Before making a technology investment meant to improve productivity, it’s important to take a moment to think through and fully plan for a few things.
- The people benefiting from the solution should be involved in the evaluation.
- Focus on the specific needs of your group, and don’t be guided by the needs that the solution states it solves. This helps you make long-term investments and not keep hoping for a solution that is going to cure all that supposedly ails your organization.
- Understand your work-flow to determine how the solution fits.
- Study why the current solution is not working, and ask why it doesn’t meet your group’s needs. Core needs generally don’t change.
- Ask why the decision was made to purchase the current solution and what changes have occurred in the organization that prevents it from meeting expectations. This helps ensure you are not in the market again in a couple of years deploying another solution. It also brings to light whether it was just an improper use and the inability to get people to adopt or maximize the solution. In which case, buying another solution might not solve the root issue.
- Have realistic measures of what the new solution is meant to improve. Go beyond your current situation in order to avoid making decisions based on market fads.
- Track and analyze how personnel are using the solution, as some investments require a change in approach and mindset by the IT personnel to maximize the benefit.
When it comes to training, it’s important to go beyond the vendor, who will come and train with preset training material. The perspective the vendor provides is that of the product and generalized assumptions of how it improves the organization. Include someone who is inquisitive and/or works in the area the investment is being made to work in collaboration with the vendor to create the training material. Together, you can accomplish the following:
- Engage people to think about the solution in the context of their own unique situation.
- Make it easier to transition the solution into the organization’s existing work-flow.
- Consider how to optimally work with the technology and do it in a way that improves the way business is done.
- Help people make the connection between the technology and their unique IT organization with its products, systems and process.
What missteps have you seen in your organization when it relates to productivity improvement investments?