You have existing technology. You have or will invest in new technology. That’s just business. It’s integrating the two that can be complicated. And if you think you’re alone on that front, think again. The old/new integration challenge is actually the second most significant tech concern of small business owners. (Cost took the top spot, of course.)
The struggle makes absolute sense. Your expertise is your business, not how to evaluate, implement and maintain all the new tools coming on to the market. The truth is, most businesses could use help in making new technology work with existing systems and training employees to effectively make the most of the new combination.
As it happens, we know our way around those kinds of transitions because we deal with them every day. It starts with building an integration plan so everything can run smoothly within your current infrastructure. Try these five steps the next time you are undertaking an integration of old and new.
1. Address existing demands firstStart by addressing what you already have. Tackle any existing integration demands you may have neglected. It will help clear the way for the new tools. You might be surprised at how much you will learn during that process, including identifying areas where new technology could make the biggest impact. You may also learn things that aren’t as positive, but those are important to know too before bringing new stuff in.
2. Ensure software and hardware cooperateA big part of ensuring the smooth integration of new technology, no matter if it’s a new PC or a storage solution, is running the same technology across your business. Another important early step is making sure that any new software plays nicely with your hardware. If you can avoid those issues early on, you’ll save a lot of time and avoid a lot of headaches. What else? Take a look at the the most common tech mistakes small businesses make.
3. Measure twice, cut onceLean on your IT team to make the path to integration as straight and clear as possible — before you start. If you don’t have an IT team, reach out to the manufacturer about installation and integration. And then when it’s in, test it, especially all the programs you rely on the most, before rolling out the new solution to staff. It’s also a good idea to have experienced IT pros there to watch over the implementation.
4. Make security an early prioritySecurity. Don’t overlook this important piece. Security measures must be a part of the installation process. That includes identifying who should have admin access and testing your security plan and tools regularly. Start by reviewing the keysmall business security measures. And last but certainly not least, make sure someone on your team is assigned the task of staying up-to-date on the most current threats. You can’t protect against it until you know what it is.