To say that the ever-changing pace of technology is rapid would be an understatement. Most technology solutions today are cloud-based, which means they are updated with feature enhancements as they become available as opposed to users needing to wait for that major release or update to occur quarterly, or even worse, annually for some more antiquated systems. And although we perceive the ability to get the newest features instantly as a benefit, it can also introduce vulnerabilities into the workflow. For anyone who downloaded iOS ‘s latest operating system update right out of the gate, you may know the problem all too well, and quickly witnessed a follow-up update to fix the glitches that accompanied the original. Such operating system updates can create a snowball effect amongst app developers who in turn may need to update their product based on the newest iOS update or perhaps see an opportunity to expand their functionality based on the latest advancements.
Although the chain reaction caused by the updates is expected and might even be considered a hiccup, the real mayhem comes to fruition when tech companies deliver a short-sited vision; not fully understanding how their solution and its functionality fits amongst the entire workflow at-hand. This creates a domino effect of workflow disruption - and not ‘disruption’ in a good way!
Partnering with technology companies that possess a vision for the future, a willingness to work with others who are playing in the same sand box, and deliver a valuable return on investment is vital.
Here are 5 keys to ensuring you are working with a technology partner whose solution has your best interest (and bottom line) in mind.
Integration. Integration should not be an afterthought, but rather a key component and driver of the ongoing product road map. Solutions that do not extend seamless connectivity to other systems immediately digress the efficiency of an entire workflow. Cloud-based systems using API integrations have become the new standard for interoperability. Deploying solutions with such traits are now considered a must-have.
Training. Training is mission-critical to maximizing one’s technology investment. Sure, there is something to be said for easy-to-use and intuitive interfaces, but wouldn’t it be great to have a profound understanding of the solution’s capabilities at its core? Product development teams spend an incredulous amount of dollars and hours researching features, custom workflows, and the ability to extend both in ways that benefit the user now and in the future. Ensuring your company is using such solutions to their fullest potential is key to successful optimization.
Vision. Yes, technology vendors should be building for today, but more importantly, and in an effort to not deliver short-sited solutions, they need to know what the future holds, where the industry is going, and what the next great technology will be that will take workflows to the next level. Technology partners need to be focused on building for the future. If you build it, they will come.
Expertise. Relying on a technology partner that possesses market domain expertise can mean the difference between a good partner and a great partner. Often times, the expertise is what fuels the vision for the future, as it means they have a greater understanding of their users’ goals and objectives at-hand and where the opportunities and challenges lie. They can bring a higher value to the partnership by contributing to the holistic strategy. Every market and company within it are different, so knowing that a one-size-fits-all approach is no longer the status quo, is important. Every company should be working with technology partners who get their business and know the nuances of what makes them unique so that they can deliver a true competitive advantage.
Customization. Customization used to be synonymous with dollar signs, but that has changed and customization is now the new norm. Just think about content in that same vein: We all used to gather together in the household to watch Thursday night prime time television and the next day you could most likely talk about that content with anyone, because chances were good that they had seen it too. Content has exploded into a new level of customization. Content is viewed on individual devices across a multitude of platforms. Once content is absorbed by an individual, the platform makes recommendations for similar pieces of content for you to watch. Chances are that even one family member in the same household is tuned into their own customized programming content – from the toddlers’ cartoons, to the teenagers’ trends, to the adults’ drama series - they are all watching something different on varying devices. So just like our content has become customizable, so too must our technology. Each company has their own nuances and ways to doing business and there is an expectation that the solution managing it must conform.
In summary, building workflows that are comprised of many systems working together is not something where a one-time build, test, and execute process can be applied. The truth is that the workflow will continually be fluid with ongoing updates and customizations, therefore requiring technology partners that can deliver the necessary agility to advance workflows for the future whether that is today, tomorrow, or next year.