When planning a technology upgrade in your business, it is important to be mindful of the hidden costs that can be associated with such an investment. We’ve been working with clients in a wide variety of industries since 2006 and have helped many of them through complex procurement processes. These are some of the common issues we help troubleshoot, which you should be aware of during your own procurement.
Consideration #1: Total Cost of Ownership
In addition to the initial costs of buying and setting up new hardware and software, it is likely that you will have to pay for service agreements and warranties, have IT staff dedicated to the ongoing maintenance of your systems, and renew contracts on a regular basis. Knowing what costs the technology upgrade will entail one year to five years after its installation is key to budgeting effectively and getting a true cost of the implementation.
Consideration #2: Product Life Cycle
Nothing lasts forever, and for this reason it is crucial that you know the life cycle of the products you buy when making a technology upgrade. For hardware, this means knowing how long each part is expected to remain functional: sometimes, products that seem more expensive up-front will pay for themselves with longer lives, whereas cheaper products might have to be replaced more often. In terms of software, knowing how often the manufacturer comes out with new versions, and for how long they support older versions of their product, will help you make a more informed choice about what options to pursue.
Consideration #3: Facilitating Buy-In
Although management and senior leadership can find it easy to see the value in a technology upgrade, this excitement doesn’t always filter down to the front-line employees who will have to make changes to the way they work. Low buy-in is one of the main failure points of many technology upgrades, meaning that you should seek employee feedback both on the technology you invest in and how it is implemented. Particularly during complex investments, you should consider inviting employees to be part of the strategic process so that their voice is heard, and their needs are reflected in the end solution. These employees can then be leveraged as thought leaders within the organization to help drive engagement with their peers during the roll-out phase.
Consideration #4: Integrations and Interoperability
Any new technology upgrade you are considering – especially software – must be evaluated according to how well it integrates with other technology you already use. If your employees are able to transfer information seamlessly between different solutions, this will save them time and make them more productive. Interoperability is also a major consideration when choosing what type of smartphones to equip your employees with, as the apps, features, and security measures included with each one may vary significantly and will impact how you do business. If a technology upgrade you are considering requires extensive customization or a bolt-on solution in order to work with what you already have, this might be a red flag that you need to consider a different product.
Consideration #5: Maintenance & Administration
When you buy a new piece of hardware for your business, that means someone is going to have to know how it works and how to troubleshoot it if something goes wrong. The same is true for software, as every solution will require a system administrator knowledgeable about your use cases, basic maintenance, common user questions, and forthcoming updates that will impact software use. These represent hidden, but important, costs, and it is important to define who will be responsible for technology operation so you can budget their time accordingly.
Working with Kalmer Solutions
Kalmer Solutions provides managed IT services for the modern workforce. Based in Jonesboro, Arkansas, we support our clients with technology upgrades, cloud-based computing, IT support, cybersecurity, the fulfillment of compliance requirements, and more. Our goal is to become your trusted IT partner and add long-term strategic value. Contact us today to learn more about how working with us can transform your business.