The Real Questions to Assess Cost Versus Benefit When Adopting New Technology

What’s in it for me?

That’s the basic question every choice we make comes down to, whether we realize or admit it.  If we’re going to do something, it has to provide us with something in return.  This is true even when it comes to resolving family nonsense and altruistic endeavors.  Both drama reduction and warm, fuzzy feelings are a payment type all of their own.

This concept is an absolute truth when it comes to the business world.  You’ve got a bottom line to answer to and ever decision you and your team make better feed that bottom line.  You’ve got to ask what’s in it for you and the company; the bottom line demands it.

This is especially true of adopting new technology for your company.  In a constantly changing, highly competitive world of business and technology these days, you’ve got to ask yourself, “what’s in it for me,” amongst a million other questions when purchasing new tech for your company.

You don’t want to spend a lot of time and money investing in one type of technology, only to discover it’s obsolete or doesn’t meet all your needs by the time all is said and done.  However, you also don’t want to stagnate or kill your company growth by remaining in the Stone Age.  Nor do you want to waste an employee’s time and talents on doing something that technology can take care of for less time and money.

Two men wearing virtual reality glasses in mock hand to hand combat.

A 2013 study conducted by MIT Sloan Management conclude that now, more than ever, companies have 2 choices, “adopt new technologies effectively or face competitive obsolescence.”  Ouch. Of the 1559 executives and managers they interviewed, 78% said, “achieving digital transformation will become critical to their organizations within the next two years.”  That compared to the 63% of participants who felt, “the pace of technology change in their organization is too slow.”

Now if you started reading that paragraph and felt that the info was outdated because it is now 4 years old, that says something.  Keeping up with the times isn’t easy and it’s even harder if you’re spending your time maintaining outdated technology.

How to ditch analysis paralysis (sometimes disguised as being stuck in your old ways) and make the right tech choices for your company:

Question 1: On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being not important and 10 being an absolute must the company would die without, how vital is the task the technology would handle?

Framing the question in this manner helps remove feelings and attached preconceived notions from the matter at hand.  Regardless of how frequently you complete the task, how much thought it takes to get done or any other factors, break it down to how vital the task is and give that a numerical value.  What would happen to your business if your client never received the product they paid for?

Question 2: If you 100% stopped doing the task today, what would happen to your company and how long would it continue to exist?

This may source out the answer to question 1 for you as well.  If the task were paying invoices and up to date you’ve been letting Gene in accounting handwrite the checks on an irregular basis and she stopped all together, how long would the lights, internet and phones stay on?  How long before you lost every vendor and customer?

Now looks like a good time to enroll in online banking options that allows you to pay all the bills electronically at scheduled times, look into service options that allow you to schedule recurring invoices to be automatically paid and/or hire an accounting services.

Question 3: How much money does your current method cost you, including supplies and labor?

If something is a priority level 1 (not very important) and costing you $65,000 annually to do, is it really worth it?  Transitioning to a technology that does the same thing Lewann does, but at the low cost of $29/month may be the best route.   That’s even if the transition is a hellacious 2 weeks, because it saves the company $65,500 a year.  The bottom line demands you do it.  Maybe Lewann has been dying to do something else for the company like design a new marketing campaign or an in-depth cost benefit analysis of implementing new technologies across the board.  Don’t waste your money and Lewann’s talents.

Question 4: What is the competition doing?

Every successful company is aware of what the competition is doing.  We’re either striving to get on their level, surpass them or making sure to keep the market lead.  Will adopting this new technology help you get on their level or, bet yet, surpass them?

Question 5: Is your personal resistance to change costing the company money?

Rule number 1 to professional and personal success: it’s not about you. Remember that bottom line?  It’s insatiably hungry regardless of your feelings.  Get real with yourself and see if you’re making your choice, for or against, the new technology based on your feelings.  Are your feelings starving the bottom line?

If you’re refusing to learn about a new service the management team wants to utilize because the last rollout at the company was pure chaos and hell, try a new perspective.  Investigate the product as if you were going to pitch it to management to make your life better.  This way you still get to keep your feelings intact, but you’re looking from a new perspective.

What would the new technology do that made your day easier?  In the long-run, would it make it so you could leave work on time and see your kids before they moved out of the house?  What would you tell your bosses in order to sell them the product?  What are the logistics, inclusive of new purchases, training and supplies, of rolling out the new technology?  What would make your life easiest during roll out? What are the absolute key points that you would need to convince your team to do it?

Question 6: Are you being distracted by shiny objects?

This is the exact opposite of your obstinate ways robbing the bottom line.  This question is for every techie that wants to constantly be on the cutting edge of technology.  If your system software is still rolling on DOS, if you even have an employee who understands DOS, then totally buy the newest, shiniest technology.  Don’t even hesitate.

However if you’re wanting to update to the latest technology every time something new comes out, chances are your bottom line is starving… while you’re in line for the latest iWhatever.  Do your chores if you want to get the latest toy.  By the time you’ve saved up your allowance you may be pleasantly surprised how much cheaper is now or how many other options are available.

Question 7: Will this provide long-term security to the company?

You can look at that a few different ways.  Perhaps the technology you’re looking at is a security system, which provides physical safety to your company.  It could also be online security protection that keeps your company’s highly sensitive material from getting hacked.

Or maybe, it’s security of knowing that no matter what happens, your product, whether it’s physical or digital, will get there.  If you’re transferring a terabyte of highly sensitive data across country, you want to know that it will arrive as soon as possible, without any interrupts or being compromised by hackers.  Having a service that provides encryption, fastest transfer possible on your bandwidth and auto-resume downloading gives you the security of mind to go home to those kids of yours instead of pulling an all-nighter staring at a computer screen.  Great, useful technology gives you the ability to leave it and forget about it.  It’s the exact opposite of kids.  Don’t leave and forget those.

Question 8: Have you grown to the point of no return?

Once a company grows past a certain point, you cannot possibly manage resources correctly without the delegation of work.  This is a fortunate place to be in because it means you made it.  The choice is no deciding if you need the new technology, but rather which of the available technologies works best for your company, your growth rate and that hungry bottom line.

If it’s a product that both performs a function your company needs and saves you time, don’t hesitate.  Invest the money now because this particular technological investment will save you money twice over. Saved money is made money.

It’s totally normal to get to that point of growth by quilting together outsourced services, hourly task laborers and long unpaid hours doing tasks you loathe.  As you transition from the startup grind to a full-fledge business it can be hard to let go of the startup mentality.  Once you’ve reached this point it’s time to look at every aspect of your business and assess what technology can do for you.  If it saves you time and money, your insatiable bottom line demands it.  So do your kids who are starting to forget what you look like.