Five Tips to Choose the Right Technology for your Digital Transformation
Five Tips to Choose the Right Technology for your Digital Transformation
If you have successfully avoided the Four Biggest Digital Transformation Challenges and followed the Five Steps to Digital Transformation , finding the right technology is relatively simple. As you have a clear definition of your business goals and measurable outcomes, you can evaluate each technology in the light of the business benefits it will deliver.
This article shares five tips to increase your chances of choosing the most suitable solution for your digital transformation.
1. Build a Shortlist
It is easy to find technologies. A quick search on the internet will reveal dozen of vendors. More specialized websites also list software packages per category, with feature comparisons, average prices, and sometimes customer testimony. Keep in mind that vendors often maintain the information on these comparison websites themselves.
Another method would be to ask your competitors and partners what technology they use. It can help you to establish a list of potential solutions.
When you get references from other companies, make sure to explain what business goal you want to achieve or which problem you want to eliminate. You may be surprised to discover that users are sometimes more enthusiastic than the vendor’s sales.
Listen patiently and take note of the benefits they get from the solution. Some may match your needs, while others may not be relevant to what you are looking for. But it is always better to get recommendations from users than from the solution provider itself. Don’t forget to ask for the solution’s shortcomings and how much the vendor oversold their digital solution’s capabilities. Above and beyond features, concentrate your discovery on use cases, business benefits, challenges in user adoption.
Establish a shortlist based on the feedback from actual users of the solutions instead of looking at biased marketing material.
2. Look for your Unique Value Proposition
Keep in mind that the value you seek should be as unique to your business as possible and not the generic value that a piece of technology provides to all the companies of a given industry. Using a popular software because it is popular and all your competitors use it, is not a good rationale for choice. All your selection criteria should look for benefits:
- Is it easy to find talents specialized in this technology?
- Does it have a large install base that finances a promising roadmap?
- Is it powerful and feature-rich?
When you create your selection criteria, separate your functional requirements into at least two levels:
- Generic functions that everybody in your industry needs,
- Differentiating processes that will give you a definite edge against the competition.
You want the solution you choose to have all of the features from the first level. If they have some level two features, you will have to determine if you want to use the these.
When you select a standard software package, any function you use is also available to your competitors. So going only with generic features mean won’t give you a competitive advantage.
Create selection criteria that derive from your unique business case, not only your industry requirements.
3. Find the Feature Balance
Being feature-rich is not necessary the proper criteria either. An enterprise application must have the right balance of features, so you’ll use a large percentage of the modules. Using very few functions of a piece of software does not deliver optimal value because you are financing the R&D of the entire solution. Using one hundred percent of the features is also not a good sign. It tends to indicate that you have outgrown the technology and will need to purchase a more powerful one soon.
Look at the functional coverage to find the right balance between your current needs, the solution’s coverage, and future opportunities.
4. Check Integration Capabilities
A digital solution’s power comes to light when data is generated and exchanged as fast and freely as possible inside an organization. Even if you are choosing the first piece of software for your company, there will come a time when you will have to integrate with other systems.
Modes of integration
There are several ways of integrating system:
- API: Most modern applications have API integration capabilities. It is the best option as it allows real-time integration between pieces of software in a standardized way.
- Other solutions: older systems may only be able de perform file exchange, database integration, or proprietary protocols. These limit the speed of data flowing through your organization.
If you are not sure about the integration capabilities of the solution you have selected/are selecting, ask yourself these questions:
- Are all the critical business functions accessible via APIs?
- Are there already connectors developed to integrate with other business applications?
- Are the APIs documented well enough to allow for custom developments?
You may need to buy a few days of consulting to have a professional integrator to help you review these elements. You may also speak to an existing user who tried to build customized integration. We can help you with this service: click here to contact us .
Check each solution for a robust set of APIs and, ideally, a few existing connectors with major enterprise applications you may need in the future.
5. Build a Demonstration
Depending on the complexity of the processes you consider in your digitalization project, building a simple demonstration of the solution may help. If it is a Saas solution, a free account may be enough to explore a simple use case in a few hours. It can teach you a lot about the complexity of using the system in the future. If you need help from a consultant to build the demonstration, define how extensive it should be. In all cases, assemble it so that you can evaluate the solution from a user point of view:
- How easy is it to find your way in the user interface?
- Does the language make sense?
- What are the blocking points?
- What are the structural elements of the solution that you can’t change?
If the vendors don’t let you play with the solution, you can take it as a bad sign. It may mean that it is too difficult to put together a demonstration. They could be worried about the amount of support required to do simple things with the solution. If there is resistance to let you experiment with the solution, an open discussion about the reasons will teach you a lot about the vendor.
A demonstration, built with an expert, can come a long way into understanding what a solution can achieve.
When everything fails
- building a shortlist of solutions, based on a mix of referrals and research,
- listing the selection criteria, separating the high-value processes,
- evaluating the default features,
- validating the integration capabilities,
- experimenting with the solution,
no existing solution may fit your requirements. In that case, you may be looking at customized developments. Check out our development services .
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