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Almost all businesses operating in today’s market rely heavily on technology. From managing business transactions and accounting to using artificial intelligence to do predictive maintenance for complex manufacturing lines, technology doesn’t just make businesses more efficient; it’s also friendlier to the environment and communities around them.
Despite the vast benefits, investing in technology, especially new technology, is not always an easy decision to make for business owners. There are many factors to consider before an investment can be made. It’s all about maximizing the return on tech investments, and there are several ways to maximize that ROI for your business.
The Right Problems to Solve
One of the first things to do when you want to maximize the return on technology investment is to understand your needs. Before you even begin to seek solutions for your business, take the time to fully understand the problems that you are trying to solve.
Look at processes and issues from different perspectives. Don’t stop at trying to move mundane, offline tasks to the cloud. Technology can help you further through things like automation and predictive functions.
Finding the right problems to solve is also important because not all problems are best solved using technology. When the issues are labor-intensive, for instance, investing in professional development for team members can yield a higher return.
Once the right problems are identified, you also need to identify the advantages of solving those problems. This will help you determine the objectives to achieve. That actually brings us to the second step to take, which is….
Every decision to invest in technology must be made with clear objectives in mind. No matter how useful the technology seems at first, identifying tangible benefits offered by the solution is still a critical process to complete.
Clear objectives prevent a lot of problems you could face when implementing new technologies. When you know the level of efficiency improvement you want to achieve, for instance, you will know to also refine the processes influenced by the technology during planning and implementation.
One last benefit of having clear objectives in mind is that you will also find comparing benefits and investments easy. You can measure whether the objectives you are trying to achieve – the benefits of using technology – are worth the money and resources you are investing in.
Infrastructure as the Biggest Investment
The biggest component of your tech investment is infrastructure. For solutions to run smoothly and support your business, you need suitable infrastructure to support tech operations. That infrastructure ranges from devices on your business locations to cloud clusters.
Fortunately, large investment in hardware is no longer mandatory. You can turn to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Solution as a Service (SaaS) to reduce your initial investment in technology.
When comparing PaaS vs. SaaS, for example, you will be able to see whether one is more suitable than the other. Companies like Virtasant can also help you optimize your investment in infrastructure from the ground up. Experts will help craft the most suitable infrastructure for your business.
Before you settle for a particular business solution, always take the time to review your options. Comparing business solutions and the infrastructure that will support them is a must. A solution may look perfect for your business from the outside, but the real-world application of the same application can be very different.
When implementing a business solution to your existing workflow, small differences in approach can make a huge difference. The same goes for slight differences in other components, including performance and running prices.
In fact, comparing solutions before making a tech investment usually leads to you getting a better deal for the solution you choose. Mention that you are looking into multiple options to support your business, and solutions providers will be more than happy to offer you special quotes and additional discounts for your needs.
Investing in new technology is only the beginning. Once the technology to invest in is chosen, you also need to start thinking about optimizing the new solution. That optimization can happen from two sides: the implementation itself and the processes it affects.
Optimizing tech implementation is the easier part of the equation. You have plenty of ways to optimize your cloud infrastructure, from reducing your storage and computing resource usage to streamlining your business solutions into a series of microservices running in containers.
Processes are more difficult to deal with, especially when those processes have already been in use for years. You may need to retrain part of the organization, adjust SOPs, and do some trials before the new processes can be implemented successfully.
Think Long Term
Which is better, investing $10 for 6 months usage or $25 for 5 years of usage? That’s the kind of question you need to ask when investing in new technology for your business. There will always be cheaper options, especially when we’re talking about types of machinery and physical solutions. Cheaper doesn’t always produce the highest ROI in tech.
More expensive solutions can have a longer lifespan, which means you will be investing less in updates, replacements, maintenance, and new solutions. In the long run, your total investment is lower while your return is higher, which means the more expensive solutions are the better options.
Don’t forget to take into account running and maintenance costs. These costs are usually smaller than the initial investment, unless you opt for as-a-Service options, and often neglected, but they can make up for the majority of the usage costs. Failure to take these costs into account could also result in the technology becoming a burden for the business rather than a good investment.
Investing in new technology is a must for businesses to survive in today’s competitive market. The real challenge is identifying the right technologies to invest in – the ones that will yield the highest ROI for the business. By considering the problems to solve, knowing the objectives to achieve, and taking the necessary steps to optimize your technology investment, earning higher ROI on your investments is easier than ever.