We love new technology! It smooths out the rough edges of our lives and our work, giving us new pathways to communicate, accomplish our goals and grow our businesses. However, sometimes we in the title industry like to chase the shiny, new technology—even if it doesn’t really address a business need.
As you are considering the wisdom of adopting the latest innovation to address a specific business need, it might also be an opportune time to do a little analysis around your legacy systems to see what is still effective in managing and growing your business and what might actually be holding you back or slowing you down.
We like to think of it as the refrigerator approach. Before rushing off to the store to collect the 10 ingredients you need for the fabulous dinner you are about to prepare, check to see what you may have on hand already that can be easily integrated into your menu. Then head off to the store to fill in the blanks.
So, before you launch into the new technology, conduct a quick inventory of all the technology you are plugged into and meet with relevant staff to get their feedback on anything they are currently using. This process will help you have a clearer picture of where there are weaknesses in your current systems so that you have a better foundation for evaluating the new technology’s probable impact.
Now that you have the big picture, it’s time to do an internal analysis on the innovation you want to introduce. Working with your IT staff and the potential users, answer the following questions:
- How will the new technology fit into the current system?
- What problem will it solve for my business?
- How will it improve customer service or communication?
- Will current processes and workflows be substantially altered by the new technology?
- Who on staff will be impacted, especially during the implementation period?
- When might implementation take place?
- What is the likely return-on-investment (ROI) if the new technology is adopted?
Innovative technology can save money, create a more efficient workflow, and improve your relationship with your customers – all noble business goals. But it is vital that you include the stakeholders in your company in these early discussions.
While you may have an overarching vision for how it may help your business, your end users will have the best insight into the day-to-day efficiencies it may offer as well as the challenges. And your front-line workers can really give you the best insight into the customer service and customer relationship benefits.
FINAL TIP: Assign someone who you trust to remain objective to record all input during these sessions. We all get a little starry eyed when we are dreaming up ways to improve our business. As we are listening to input from the staff, we sometimes have a voice in our head that is actively overriding or dismissing objections or concerns because we are so focused on the end game. Getting these issues down on paper is imperative so that when you do decide to move forward, your game plan includes ways to address, minimize or resolve these potential issues.