Choosing the best technological systems for your business has become much more of a chore than ever. With the advent of what seems like a dozen new scientific advancements every few months, managers are at a loss to decide which technological “breakthrough” is right for their firm and which is not. Whether your company makes boats or does freelance editing, the computer age has spawned a virtual storm of apps, wizards, add-ons, and bots that promise to make every job easy and fast. Workers who punch time clocks are always on the lookout for a techno-advancement that can shave a few minutes off their day.
Managers are not immune to the pull of technology, but should be aware that many products just don’t hold up to scrutiny. Before buying any new gadget or piece of software, the business manager should enforce a 24-hour cooling-off period on the purchase decision. This is a good rule for all large purchases, and when it comes to the world of time clocks and balance sheets it is best to slow down and think before buying.
After the cooling off period has expired, sit down and make a list of the pros and cons of the technology. Ask yourself some simple questions such as do I need it? Will it work? Can I afford it? How long has it been in existence? You will learn a lot about the product and yourself by going through this process. After you walk past the time clocks each day, will this bit of fresh technology make a difference in your productivity, or is it just a shiny new toy? All these questions will help you fill out the pros and cons list.
At this point, if you decide that the item is worthy of purchase, it is time to do some research. Start on the Internet, looking for objective reviews of the product. Sometimes you have to dig a bit before coming up with revealing, honest reviews. Do a bit of background research on the manufacturer as well. A long, respected history is a good sign. An unknown company with a questionable website and no clear contact information is a very bad sign.
As your day winds down, and employees clock out, you should have a good idea about whether to purchase the product or not. Don’t forget to ask the manufacturer for a demonstration or free trial period. Without actually test-driving a new piece of technology, you really don’t know how it will fit into your corporate puzzle.