Check Yourself Before You Buy Exciting Tech You Don’t Really Need

Not every technology is right for your business.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Everybody wants the new shiny thing. But in the world of business, the next hot piece of tech or game-shaking idea may not be what’s best for your company. While some projects can benefit nearly every company, the majority will only aid those who put the legwork into making them truly fit your organizational needs.

Related: How Investing in AI is About Investing in People, Not Just Technology

What often makes the difference between a failing company and a growing one is its management — and that means you. That’s not to say that running a successful business means starving yourself of innovative technologies. It’s just crucial that you do your homework, beta test, listen to what your peers are saying, and most importantly, check your intentions for wanting to implement the product or idea. If the answer is that your eyes are bigger than your company’s stomach (and needs), move on. Not every shiny new thing is right for your business, and jumping into something you’re unprepared for is a major risk that rarely pays off.

However, there is technology that has proven itself to be useful to most companies — big and burgeoning. Here are some worth considering.

Head in the clouds.

Data is everything, and there is more of it than ever. We are literally saturating our lives with data. Therefore, I’d venture that every business is using some sort of cloud computing. Whether it’s a small business owner who’s storing information on a free system or a larger company using a more robust system like Salesforce, everyone’s on a cloud.

If you’ve got any information that needs storing and accessing, you’ll want to keep it safe. Do your research, and pick the right service for you. Choosing the wrong one can be catastrophic — especially if you don’t want your company to appear incompetent or sloppy to your clients when what you need isn’t at your fingertips.

Bring your own device.

Freelancers now make up 35 percent of the workforce. In an effort to stay lean, many companies enroll a “bring your own device” (BYOD) system that allows remote, contract and full-time employees to use their personal devices for work purposes. But what businesses save on buying company devices for their staff, they risk in data breaches.

Enter mobile device management, or MDM. MDM is typically a security software used by large companies to secure the data of all devices used by the business — whether company-issued or staff-owned. Through on-premise or cloud-based methods, MDM software monitors and manages devices that include smartphones, tablet computers, laptops and desktop computers to secure emails, confidential documents and other assets owned by corporations.

Related: 3 Apps to Help You Amplify Your Business and Your Life

Part of the reason MDM is one of the most popular technological trends in 2018 is that until recently, the costs for the services were prohibitive for small and medium-sized businesses. Now, with more affordable options for smaller companies, MDM is on the verge of becoming a staple for any business that stores data or uses computers, tablets, and smartphones — which is to say, every business.

Artificial productivity?

Deep learning is based on the idea that machines can learn, adapt and execute in intelligent ways. But is A.I. good for your company?

For businesses like finance or real estate, using machine learning to track trends and identify patterns can be more accurate than someone just crunching numbers. But if you’re a small business owner who owns a diner, a robot cashier may not be as appropriate. On the other hand, a POS (point of sale) system may do the trick for a lot less than a cyborg cashier.

Build relationships.

Don’t pack your bags and prepare for the coming of the machines just yet. There is still a lot artificial intelligence can’t do. Coming up with big ideas is one, and building authentic relationships with people is another.

We’re not just talking about activating sales or getting to know your clients’ need. Don’t forget the people who execute your mission statement. The most important people you should impress aren’t necessarily your clients. Your employees are the ones who take your big ideas and run with them. So, before you run out and buy a machine to fix whatever productivity and sales problems you’re having, do some deep learning of your own. Sometimes, the problems may exist within.

Related: 4 Industries That Are Being Disrupted by AI

Technology won’t fix what’s wrong.

In other words, if you want to scale or transform a failing company, technology can’t fix internal problems. No cloud-based system, machine or gadget can fix bad management, bad hires and bad morale. Covering up failing infrastructure with pretty tech won’t heal what’s underneath. In fact, most sick companies can be fixed with some simple non-tech advances like taking accountability, making time to listen to your employees, offering them ways they can grow within the company and simply caring about who’s working for you in general.

Moral of this story? Know your company, inside and out. Before you try to expand or repair a failing business, know what you’re trying to do, and ask yourself what your intentions are for considering using a specific tech in your company. You may want to keep up, but you don’t want to fall down getting there.

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