that natively integrate various features or tools your business needs.
- API compatibility / Add-On Marketplaces expand the ways in which software can be used, and how it can be integrated directly with your existing systems.
- Software as a service (SaaS) solutions that offer immediate implementation, no infrastructure commitment and agility for your business.
Follow these steps and managing your small business tech will become a benefit—not a burden.
How do you keep up with industry and tech trends, or evaluate software solutions for your business?
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