Technology can be a competitive advantage for most businesses. Entrepreneurs, CTOs and managers should identify and implement IT systems that improve operations as well as improve products and services.
But too often, legacy systems stand in the way. Employees have gotten used to old processes and systems and they resist change. Thus, there’s a right approach to overhauling your tech infrastructure, and the process must be logical, well-communicated and streamlined. Richard Van Staten, CEO of Quantam, has spent a career in systems management and understands what makes technological transformations happen.
Implement Crucial Elements
Van Staten says you should evaluate whether the current system can be overhauled in the first place, in Sept. 2018 interview with this writer. If legacy systems can’t be replaced all at once, then management should take a slower approach and gradually incorporate certain elements such as distributed workflows, machine learning and more.
Company culture can be a key factor on whether employees embrace large implementations such as internet of things (IoT) or artificial intelligence (AI). Major overhauls often can’t happen all at once so a measured approach is often what’s best.
Secondly, good managers should automate repetitive tasks. “Automation can be key to improving efficiency by relieving employees of mind-numbing tasks,” says Van Staten. He suggests that automation can actually boost creativity and morale because it liberates people’s time and energy to help the business in other ways.
Many companies use automation for administrative tasks such as invoicing, scheduling and visitor management. And automation is growing more sophisticated as the technology evolves. Such tools can now manage expense approvals, delegation and sales support, to name a few. Time is valuable and your company should empower employees to focus on tasks that add the most value to customers. But adding this feature requires training and willingness to improve business processes.
Embrace the Cloud
Management may want to consider leveraging decentralized software, more popularly known as cloud computing. “The cloud is living up to its promise,” says Van Staten. “Entrepreneurs need to at least be familiar with what cloud services can do for their business.”
It may be possible to use cloud computing without making structural changes to your tech infrastructure. Cloud services allow your data to be backed up periodically and perhaps avoid the purchase of extra hardware. It can be more secure as well.
Traditional environments use a “castle and moat” approach. You buy software and it’s installed on your hard drive. The cloud environment more closely resembles a modern hotel where individuals are given reusable key cards to access only what they need, when they need it. That means the newest iterations of software can be rolled out instantly, and only to where it’ll be best implemented.
Consider the Impact
Context is everything and managers must adapt to their unique circumstances. And good tech transformations don’t happen in a vacuum. Rather, they’re the result of diligent preparation. Knowing the impact starts with knowing the people a business transformation will affect the most.
Entrepreneurs should consider three things:
1. Does the new infrastructure make sense for your business?
2. Do the benefits outweigh the disadvantages?
3. Will implementation be smooth?
Efficiency, performance, and even culture can be improved by smooth rollouts of new company-wide tech. If new systems make sense and can possibly improve your organization, then why not take your business to the next level?