As a business leader, poor technology investments can be soul-crushing. Just take a look at the jaw-dropping amounts being spent on digital transformations today, and it’s no wonder why technology spending is such a high-wire act for leadership — especially when you factor in all the ways an investment can go wrong. Fortunately, investing in business technology is no different from making any other decision — if you know where the landmines are buried, it’s a lot easier to navigate around them.
Of all the technology gaffes you could possibly make, there are four that have proven to be the most common and the costliest to resolve. Dan Tynan highlighted these mistakes in a recent article on CIO.com and offered a few tips on how to avoid them. Here are a few key takeaways from Tynan’s article:
1. Mind Your Vendor Relationships
Vendor lock-in can be an expensive and highly restrictive consequence of a poor technology investment. The advent of cloud technology hasn’t eased these consequences, either. That’s why, whether you’re investing in a phone system, unified communications technology or network and bandwidth services, it may pay to think in terms of diversification and work with a variety of different vendors across your technology stack. It may also be in your best interest to work with a vendor-neutral third party that can guide your investments and take vendor management off your plate altogether.
2. If You’re Thinking Cloud, Make Sure Your Infrastructure is Ready
Charting a path to the cloud is on the minds of many small-business leaders looking to cut technology costs and increase flexibility across their workplaces. However, a successful cloud migration requires the right infrastructure. For instance, a common misconception is that cloud servers behave like any other server or virtual machine in your data center. This is incorrect. Moreover, failing to adapt your infrastructure to your cloud requirements is a misstep that could cost you business.
3. Get Buy-In from People Who Matter
Building an airtight business case for technology investments is important, but will other stakeholders care if they don’t understand how the new solutions will help their sides of the house? Bottom line — if the people who matter aren’t on board with your technology proposal (even if it’s the right course of action for the business), you may face an uphill battle getting your investment greenlit.
At smaller companies, buy-in may solely hinge on your user base. For this reason, it may be worthwhile to invite users into the decision-making process, pick their brains and listen to their feedback. This tac can go a long way in driving adoption and usage after the technology has been implemented.
4. Hire (or Partner with) People Who Are Smarter Than You
Your technology investment is only as strong as who’s involved in making the decision. For this reason, one of the best ways to ensure sound IT decision making is to surround yourself with smart people who know what they’re talking about. If you’re the CTO of a large company, this might entail biting the ego bullet and hiring an IT manager who has a broader skill set than you do. If you’re a small business owner who’s constantly wearing multiple hats, this might mean bringing on a dedicated technology specialist or finding an external partner who can advise your investments.
Technology spending is riddled with potential pitfalls, and not knowing what you don’t know is a fast way to set your investment up for a fall. Check out these articles for more guidance on IT decision making at your business: