In today’s economy every company has to keep up with relevant technology to stay competitive, and small businesses are no exception. But unlike behemoth enterprises with tens, or even hundreds, of IT professionals at their disposal you might have just one, two, or none.
So now that you’ve purchased the solution that promises to support your growth in some way, how do you actually start using it? If your vendor isn’t doing the installation for you, some basic steps can help make the path to integrating your technology much clearer.
Decide Who is Responsible
Figure out who will work on the project, and what everyone’s specific responsibilities are. If it’s just you, do the same for yourself. Meet with your team to brainstorm what tasks need to be done and how they can be best divided up. This gives them the opportunity to give input you might not have thought of while increasing their engagement in the project and accountability for the final result.
Schedule Tasks on a Calendar
Put all the tasks into a task management system with a communal calendar so everyone can see exactly what is due on which dates. Without a combined calendar, employees will keep track of only their own tasks and miss out on opportunities to collaborate and coordinate with other members, which could lead to inefficiencies like covering the same ground twice or overlooking an important step. This also significantly increases accountability for the individual parts of the project.
Inform Your Staff and Plan for Training
Your amazing new technology that will increase efficiency, decrease costs, or otherwise transform your company won’t do what it promises if the people in your organization are resistant to it. As soon as you know that the project is a go, tell your employees what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how this new tech will benefit them to encourage their support and cooperation. If certain devices like fax machines, servers, or internet will be down, make it clear in advance so they can plan work around the outages. When the project is complete, it’ll be time to set aside some time and a place for training your people. Create documentation to keep track of who has received the training and when. Also, recording the training on video and storing it on your company’s intranet would also help onboard future staff more quickly. Don’t skimp on the training step! It’s crucial for having a successful roll out.
Identify and plan for risks
No technology is perfect, so throughout your implementation, plan for any risks you come across with the technology. Figure out now how you will compensate for gaps in security. And how will you keep operations going if you lose power or connection to the internet? What will happen in the event of a cyber attack? Planning for the worst at this stage will pay off later if things go awry.
Celebrate Small Wins
Tough though it might be, strive to set an example of patience during the implementation to your team. And as you acknowledge when major milestones are met in the project, try applying some of that enthusiasm to smaller goals that are met along the way. This will help keep team morale up, especially in the beginning when the project might seem overwhelming.
No IT implementation goes perfectly smooth. But setting up some measures to organize the project, increase accountability, and mitigate risks, and document how it went will make the process much easier so that you can start reaping the benefits of the latest tech as quickly as possible.