Whether you’re looking for new devices, new software platforms, or some other piece of technology, procuring tech for your business can be a massive headache. Fortunately, there are some strategies that will make this task easier – and also save you money while introducing you to the gadgets and apps your outfit requires.
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The Challenges of Procuring New Tech
Let’s start by identifying the greatest challenges to procuring new tech for your firm.
Finding the best product : Obviously, your primary goal is to find the best possible technology for your business. You might be able to save money and time by buying the first item you encounter, but if it’s obsolete tech, it’s not going to help your business in any measurable way. You need products and services that make your operation more productive and connected.
Keeping costs minimal : The next priority for most companies is to keep costs down. You might have the wherewithal to shell out millions for the best technology in the world, but is it really worth the investment? You’re smarter to strike a balance here.
Making users happy : The people who have to use your technology also need to be happy. When you select software platforms that are user-friendly and easy to master, that will expedite the introduction process and will likely boost employee morale. On the other hand, if your staff get stuck with using technology that’s hard to learn or challenging to use, they might grow resentful.
Integrating quickly : Introducing new technologies can be both logistically challenging and time consuming. The faster and smoother the process goes, the better it will be for everyone.
Justifying value : Depending on your role, you may prefer to justify the value of the technology you select more than you care about procuring better gear. In other words, you have to prove that the acquisition is worth the investment to your managers or partners.
Saving time during the search : You might be able to accomplish all the above priorities if you’re willing to spend a lot of time on the process. But you probably have other, more important things to do – so a secondary but not negligible priority is to facilitate a faster search.
Tips for Procuring Technology for Your Business
Here are eight ways you can overcome the foregoing challenges and procure better technology for your business.
Designate an authority
Hire an IT procurement manager or appoint another authority who’s already on your IT team. Instead of making procurement everyone’s problem, let a speciality focus on this task. This person will serve as an independent decision-maker who functions semi-autonomously and has both the skills and experience to find you the best possible technologies, completely in line with your goals.
Document a consistent process to follow.
Consistency is key, since you’ll probably be purchasing new technology on an irregular but timely basis. If you want to remain consistent, you’ll want to have a documented process in place. What are the goals of technology procurement in general? Where should buyers look? How should they approach purchasing and integration?
Start with a list of needs.
Whenever you’re shopping for something new, start with a list of needs before you evaluate the options. Too often, technology purchasers start looking at what’s available before they even understand their particular requirements. If you know exactly which features you’ll use, and which would be desirable options, your search will be much easier.
Conduct research in a streamlined way.
Research is much smoother if you have a focused, consistent process you can follow. Streamline your research by relying on similar starting points and building better relationships with vendors (which we’ll explore in more detail in a moment).
Narrow the list objectively.
Once you have a list of potential options, start narrowing the list as objectively as you can. That means ruling out options based on cost, comparing features apples to apples, and crossing off any possibility that doesn’t meet all your specified needs.
Build strong relationships.
Excellent relationships with vendors/suppliers can make technology procurement much easier. They can get you lower prices, better recommendations/guidance, and more ongoing support. Work actively with your vendors and suppliers to remain on good terms with them.
Be willing to negotiate.
In many cases, you can negotiate for a lower price or extra benefits/features. Remain open to negotiation in order to obtain more favorable deals.
Remain open to alternative options.
It’s also worthwhile to remain open to alternative options. For example, sometimes it makes financial sense to buy used devices instead of new ones. Your initial vision for procurement may not be the best.
With better technology in place, your business will be capable of greater innovation and higher efficiency. And with better systems and policies for procuring that technology, you can get access to the appropriate tools much faster.
As long as you remain adaptable and keep looking for paths to optimization, your technology procurement will keep improving.