Oh dear, the tech revolution. It sounds so scary if you’re not on board already. What can you do to make sure your business takes advantage of the technology that is constantly improving around you?
Stay up to Date
In the tech industry there’s something called Moore’s Law. It basically describes a pattern where some technologies get much cheaper or much faster every ~2 years. The spend thrift in everyone is tempted to take advantage of the much cheaper side of that, but you should also pay attention to the much faster side of it. As computers get faster they grow closer to being able to do what we often see in movies. Look at how we used cell phones just 5 years ago and compare it to how we use them now. That’s not a lot of time but a tremendous amount of innovation has happened by capitalizing on technology getting much better and much faster. Stay up to date on what’s going on. You don’t have to understand it all, but just be aware that things are changing. Find a good site and stick to it, read it regularly, you don’t want to get left behind.
While you can always rest assured that your car will have 4 wheels, the tech industry changes far more rapidly. New worlds can be created in a matter of months; dig in.
Have a Good Developer on Staff
I can’t stress the importance of having a good developer on staff. This was true for the first Internet bubble and it’s even more true today. Whether you’re running an offline business and you’re looking to streamline internal operations or you’re running a web business and want to spice it up, you need a good developer.
The IT operations of most non-tech companies are usually horrendously underfunded. Don’t make that same mistake. While PCs are often relegated to simple tasks like checking email and looking at your Facebook page, they can be very powerful if properly harnessed. You need someone on your staff who can do that harnessing.
Start small, you’d initially only need one person - a jack of all trades, but you need to keep this position funded to truly grow and support your ventures.
...and a good designer
If you are to have any presence on the web or use a web tool internally, you need it to work well. Apple built an entire business on doing what everyone else in the market already does, just cleaner and simpler. Simply hiring a good developer isn’t enough, you need someone who is an expert at design and user experience to work alongside the developer. The combination of the two will ensure that you can take your business online and improve productivity all while avoiding painful mistakes that poor design can entail.
The invention of the lightbulb was huge, but it’d be horribly inconvenient if light switches were located on our ceilings. Developers don’t always make the best designers and designers don’t always make the best developers, you need both.
Brainstorm with them
Now that you’ve got your shiny new developer and a designer, where do you go from here? Brainstorm. Help them understand your business and your goals, help them understand how you and your customers work, then allow them to bring optimization and expansion to you. You’ve got your own ideas but listen to what they have to offer as well. The best ideas come from collaboration.