A technology assessment is one of the many areas of life where we recognize a need to do regular reviews. This might be a visit to the dentist, an oil change and tune-up, your annual physical, or a review of your finances. There is so much technology in our world that it has entered one of these “needs regular review” areas of life. It is nice to have for your personal life but essential for any business that wants to stay competitive. The cost of waiting a little longer to browse news sites on an old mobile device is nothing when compared to the cost of your potential customers waiting seconds, minutes, or hours longer (or more) to get an order entered or fulfilled. Let’s not even mention bigger issues like data loss or corruption.
Technology Is Finite
It may seem like data and software should not age. However, we all know it does. Take a look at a modern application of any kind and then find an example of what that was like five or ten years ago. Software ages just like anything else. More importantly, time marches on. That perfect solution you purchased a few years ago might be in danger of being unsupported. Even incredibly popular solutions like Windows XP eventually fade and must be replaced. Your systems are the same whether they are purchased or custom-built. These all add up to a need for a regular review of your technology environment and solutions with an eye toward what should be replaced or renewed.
Business Is Always Evolving
When your business is not growing, it is dying. That is just one harsh reality of competing in the modern world. A business that wants to stay competitive must review all of its processes and procedures regularly. We can not sit back and rely on the old “that’s the way it has always been done” excuse that used to work. When we review and adjust processes, it often has some impact on how we can or do use technology as part of the process. For example, pen and paper can be fine for payroll when you have a handful of employees, but it does not scale to running payroll for hundreds or even dozens of them.
How Does A Technology Assessment Work?
A technology assessment requires a review of your processes and business goals. Then it examines the tools you use to achieve them. That can make the name be misleading. A good technology assessment is more of a business process assessment with an eye on improving the business’s operations. It is a tune-up, not just a review. A technology assessment looks at the core areas where technology impacts your business and provides guidance for improvement. Likewise, it can be a surface-level overview or a very deep assessment that helps you create a future roadmap. There are several areas where an assessment can shine a light on your operations.
- Security – This is an area every business can improve in. A technology assessment will point out where you have outdated solutions that might be hacked or cause data loss.
- Efficiency – It is amazing how many businesses have software they pay for and do not use. That includes tools with overlapping functionality, or not used to their potential. An assessment can point these out and dramatically reduce costs.
- Integrity – Bad data can cause no end of problems for an organization. Just a simple error in a data entry process can render an entire system useless. Regularly reviewing this area can help you avoid embarrassing and expensive data cleanup projects.
- Sprawl and Technical Debt – Sometimes, we take a shortcut or use a handy solution rather than taking the path we should. That can lead to technical debt or data spread across more systems than it should. We can have solutions (and data) sprawled across our organization. It is just like a mechanic with too many tools to find the one they need quickly,
- Process Improvement – Whether it is time to upgrade our spreadsheet to a CRM web application or take the plunge with an ERP, there are processes that have become overburdened by the solution used. They lack scalability and become an albatross.
- Scaling – One of the most significant benefits of a good technical assessment is that it highlights where our business does or will struggle to scale and grow. Technology is a tool that can help us grow. However, it can also hold us back.
How Do I Get Started?
You will have a couple of costs associated with an assessment. They are your most valuable commodities: time and money.
Time – This is an investment from you and your team. This often amounts to at least a few hours of meetings and working sessions. If you already have your processes refined and documented, then you will only need a little time to share that information with the assessment team. On the other hand, an organization that does not have a good grasp of its processes and procedures may spend days or weeks “cleaning its house” as part of an assessment. The good news its that your business will be that much better for it.
Money – Time is money, and an assessment requires time from your vendor. While your team can carry some of the burden and reduce the money costs, there will still be work only the assessors can do. An assessment for a small business or start-up can take days and costs hundreds. However, a typical assessment runs at least thousands and takes 3-4 weeks.
We are happy to help you get started and you can even schedule a free initial consultation call where we can point you to your next steps and ways to save money on an assessment while also getting the most out of the investment.