Technology is often considered the silver bullet that will solve every challenge in an organisation. With advances being made everyday, it appears there is nothing technology can’t fix or improve – with outcomes increasing productivity, efficiency and profitability. 

With more than 30,000 products launching every year, the options are vast and often confusing; with enterprise services offered by corporates considered a safe bet, while the rapid innovation by startup ninjas enables brands to be ahead of the curve. 

As the business landscape becomes increasingly competitive, choosing the right software could have a significant impact on your bottom line, morale and more – the wrong choice could damage trust, relationships and your brand. 

After choosing the right technology partners, the process of choosing new software may seem daunting, and costly. But doing nothing carries risk in equal measure – the cost of inaction could be just as expensive as any new software. 

Here’s our guide to getting started with your due diligence before making a decision.

Listen to your team & your customers

Understand the needs of your team and your customers and the hurdles they run into everyday, it will provide a human-centric approach to knowing what problems the tool should ease or solve. By consulting and engaging your people, you’re bringing them on the journey and will get a deeper understanding of the complexities of daily tasks. It could also showcase missed opportunities that potential solutions can advance. Same goes for customers, conducting research into their needs will be key to ensure your team understands the customer journeys and how your prospective partner can support those.

Get a handle on your criteria – before you look at technology

Once you’ve consulted key stakeholders, build the bigger picture. What do you want this software to do for you? Is it trying to solve a productivity problem or do you want to streamline data across multiple functions? Understanding your business pains and needs is key to be able to ensure your potential partner has experience dealing with those. Ask yourself if more software is needed or if a review of all providers needs to take place. Once you have a criteria of what it does or doesn’t need to do, you can refine by priority and start to build an evaluation method. 

Do your homework 

Research is crucial when there are so many off the shelf Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) providers on the market, so it pays to chat with more than just the account manager. Utilise a trusted network, ask for case studies you can connect with, view online forums and bring in the thinking of different people within your organisation for their feedback. Reviews from users in your industry is key and will uncover any major issues against the criteria you have set. In contrast, you may find that you need a bespoke piece of software build to meet your organisational needs

Think about the future 

Sure, this software looks great now but will it scale with your business? Changing platforms every few years is a good way to go out of business, as it will have a huge impact on productivity and your bottom line. Consider tech, productivity and security when making a decision – for example, all three play a role if your workforce will be entirely remote at some point.  

If the global pandemic has taught us anything – it is to be prepared. Most businesses will have a business continuity plan in place and a core fundamental of that is access to tech. Can staff use the app on their phone or laptop? How does this impact data protection and privacy? Remote working isn’t going away and your software should be ready when you are, wherever you are. 

Understand where this technology is going and align it with what you want to achieve in the future – it’s no good implementing a new system (and way of working) if it can’t grow with your business. 

Consider the employee experience

If a large portion of your workforce, for example customer service, is reliant on this tool to maintain and deliver excellent service, you’ll want to know how easy it is to use. The UX ( user experience) is therefore key, is it modern and a tool that the team will love using. Does it plug into your existing tech stack or will it create additional manual work? The feedback from your team is vital during this process – if it adds extra, complex steps and your goal was increasing efficiency, how is this useful? There is no excuse for poor technology these days and CX and UX considerations play a huge role for both customers and employees. With apps at our fingertips, we’re accustomed to easy to use, high performing tools – don’t cut corners where it matters. 

Implementation isn’t the goal 

While you can sit back and relax once the software is implemented and team trained, you can’t take your eye off the ball. The system needs to be supported by strong change management, continuous improvement and learning to ensure it is well adopted to meet operational excellence standards. All technology requires human interaction and interpretation; sure chatbots are great for FAQs, but more complex matters still require a personal touch. The technology is not there to remove that, it is provided to enhance, improve and guide. Data can be compiled for trend reports or analysis. Ensure you revisit your criteria and goals regularly to ensure you’re delivering against the business strategy and getting everything you need from the technology you’ve invested in. If you can complete a job that took three people two days, in under a minute, while delighting your customer; your team has found their superpower. 

The right tech partner will be a key ally throughout this process. By using the expertise and experience available, you will be able to confidently navigate the process of choosing the right technology. If you need a hand and you’re looking for a technology partner to help you conduct technical due diligence, we’d love to help. Find out more about our previous work here.