Why is it that some businesses still – in this day and age – have such a hard time adopting technology?
Here’s how it usually goes: you’re in a sticky business situation. Maybe your growth wasn’t so great last quarter, maybe a hot young company has got the board jittery or maybe your star employees are getting burnt out. Your job is to find the holy grail to solve everyone’s problems.
You search around, make a list of apps and do a few demos. A few weeks later you write up a shortlist and present it to your boss.
Then, the trail goes cold. No one can agree on the right product. The project lashes in limbo for months. Worst case scenario: it’s shelved permanently.
It doesn’t have to end this way. Below I’ve outlined 3 tips, from our own experience, on priming decision-makers for procurement.
Get decision making boots on the ground early
On paper, new tech can sound baffling. If you’re stuck on Outlook 2007, of course, your boss will be confused by a chatbot. All they hear is “forget the way we’ve always done it, let’s try this thing you’ve never heard of.”
You need to show them how something works. That’s where product demos come in.
Do a demo, on your own, like you normally would. Then, if it checks out, do a second demo, this time with at least one decision maker. Convincing them to join will be easy – you’ll already know exactly what features they’ll care about.
If they don’t want to join the demo, that’s fine. If the product doesn’t interest them now, it never will. You can cross that product off your shortlist – no more precious decision-making time wasted.
Nail feature requirements first
It’s only natural to want an app that does everything for the price of one. Especially if you’re not tech savvy: ‘if one app does A and another does B, surely there’s an app that does both A and B?’
Ever heard the phrase ‘jack of all trades, master of none’? You really don’t want this if your business is on the line. The features will lack in power, and the dev team will be spending all their time on maintenance (rather than improvements).
Your decision makers need to know this.
Here’s a useful exercise to help with this. Make a table with three columns: essential, desirable and nice-to-have. Ask your leaders to fill in each column with the features they want. Then set this rule: no column can be longer than the others.
This’ll bring everyone’s expectations back down to earth, which means no nasty disagreements further down the line.
Look at integrations as well as features
Keep your table from the last exercise. You’ve probably cut those “essential features” down to a more manageable number, right? In fact, you’ll probably have no problem finding an app that ticks all the boxes.
Stop. Forget about finding the one for a second. Don’t just look at features – an app’s integrations are just as important (if not more).
Take Slack. They’re pretty hot, and for a good reason: Slack works nicely with hundreds of different apps. It’s a chatroom that lets designers access InVision, developers JIRA and people like me and you Google Drive, without having to leave the browser tab.
What’s more likely to get bosses excited: a list of apps that all do the same thing, or an app that seamlessly integrates with your existing system?
Reap the rewards
Now all of that’s done, you should have a list of apps that have solid APIs, lots of integrations and a roadmap of where you need to be. You’ve blown the door to software wide open. Those agonisingly slow decision makers? They’ve got no excuse 👊