A guide on how to efficiently prepare before choosing a new system for your business, and how this can help you avoid making expensive mistakes.
Deciding on a new system for your business is an integral part of growth and development. In today's rapidly changing business landscape, technology is playing an increasingly important role; every day, new technologies are emerging, and businesses need to stay up to date to remain competitive.
Choosing a new system, however, can be a daunting process. There are so many things to consider; what is available within my budget? How much time will it take to transition? How will it integrate with existing systems? The list is seemingly endless, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed during your research.
Every business is unique, so it’s important to analyse your own processes and how they can improve. Creating a solid plan and outlining what you need is crucial, which is why we’ve put together a useful guide on how to efficiently prepare before choosing a new system for your business, and how this can help you avoid making expensive mistakes.
Step 1: Define Your Business Needs
All too often, HR teams begin exploring systems and suppliers before they have done sufficient prep. In order to get the best out of your new system, it’s important to examine your current technology and look into the reasoning behind choosing a new one. This is one of the most important steps in your decision and establishes from the get-go what it is your company needs.
Why are you looking for a new system? Are there issues with data and reporting? Has the business outgrown the current system? Are there issues with data and reporting? Answering these questions allows you to create a plan of action and greatly assists with the initial research process.
A good idea is to capture your business requirements in a shared document to detail everything that is required - this will help to create your RFP and to evaluate the systems in order to differentiate between them and assess to what extent they meet your needs. This step also allows you to help identify who should be involved in the project.
Step 2: Research and Identify Solutions
Once you have investigated your business needs, it’s time to start the research process.
Begin by reading reviews of different systems online. See how businesses similar to yours have analysed and implemented these systems, as they will likely have similar needs and concerns to you. Additionally, you could ask for recommendations from colleagues or industry experts.
When researching different systems, it’s important to consider factors such as cost, implementation time and customer support. You want a system that fits within your budget and can be installed within a reasonable timeframe, as well as excellent customer support which is critical if you encounter issues down the line.
Analyse all the pros and cons of each system and input them into a spreadsheet for ease of assessment. This is useful as it offers a clear comparison based on your requirements – it can also be shared with your colleagues should you need their input.
Step 3: Assess Costs and ROI
Technology investments can be expensive, and businesses need to ensure that the benefits they will receive outweigh the costs.
When calculating the ROI, your business should consider not only the direct costs of the technology, such as licensing and implementation fees, but also indirect costs such as training and maintenance. You should also investigate the potential benefits of the technology such as increased revenue, reduced costs, and improved customer satisfaction.
To ensure a positive ROI, the lifecycle of the technology is an important factor to consider. Will it require frequent upgrades or replacements? Will it become obsolete quickly? By looking into these factors, you and your business can make more informed decisions and avoid issues later down the line.
Step 4: Assess the Risks
As well as looking into the benefits of new technologies, it’s also important to assess the risks. Implementing any new system always comes with potential issues, particularly ones around data loss or how long your current system will be down. There is also the risk of your employees opposing these new changes; they may be satisfied with the current system and dislike the idea of transformation.
Another essential part of risk assessment is to evaluate the security of the new system, as cybersecurity threats can pose significant risks to your business. Consider factors such as encryption, access controls, and disaster recovery plans when assessing the security of your new system.
By assessing these risks and taking appropriate measures to mitigate them, you can ensure a smooth implementation and minimize potential negative impacts on your business.
Step 5: Plan for Implementation
Once you’ve decided on a particular technology, it’s time to initiate an implementation plan. Much like the research stage, this step is essential so that everything runs as smoothly as possible and there are no unnecessary hitches.
Setting realistic timelines is essential, as it ensures that there are no hindrances that may affect implementation. Consider current projects, how they will be affected by system changes and whether it’s worth pushing things forward or back to ensure completion. Whether you phase it in over time or do it all in one go, it’s important to look at how the implementation aligns with your current business strategy.
Furthermore, consider factors such as training, data migration, and user adoption. You want to ensure that your team is adequately trained on the new system and that your existing data is migrated correctly. You should also create a plan for user adoption, as this can be critical to the success of your new system.
In summary, taking the time to plan and organise before implementing a new system is vital for success. Not only can it save you time with research, but it may also avoid costly future mistakes.
Remember to identify and research your options, assess finances and ROI as well as the risks, and plan effectively for implementation. With the right system in place, you can streamline your business processes, increase productivity, and drive growth.