Adding new technology to your trade business – 3 steps to ensure a smooth transition
Article by AroFlo
A successful business owner is always looking for ways to make both their lives and the lives of their employees easier. We work better when we have exactly the right tools for the job, and the same goes for technology.
New technology has the potential to change everything about the trade sector, helping us innovate on our core business practices while creating entirely new avenues for efficiency and operational oversight.
But adding new technology to a trade business while avoiding the common pitfalls that lead to poor uptake and a decline in usage can be tough. You need to balance the many considerations of your team while still settling on a piece of technology that you can realistically integrate into your business with minimal disruption to its day-to-day operations.
This article will cover the three steps you can take to add new technology to your business while ensuring a smooth transition throughout. As we move through each step, we’ll also provide you with some key considerations to keep in mind that will help you combat potential issues and challenges along the way.
Step 1: Find the right technology for your business needs.
Making any substantial change to how you operate your business is often a juggling act that includes your field team, office team, customers, and even your management team if your business is large enough. Reviews of a piece of technology by other businesses can be a great way to start narrowing down your selections based on the needs of you and your team.
While you search, it can be helpful to keep a running list of all the applicable features a piece of technology has, so you can compare them at a glance whenever you need to.
Here are a few key considerations to help you narrow down your choices, but there are bound to be many more based on your unique business situation:
- Does the technology offer you room to grow?
Like kids clothing, some technology isn’t made to account for a sudden growth spurt. If you expect your business to be upscaling in the future, it’s worth exploring whether a piece of technology that seems perfect now will be perfect a year or more down the track.
- Is the technology trade-specific or made for the broader trade industry?
Typically, the more specialised a piece of technology is, the better fit it will be for your business if you fall into that niche. But the reality is that many trade businesses operate under unique circumstances, and a more narrowly focused technology just can’t account for the variety of needs you may have for it.
- Am I augmenting existing technology or replacing it entirely?
As we move toward a more digitised workplace, many trade businesses have begun to stack multiple pieces of technology on top of one and other to create highly unique workflows. You need to ask yourself whether it’s time to upgrade or whether you want to keep what you have and assist it with a new piece of tech instead of starting from scratch.
- Will I be provided with enough support to successfully integrate the new technology?
Proper support is essential to the success of any new technology, and whether or not the vendor provides a system of support that works for you and your business is something you should always have in the back of your mind when researching your options.
Step 2: Manage employee needs and minimise resistance.
After finding the right technology for your business needs, it’s time to sell your employees on the idea of changing how they operate every day.
This sounds alarmist, but it’s a sentiment your staff will mirror if you don’t take the time to properly manage their needs and hear their concerns.
Tech resistance can take many forms and can lead to many negative outcomes, but it’s easy enough to control so long as you accept that transparency and open communication are necessary to make any new technology integration work. To understand more about the factors that lead to resistance and your role in minimising it, we recommend reading this article, which includes a step-by-step guide on how to encourage employees to uptake new technology without resistance.
You can, however, take a strong initial step against potential tech resistance by including your team in the search for a new piece of technology as much as possible. Familiarity is a powerful driver for change, and you want to make sure that your staff are as familiar with a new piece of tech as possible before you start working it into your organisational infrastructure.
Training a ‘champion’ to take on the primary responsibility of integrating new technology into your business can also help you shed some of the burdens that come with constant technological innovation. With a central pillar in your business whose job is to plan, implement and train staff with new tech, you’ll be able to focus on turning the use of your new tech into actionable change that grows your business.
Step 3: Create an implementation checklist and stick to it.
It’s no great secret that the businesses that fail to integrate new technology are often the ones that don’t stick to a set plan.
The great strength of business technology is that it very often fits nicely into a set implementation strategy. From the day your new tech arrives, you should have a plan ready and in hand that details exactly how it will transition from something new to something that you and your team use every single day.
To help you get started, we’ve put together ten straightforward questions you can use as a jumping off point for your very own implementation plan:
- What are the goals you want to achieve with your new technology?
- What are the steps you will take to achieve the goals you set out above and when will you have them completed?
- What roles will staff members take in the implementation of your new tech?
- Are there any potential issues that will affect the implementation of your new tech?
- How will you solve these issues?
- What additional resources will you need to solve any problems listed above and how much time will it take?
- What are the milestones or deadlines that will signpost your progress toward fully implementing your new technology?
- Is there any feedback from stakeholders throughout the business that needs to be worked into the implementation process?
- Are there any final amendments that need to be made based on the feedback recorded above?
- When will staff undergo personal development and uptake sessions?
Want to get a head start on developing your implementation plan? Scan the QR code below to download our template implementation checklist, which is based on the questions above.
Now it’s time to get started.
Nothing is stopping your business from integrating new technology and revolutionising how you do business every day. Just remember that new and emerging technology is always on the horizon, and just because there isn’t a piece of technology that perfectly fits your business now doesn’t mean there won’t be in future.
So always keep an eye out and have our steps to success ready when you begin your search for your next big advance into the world of digital automation.