Spring is often a time when thoughts turn to new beginnings - in life and in business.
In the past 12 months, businesses across all sectors have been forced to re-evaluate how they operate, pivot where necessary, and adapt to changing consumer needs and wants.
This has brought with it an acceleration in digitalization and the rapid adoption of technology. With society beginning to reopen, now is the time for savvy business leaders to double down on this trend in order to maximize the potential and opportunities presented by new beginnings.
It’s become increasingly clear that employees expect tech-driven solutions in the workplace. For too long we’ve seen organizations under-deliver on tech with home technology exceeding the quality of technology in the workplace.
Over half of UK decision-makers (52%), polled by Capterra in summer 2020, said software purchases they make will be critical to their survival during and after the pandemic, with price and ease of use determining where investments should be made.
Although it may feel counterintuitive to invest in new technologies when the purse strings are tight, bringing in solutions that improve efficiencies makes good business sense.
But, with so many options out there, what questions should you ask when deciding whether to invest in technology for your workplace?
Here’s where to start:
1. Why do you need it?
It’s an obvious first question but one that’s often overlooked. Why do you need a new piece of technology or software solution? Typically, it’s because time, money, and energy are being lost due to labor-intensive processes. Map out where time and money are being lost, then identify the types of solutions that can solve these problems. For example, if your managers are losing hours and hours of time each week managing schedules, the business case for automated scheduling or workforce management solution becomes a strong one.
2. Is it cost-effective & will it give you a strong ROI?
Since time began we’ve used advances in technology to do things quicker, better, and more effectively. Fundamentally, this is what technology in the workplace should enable you and your employees to do. It has to be cost-effective, used correctly, and it needs to quickly start delivering a return on your investment - otherwise, it’s just technology for the sake of it.
3. Do you have employee buy-in?
Forcing a solution on employees who don’t want it or who don’t understand the purpose of it is always going to be an uphill battle. Get employee buy-in from the start by communicating effectively with your employees and showing them how the technology will improve their work lives.
4. Is it simple to use?
The best workplace tech solutions are, more often than not, the most intuitive ones. Your employees don’t need an instruction manual to use their favorite apps and the same should be true of workplace technology. It should be simple and enjoyable to use.
5. Are updates included?
A major problem tech has faced in the past is the constant need for updates and upgrades. Cloud-based technology changed this for good but some software providers are stuck in the trap of providing expensive and clunky solutions where every update comes with a fee. Make sure regular updates are included so the solution you choose grows with you and your business.
6. How important is research and development to the vendor?
Before committing to a vendor, find out how important research and development are to them. Ask them what their roadmap is, what features they are developing and where they are going as a company. You want to align yourself with a vendor who you can treat like a partner now, and in the future.
7. Are there positive reviews?
The success of technology in the workplace relies on how well it’s used by your employees. Look at the reviews of the software in the app stores and on review sites to see how easy it is for staff to use.
8. Is it scalable?
If you’re ambitious and want to grow, you need to find a software provider with the ambition to match your own and a product offering that can grow with you.
9. How good is the support?
Find out the level of support you’ll receive from the provider – both during the implementation phase and once you’re fully operational.
10. Will it integrate with other systems?
Increasingly, IT architecture is reliant on different systems integrating with each other in a seamless way. For example, the best WFM software will integrate with payroll providers, HR solutions, and forecasting/business intelligence solutions.
Download our report Benefit or Burden? How Technology Is Inspiring Positive Change to find out more about the benefits of digitalization for the deskless workforce.