Though investment in new technology is essential for all organisations, it’s important to remember that digital tech isn’t a magic cure-all that’s capable of fixing everything and anything. In the vast majority of cases, investment needs to be targeted at technology that facilitates your progress towards the achievement of specific goals. Things will not go well if you take a scattergun approach to technology acquisition and fail to consider which tools are best suited to your business needs.
One of the key characteristics of organisations that invest successfully in emerging tech is that they have a comprehensive understanding of what they need and how a particular piece of technology meets that need. In this respect, you cannot afford to be vague.
Take a long look at what your business needs are and examine the different ways in which technology can help you improve performance. Investment should only be made if and when you can identify the manner in which a digital tool will help satisfy a particular need or push you toward a specific goal. For instance, if you isolate call routing as a major weakness, you can begin thinking about how IVR and further investment in your telephony system can help you.
Legacy systems pose a real problem for many organisations. Sometimes, the high costs associated with older systems mean that the organisation cannot afford to move on until the system is fully amortized. In other cases, the system has become such an integral part of operations that there are concerns about the risks associated with replacing it. A lot of the time, organisations would rather just stick with what they know. In all these instances, organisations are being held back by their inability to adapt, change, and grow.
Consequently, when searching for new technology, it’s essential that you look for tools that allow for future growth. That means looking for tech that doesn’t commit you to one path for the foreseeable future due to outrageous costs. It means talking with developers to discover how they’re planning for the future and in what ways they’ve opened their product up to innovation. It means finding technology that can be improved upon as the digital industries move forward.
Examining what your competition or contemporaries are doing can provide a useful insight into what they think the future holds. While you’ll by no means want to simply emulate these other organisations, they can make you rethink a technology or alert you to other possibilities you haven’t yet considered.
When it comes to studying the competition, we’re not talking about industrial espionage on an enormous scale. Instead, we’re referring to an extension of your current monitoring practices. The vast majority of businesses and public sector organisations currently carry out some kind of monitoring process, by which they keep an eye on what’s going on around them and to what others in the same industry are doing. This approach can be broadened to include what tech similar organisations are investing in.
It’s a rare thing that a digital technology provider offers a single product and nothing more. The vast majority of software developers have their fingers in a number of pies. This can be advantageous if your business is able to bundle together products for a better deal. Rather than looking for software solutions in multiple locations, you can get everything you need in one place, at a more affordable rate. As an added bonus, you can be confident that the individual tools will be compatible and able to work with one another.
However, just because it comes as part of a bundle, doesn’t mean you should invest in technology that you don’t need. The same rules apply with bundled tech as individual tools and you need to be absolutely sure that your investment satisfies a need before pumping money into a project.
Finally, when looking at new technology it’s always a good idea to compare products from various providers and to ask an expert’s opinion. In many cases, the technology will be complex enough that you’ll require professional help to fully understand its capabilities. Consequently, we recommend contacting a specialist in the field and talking through your options before any investment is made. At Inform, we’re always happy to jump on the phone and discuss possible solutions to customer service problems.
Since we’ve taken a look at the best ways to choose digital technology, we thought it would also be useful to examine how one particular technology fares against our criteria. For this case study, we’ve chosen to look at chatbot services.
A powerful automation technology that provides customer service solutions by replicating human conversation, chatbots are being adopted as an effective means of both cutting costs and improving the customer experience.
They’re a relatively inexpensive tool that fulfils a specific need (24/7/365 customer service and the automation of a large number of customer enquiries), yet they’re also scalable and capable of adapting to future developments. This is particularly important, as the driving force behind chatbots – AI – is evolving at a rapid rate. The cutting-edge fields of machine learning and sentiment analysis will be of particular relevance to the future of chatbot technology.
Chatbots also provide an organisation with quick wins (they typically take just 8-10 weeks to build and implement), whilst also fitting into a long-term omnichannel strategy defined by an emphasis on a shift towards digital customer service channels. This makes them a versatile tool that’s well-suited to most customer service environments.
When choosing new technology for your organisation, it’s absolutely vital that you justify every penny spent. This means thinking about how the tech meets your needs and what objectives it helps you fulfil. It also means considering the future. As digital technology is developing at a faster rate than ever before, you need to be sure that your investment opens doors rather than closes them.