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By Shanice Jones | July 2022
These days, firms are in a constant digital arms race to acquire and upgrade to the most important technology. Apps, software platforms, and other key elements of tech stacks can make or break a firm’s efforts to outperform its competition.
Therefore, all business owners and executives need to know what the best firms are doing with their technology take-ups. Let’s break down what to consider when you’re thinking of an upgrade and how to avoid catastrophe in the process.
Naturally, you do need to upgrade… and regularly at that! Companies, regardless of industry, need to have the best tech so they can:
Market their products and services more effectively to their customers. For example, tech-like marketing apps or CRM software can make it much easier to maintain long-term relationships with your target customers.
Operate top-tier websites and other digital platforms. No one wants their website to crash because they get a sudden influx of traffic after a successful commercial, right?
Provide phenomenal products for their clients and customers. This element is especially important for software developers or B2B companies. When you develop tech, your company needs to have the best tech tools in its repertoire to succeed where your competitors fail.
Lots of executives and company owners constantly strive to upgrade their tech stacks. They bring in new apps, install new software platforms, and require their employees to learn new tools all the time.
However, introducing new tech or upgrading without thinking things through is a recipe for disaster. When you upgrade the wrong tech or introduce new tech to your employees without warning them, you:
Make it more likely that your employees will struggle with technology take-up
Run the risk of irritating your workers
Could bring integration and data sharing problems onto your company, and more
So, let’s break down what the best firms do when they take up new technology. You can copy these strategies when making upgrades or adopting new software solutions.
For starters, you should always know what any new tech or upgrade is meant to achieve for your company. Don’t upgrade tech or bring a new app into the fold for no reason at all. New tech should do at least one of the following things:
Increase the operational capabilities for your company
Make work easier and more productive for your workers
Improve disaster recovery and resilience
Allow you to provide new benefits or services for your clients/customers
Streamline your workflow or manufacturing processes
Allow for increased integration and data sharing
For example, maybe you want to bring in a new app that lets you calculate retained earnings more accurately. This provides a concrete benefit that your workers will immediately see.
In other words, new tech should be a flat positive for your company, not something you do just because everyone else is doing it. If existing tech already serves its purpose, there’s no need to upgrade it and add more man-hours to your workflow. Don’t be distracted by flashy new tech that doesn’t provide practical benefits for your enterprise!
Next, consider whether an upgrade or new app can successfully integrate into your existing software solutions and tech stack. Integration is a massive problem in this day and age as many companies struggle to successfully integrate all of their software or apps with one another.
Lack of integration can lead to data sharing problems, make it hard for employees to shift from system to system, and even cause issues for your clients or customers.
On the flip side, if you take the time to ensure new tech integrates with your old or current apps, you’ll:
Make it easier for your employees to adapt to the new tech
Ensure that all of your tech stacks work well together
Make upgrading and iterating on your tech stack even easier in the future
Some technologies and apps are more focused on integration than others. That’s why you should prioritize these tech solutions over ones designed for isolated performance (i.e., they don’t integrate or work well with other apps).
Unfortunately, many mandatory tech upgrades or software adjustments are dictated from the top-down. Company executives or technology officers announce a new change without consulting the workforce about their needs.
This causes two major problems:
Workers can lose faith in company leadership. They don’t feel heard and that their opinion matters.
It could lead to problems with iteration and practical application. Many executives don’t know everything that goes into ensuring integration with all the myriad apps in a tech stack. So when they mandate something from above without getting the feedback of their employees, they could make things worse for the company, not better.
However, you can avoid these potential problems by doing the opposite: poll your team or make sure that any new tech upgrade has the support of the people who will be using it the most.
This approach has two benefits:
Your team members will feel heard and listened to. This will, in turn, help make them feel more loyal to your company and may improve workplace morale.
Your team members will be able to tell you whether tech will work right off the bat. For example, if you want to bring a new app into the fold, your team members who use related apps will tell you whether the potential upgrade will integrate with existing tools. It will prevent integration problems from plaguing you from day one.
Bottom line: make sure that tech upgrades or new apps are only brought in with the support of your team (or at least the people who will use the new tech most frequently).
Lastly, you may utilize psychological safety nets for testing out new apps. These are things like:
Staff training seminars for those who’ll use the new tech
Polling opportunities and more
Safety nets give your workforce time to get used to a new app and test its capabilities before it is adopted throughout your enterprise.
All in all, when they make tech upgrades or introduce new apps, the best firms:
Only upgrade when the new tech will solve a specific problem or provide a specific benefit
Ensure that new tech will integrate with existing tools
Ensure that new tech is implemented with the support of their teams
Use tech adoption safety nets, so new apps are tested properly before full adoption
By practicing each of these strategies, you’ll be well on your way to maintaining an excellent tech stack, even as you routinely upgrade it and implement new apps and tech solutions.