Do You Have a Technology Road Map?

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Marty Hooper, Account Manager Common Sense Solutions

What’s your technology plan for the future? Do you have one? Should you have one?

In today’s fast-paced world it can be challenging to take the time to pause, take a breath, and see where your business is headed. It’s equally as challenging to understand how current technology, and any future technology, can help you get where you want to be in 5 years, 10 years or 20 years.

That’s especially true for companies in the construction industry. From estimating to bidding to managing jobs and projects, it’s sometimes all you can handle just to keep up. It’s easy to forget about long-term planning when all hands are on deck just to manage the current workflow. Planning for technology, when you don’t even know what might be available, can be a daunting task. Even planning with current technology is difficult since there is so much out there that may or may not be of value to your company.

Should you have a technology road map? The answer is definitely yes! Technology helps companies be more efficient, more productive and more profitable. Applying the proper technology for your business is critical to being competitive, and ultimately successful. The right plan should augment and support your overall business plan, thereby helping you attain your revenue goals.

So, where to start? The good news is, just committing to creating a plan, and starting on that plan, is the biggest and most important step. You are making a commitment to the process and dedicating resources to create your individual road map.

The next step is to put the right people in place. This is probably the most crucial step, since those people are going to lay out the final road map and help implement it. The biggest mistake I see is companies that draft the most technical person in their employ to find the technology that might serve them. Too often, those folks don’t have the breadth of knowledge and experience to find technologies that they are not familiar with. The most successful companies may leverage internal staff, but also look to outside consultants to assist in the planning phase. Find a consultant or managed service provider that knows your business and industry but is also well versed in current and up and coming technology.

The other good news is that you don’t need to worry about finding the latest and greatest new technology. Other than cutting-edge high-tech companies, most companies don’t need and won’t want untested software and devices. The key to finding the right fit for you is to task your team with finding practical and proven technology that has been successfully employed in similar industries. It’s not uncommon to see companies that have adopted the latest and greatest software, only to find out it doesn’t really fit in their organization or current workflow. They end up abandoning it, or underutilizing it, and must start a new search for something that really fits.

After the road map is developed, the next step is to get everyone on board. Change is always a challenge for a lot of folks. Some may resist overtly, while others seemingly accept the new direction but may not be fully invested enough to make it work the way you had intended. It’s important to help everyone in your organization understand the importance of the changes that are happening and get their full cooperation during implementation. Without a full commitment from both internal staff and field personnel, your road map will never realize its full potential. That’s why a phased approach may be best for your organization. Small steps are easier to accept and implement.

A technology road map can, and should be, a road map to success. The key is to plan carefully but start planning now.

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