Welcome to the Summer edition of Powerline.

Over the past few months we have had the privilege of presenting to businesses across Australia in association with Reckon Limited, helping them understand and improve their businesses.  Although these presentations were focused on professional services firms, the core tenets of what we presented are relevant to almost all small to medium businesses. 

The focus of these presentations was the role of technology in business and how to leverage technology to improve the efficiency of day-to-day tasks, facilitate accurate and reliable data collection, and how to use this data to analyse the products and services you offer to the market.

As advisers, we see new tools come through daily that all exclaim various virtues.  It is easy to get overwhelmed by how many tools are available, let alone which one(s) to choose to trial and implement.  Technology plays a key role in what Power Tynan does, and we are always looking at key technologies that may improve and add value to our business and to yours.

So how do you pick, test and implement a key technological improvement for your business?

Business Strategy - Whenever you talk about technology it is no different than buying stock, plant or any other investment.  The discussion should always be framed by what your business goals are, and how the technology is going to realise those goals.  If you don’t frame the investment in technology in accordance with your business goals you will end up with a tool, not a solution, which brings me to the next point.

Technology is just a tool - As Power Tynan’s “Chief Geek” it pains me to say this, but technology is just a tool, by itself it is not a solution or improvement to your business unless it is implemented, structured and designed to meet a specific business goal.  Too often businesses will implement a technology because it looks cool, often in absence of a business case, implementation plan or a full understanding of the effect on the business. 

The opposite end of the spectrum is holding off on investing in technology or changing systems due to the scale of the change, despite clear benefits.  Either way, technology is just a tool, not a solution, if not properly integrated into your business.

Don’t forget the people - With technological change, as with any other change, there is significant pressure put on you and your staff in terms of managing and implementing the change.  Keep people in mind when making your choice.  We ourselves have used change management specialists to make sure that our people are engaged with change.

When to make the change? - There is never a perfect time to adopt new technology, however the best time to undertake a change is when a few things fall into place, timing in the business (avoid when deadlines are looming), when the business case stacks up, when staff are ready and prepared, when you’ve had time to assess and weigh up options, and you have assessed the risks of the project (and the business).

Already we have helped several clients by reviewing the technology used within their business, and providing suggestions of tools to explore.  We are able to assist with objective opinions, business cases, risk management and business strategy, and there are certain tools we can even help implement for you. If you would like to discuss how this may be of benefit to you and your business, please contact your trusted adviser.