Before deciding on which particular version or type of the online technology you want to use, it is important to discover more about the online technology which will help you succeed online by:
- Finding out the facts
- Getting everyone involved
- Funding the decision, and
- Not procrastinating so you can plan to succeed
Let’s unpick these a little more.
Fact finding techniques
It is important to find out as much information about the online technology in general before honing in on which brand or software that you might use. For example, researching more about the topic, ie social media, mobile devices or the Cloud or whatever online technology will help you succeed online, before making your final choice.
There are many ways to do this:
- Working with business mentors and/or attending workshops and events at local Business Enterprise Centres, Business Development Centres or Regional Development Boards
- Speaking to others who are using the online technology – if you are unsure who this may be, ask the people working at one of the business support organisations listed in the above point
- Reading blog posts, online articles and books – you will find these through doing a web search or by asking your online and face to face networks about what they read
Record your findings, thoughts and questions in Evernote, a mobile app and website software which allows you to keep and access your notes from anywhere and from any device. This means that you will have your information at hand when needing to make the final decision.
Bringing people along on the journey
Having those involved who will be impacted by the introduction of a new online technology in the research and decision making (discovery) phase will help improve the buy-in required when systems need to change in an organisation upon the introduction of the new online technology. These people can include your business partners, your staff, your customers and your suppliers.
This involvement can be achieved through working with your team to establish a ‘shared goal’ about how the new online technology will help the organisation, your customers and your staff. It should also align with your business’s overall vision and mission. This can be done through staff meetings, one on one discussions, small internal and external focus groups and/or online surveys.
If you need to upskill your team to use the new online technology, you may be able to attract Industry Skills Funds. This money is available to businesses who wish to “build a highly skilled workforce that can take advantage of new business growth opportunities and adapt to rapid technological change”.
Creative ways to finance your decision
When times are tough it is very easy for a business to put their head in the sand and not want to invest any money into their business. However, this is often the best time to do this, as the introduction of a new online technology can help your business get more exposure, grow and/or become more efficient.
A lot of online technologies now work as ‘software as a service’, making access to new online technologies very affordable. Software that act as a service is web based, allowing you to access the service from any internet enabled device. Software as a service also does not require any upfront investment but rather offers incremental monthly pricing points, allowing you to scale up and down depending on demand.
If you are being really creative in your use of online technologies, you may be entitled to R&D Tax Incentives. This Australian Goverment scheme offers you the ability to reduce your business’s tax obligations through offsetting costs involved in creating new or improved products, processes and services, such as implementing a new online technology.
Techniques for taking the plunge
Now that you have done all of your research, established the shared goal for introducing a new online technology, and found some creative ways of funding it, you now need to make the final selection of which online technology brand or service that you are going to use.
You should use these two tools to help you with your final decision:
- Functional requirements checklist which lists all of the features and functions that you would like your online technology to have, and which allows you to compare these across the different services on offer – click here to download a “Online technology ‘functional requirements’ checklist” which you can modify for your online technology
- Briefing document to help you describe the background information and/or key features of your new online technology – this document will help you clarify what you would like to achieve with your online technology, and you can give it to potential providers so they have a clearer picture of your needs and desires – click here to download a “Selecting an online technology briefing document” which you can modify for your online technology
When making the final, final decision, always have in mind the ‘solution after next’. That is, consider where you would like your business to be in 5 years time and try to anticipate what will be different between now and then: more customers and staff, improved technological advances etc. Then when selecting the right type of online technology consider whether it will withstand this period of time and beyond to incorporate these changes.
You are now ready to make your decision about which online technology will help you succeed online. The next step is then about carefully integrating the online technology to ensure your online success. More about that next time.
Or contact us (email or 0400 732 270) now to find out more about how you can take these simple steps to online success.