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Three tips for introducing new technology

By Stephen Canning, CEO of JCurve

Photo 25-12-2013 17 26 12 (square)[1]_opt

Stephen Canning

Technology has been one of the biggest game changers for retailers in the past decade, impacting nearly every element of the value chain from sales, POS, ordering, warehousing, distribution and marketing.

Whether it is technology that helps you to increase sales online or transforms how you manage your business, making the decision to invest in new technology is a significant decision for any retailer. The biggest considerations of usability, impact on the business, cost and ease of implementation need to be weighed to determine if the business is ready for the investment.

Here are three things you should think about before introducing new technology.

  1. Have an implementation plan

Implementation is a critical element to the success of your new technology as it will no doubt change the way operations and processes are carried out. This is why it is crucial to have a plan for how the technology will be introduced and rolled out.

In addition, don’t underestimate commitment you will need when implementing the new technology. A lack of resources can result in the implementation process dragging out, inevitably costing more money and time.

Each step of the implementation process needs to be planned in a road map with realistic timeframes and requirements so that each step leads to a successful implementation.

  1. How will you engage employees?

A common area that can be challenging when implementing new technology is managing resistance from already time poor workers who will have to learn the new systems and processes that come with new technology. One of the biggest obstacles you’re likely to face is the status quo and employees being resistant to change.

Communication, education and ongoing training is vital to ensuring employees are engaged and supportive of new technology.

  1. Get your data in order

Before you introduce your new technology, take some time to get your data ready for migration, particularly if the new technology is business management, accounting or inventory management software. It is certainly worth the investment to spend time cleaning up data you will be importing into new systems, including financials, customer details, vendor information and product data. The better your data is, the sooner you’ll have your business up and running and getting the full benefit of your new technology.

Successful technology implementation checklist:

  1. Understand the business problems you are looking to solve.
  2. Focus on the key areas that are the most important to address first, instead of trying to do everything at once.
  3. Get key stakeholders on board early.
  4. Appoint a project manager and ensure there is a clear project plan in place that defines what needs to be done, by who and by when.
  5. Have a training plan in place for key users of the new system.
  6. Communicate, communicate, communicate – what problems are you solving, what is the plan and how is the progress going?

In order to get a return on investment from your new technology, it is important to understand that the more areas of the business the new technology impacts, more consideration should be given to effectively managing the change. This is why it is critical to plan your implementation so you can modernise your business faster and start reaping the rewards your new technology brings. Choosing the right technology vendor for your needs will assist you on this path.

About JCurve: JCurve’s award winning cloud-based business management software helps to empower growth in wholesale distributors and retailers by transforming the way they manage their businesses. While providing real-time data and KPIs for total visibility, it also allows businesses to streamline and automate operations across financials and payroll, inventory and order management, CRM, eCommerce and more. JCurve is the Australian and New Zealand, 5 star awarded small business partner of NetSuite, the global leader in cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. JCurve Solutions Pty Ltd is listed on the ASX (JCS). www.jcurve.com.au.

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