When taking new technology into your business, making the investment a successful one isn’t just down to the quality of the tool that you choose.

Obviously finding the best-of-breed software, which offers the right features, integration and security for your business is essential. But what use are those assets if you don’t have a workforce armed in making the most of the tool they’ve been given? Across many different contexts training, support and product roadmaps are seen as an afterthought or ‘add-on’ to a purchase. But to really make the most of any investment you need to think about the value of these services before making a commitment.

A well-designed product should always be intuitive to use. But when you’re in a fast-paced and deadline-driven work environment, you probably don’t have the luxury of letting your staff ‘play’ with a new tool until it’s time for them to go live and start using it for business-critical processes.

Training is almost always essential. Not because you’ve purchased an incredibly complex solution, but to make the most of your workforce’s valuable time. Whether it’s delivered face-to-face in a classroom style learning environment, or virtually so they can access resources in a more flexible manner, training will give your colleagues a valuable headstart with their new kit.

It removes fear of the unknown and ensures that when it is time to go live and switch off any old solutions (or banish old working practices), everyone is skilled with the same understanding at the start.

Even with great training, embedding a new way of working into your business will always raise questions.

Some may be straightforward and answered by the more confident users in your practice, others may require some experience and help. This is where customer support becomes invaluable. Find out how well regarded your chosen technology provider’s support teams are, as they may potentially be a lifeline in the early days.

Customer support exists to answer basic training queries, identify if there are any technical impediments preventing the smooth running of your solution and if so, taking the lead in helping you to resolve those issues. A support team needs to be easy and affordable to access, at a time and in a manner that is quick and convenient for your users. Online FAQs, callbacks, live chat, local rate or free phone telephone numbers are just some of the ways that you might prefer to access them.

Your business is a changing and evolving beast – and so is your technology.

The way your teams work, the expectations of your clients and what you need your solution to deliver need to work together. A good technology provider will need customer feedback to help guide the direction and future of its solution.

Encourage your provider to share its roadmap at the outset and find out how often they update and share it with customers – and how customers get their requirements onto the wishlist. For most companies, customer requests guide the prioritisation of what goes on the product roadmap. When this process runs smoothly, there’s a symbiosis between the evolution of your business needs and the technology that you use.
This trio of post-purchase assets – training, support and development – will help make sure that your initial outlay becomes a sound long term decision and minimise any fear of disruption. Make life easier for you and your teams by making sure that the shiny new toy you’ve invested in delivers exactly what everyone expects of it.

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