The Think-Twice-Buy-Once Approach to Investing in New Tech
Even modern businesses with relatively low overhead need technology products and solutions to make everything run. Creating a purchasing plan can help ensure you keep your waste and expenses low when buying what you need to increase your competitive edge.
Procurement Tactics also points out that, “Covid-19 had an unprecedented impact on supply chains in 2022, with disruptions hitting firms around the world. As a result, managing risk and resilience will continue to be just as important in the upcoming year.”
Ready to take back your purchasing power and maximize your productivity? Here’s how to ensure you get back every dollar you invest.
Step 1: Identify Your Business Needs
Do you know which problem(s) you want to solve? If not, start there. Once you have a clear picture of the needs you’re trying to meet, you can better match them with potential solutions. For example, do you have more employees working and accessing your network remotely? See which cybersecurity tools you can incorporate to protect your company data.
Step 2: Consult Your Stakeholders
Be sure to involve more than just your decision-makers. Your employees, end-users, and IT teams as well as industry thought leaders, all have an important place in helping you choose the right products and services. You may choose to collect feedback with surveys or round table discussions. Remember that getting buy-in ahead of time is critical for smooth implementation and full utilization.
Step 3: Determine How Much You Can Spend
Here’s where the number-crunching begins. There is no sense in getting attached to something that doesn’t fit the budget. Doing the math will also show you where you might be able to move some money around if needed. When running your calculations, be sure to factor indirect costs (like the purchasing price), as well as indirect costs (like subscription or maintenance fees) to help calculate your total cost of ownership (TCO).
Step 4: Gather Your Options
You know what you need. You know what you can afford. Now it’s time to see what options exist. Price will no doubt determine who makes the shortlist, but be sure to weigh other factors. There may be a subscription model where you can pay less depending on the number of users or the capabilities you need. Make sure you also evaluate the communication of the vendor’s team in addition to the reputation of the company.
Step 5: Request a Product Demo
Before you commit, see it in action. Have the sales team schedule a time to demonstrate the features and show you any options to scale the software. That will ensure it can change and grow as your business does. Be sure to ask about free trial options and discount rates for multi-year subscriptions if it isn’t covered in their marketing pitch.
Step 6: Try Out the Software
Even if you loved the demo, you want to test drive it yourself. Let your frontline employees who will be using it day-to-day assess how user-friendly it is – or isn’t. As you’re learning the ropes, take advantage of all built-in training options, webinars, content hubs, and personalized or one-on-one coaching resources on the vendor side, too.
Step 7: Evaluate its Performance
After familiarizing yourself with the product, evaluate how well it’s working. Try to link those to a particular KPI, if possible. Are you getting a return on your investment? Are your employees more productive? Have you successfully removed workflow bottlenecks? Did your customer service or employee satisfaction levels change?
Done right, a strategic purchasing process can reduce unnecessary expenditures and create more profitable workflows. It only takes one strategic planning cycle to get the most out of every dollar you spend, so think twice before committing!