How to select the best business technology for you
We live in a world where communicating and sharing information without delay has become the norm.
Our personal lives have become enriched by a sophisticated, connected, digital experience that puts our mobile devices at the very heart of our day-to-day activities.
Technological developments have heightened consumer expectations – and these expectations are increasingly filtering through to the business arena where providers must consistently raise their game, improving the user experience to help enable customers to prosper.
This continuous innovation calls for a thorough understanding of the needs of not only businesses, but also their employees and customers.
Business technology systems must provide solutions to empower and simply the lives of all, improving business workflow to meet not only today’s business needs, but also those of tomorrow.
In this post, we consider four key areas that companies should consider before introducing new business technology to ensure their long-term expectations are met.
Identifying business technology that meets your requirements is only half the story. It is important to choose a supplier that not only has a proven track record for delivering technology that can be implemented in an easy, timely manner but also the ability to offer ongoing support and advice to ensure you make the most of your investment and business needs are met.
Brand reputation and trust should certainly be a key consideration in the selection process. Background checks on preferred suppliers should extend to finding out how many customers are using the solution, how installation of hardware will take place, what training and support services are provided, and how these can be accessed.
Moreover, simplicity remains key. Technology should enable an easy transition to new, improved, ways of working.
The user experience: less is more
Enter stage left – usability. We often hear that business technology is only limited by its user but, in truth, a user will often be limited by technology. The quality of the user experience should be a major consideration for any piece of hardware or software.
Companies should look to invest in systems that bring the ease-of-use and sophistication of consumer-facing technology to their business processes. Forward-thinking providers understand that this holds the key to effective engagement and time-saving workflow management.
Accessing vital business intelligence should be a simple process, with straightforward navigation to important data and reports.
When vetting vendors, businesses should seek out the right balance between important functionality and usability, with a simple, clean, intuitive software interface a priority.
A spotlight on connectivity
In an increasingly connected world, high on tech shopping lists should be the integration possibilities of any new business systems.
But what does this actually mean? Essentially it is a question of whether the new system you are looking to invest in is capable of speaking to other technology already used by the business or further systems that may be acquired in the future.
Our research1 recently revealed that more than half of businesses (57 per cent) have invested in technology over the past five years that has been underused – and a third attributed this to the technology proving incompatible with existing systems and processes.
Choosing new systems that can work with those already in place will not only help to avoid this situation but can also put your business in a position to benefit from time-saving, automated processes.
For example, telematics can integrate with invoicing software, allowing invoices to be generated automatically when a customer signs for delivery on a mobile device. Data passes from mobile hardware to the in-vehicle black box and then onwards to the office. This means an accurate invoice can be created and sent within minutes, complete with GPS time stamp, helping to promote quicker cash flow back into the business.
Another example might allow your accident management supplier to draw on telematics data to receive notifications of engine fault codes, allowing vehicles to be called in for proactive maintenance work, or to dispatch recovery vehicles to an employee’s precise location in the case of breakdowns.
This approach allows a company’s systems to become far greater than the simple sum of their parts.
It is tempting, when investing in technology, to focus on the now. Many businesses fall into this trap believing it will make the change process easier, while others might focus solely on current needs because they believe it is impossible to accurately predict future requirements.
There may be a little truth in this but, really, all they are doing is putting themselves in a situation where technology might become ill-suited or, worse still, obsolete within a matter of years. This is why it is so important for businesses to balance the needs of the present with the needs of the future when investing in new systems.
Building on the previous point about connectivity, this means choosing technology that can be easily adapted as companies grow or shift focus. Extra functionality can be added when it is needed, helping the system in question become more future-proof simply because it is not constrained by its out-of-the-box capability.
Taking into account all the above considerations will help to put your company in a much stronger position when choosing business technology systems that may be able to deliver significant advantages and improve existing processes.
Most importantly, the specific needs of the business should be kept front of mind throughout the selection process. Maintain a clear focus on the goals you want to achieve and the areas where improvement is required and ask the right questions of potential suppliers to help ensure technology fits the bill.
To find out what TomTom Telematics is doing to meet the needs of customers and provide future-proof solutions, discover more about New WEBFLEET. The award-winning fleet management solution is now more powerful, customisable and usable than ever before.