Refreshing the technology at your organization can be an immense undertaking—evaluating solutions, juggling budget considerations, and trying to consider everyone’s requests. There are ways to improve the process, though.
Dave Hatz, application development manager at AVI Systems, offers this advice to those planning a technology refresh:
Avoid Common Mistakes
One of the most common mistakes technology buyers fall into is to simply replace old solutions for the new versions of the same technology.
“A lot of times a refresh is seen as just swapping out the boxes, not taking the opportunity to reassess everything you’re doing or reassess why you’re doing it,” Hatz said.
Another common mistake is to start with evaluating solutions instead of first determining what you want to achieve with technology. “End users get really caught up in comparing products versus the experience the product delivers,” Hatz added.
Once you know what not to do, be sure to take these three steps:
1. Make a plan
Start with a needs analysis before you begin selecting solutions. Reassess the needs of your organization and your end users before just jumping into the evaluation of technologies.
“Have a real strategy around refreshes,” Hatz advised. “What is utilized and what isn’t utilized based on what you have today? If you can understand what your end users are doing, you can ask yourself what really influences the end user’s behavior?”
Once you know your goals, you can let those drive the analysis of product solutions.
2. Listen to your end users
Learn what your users need. Begin by asking them, but realize that they may not know how to ask for what they need. You may need to present options about their preferences.
Without their input, users may end up not using some solutions, or they may ask why they don’t have certain capabilities.
“If you ask the right questions, you’ll get answers that are meaningful and you can act on,” Hatz said.
3. Choose the right solutions
If you make decisions based solely on cost or duplicating old solutions, the new ones may not meet your business needs. However, if you monitor solutions and how your users interact with them, you can make better decisions about what you can improve for them during a refresh.
AVI Systems offers AVI Insight, a communication technology management tool that can provide data for technology refreshes. It is a multi-platform, multi-vendor, real-time monitoring and reporting system that provides insights that can help justify purchase decisions. With it, you can see what is currently utilized and what isn’t.
“Having data to really justify decisions beyond asking someone what it is, having information right in front of you is really powerful,” Hatz said.
If you find that end users are not taking advantage of certain spaces or technologies, consider these questions:
- Are we supplying the right technology?
- Is it too complex to operate?
- Are the existing components functioning properly?
Consider the Bottom Line
When planning the refresh of a space, you want to ensure your organization is receiving the greatest return possible for their technology investment. One of the most important steps is to determine how you will measure positive outcomes.
“It’s really the same discussion that we look at when we’re talking about return on investment. Are we getting a return? Are people using it? If they’re not using it, is it because it’s too complex? Is it because it’s unreliable? Is it because it’s the wrong complemented technology?” Hatz continued. “It’s a great opportunity to reflect on those things and to determine what can we invest in that our users will use more than they do today.”