6 Myths about upgrading tech in your business
I’ve heard, over and over again, a handful of reasons why business leaders say their businesses can’t use new technologies. I’ve also heard why, after finally adopting new software that is delivering great results, they didn’t embrace it sooner.
That is why I can say, without even having met you, that there is likely more technology available to your non-technical business than you realize.
I’ve picked out six reasons that I’ve heard the most
I have found that for non-technical leaders of service-based businesses, you might hear some truth in these myths about upgrading tech. But here is why these reasons are still myths: they are not always true or they are not completely true.
Your business is special. What is true for one business may not be true for yours. What was true about one kind of software you tried might not be true about another tool.
If your business is looking to use software to grow, protect, or spark change then I’d invite you to explore whether any of these myths have snuck into your business. Let’s separate fact from fiction.
Are any of these myths about upgrading tech holding back your business?
Myth #1: Technology is always too expensive for us.
One huge myth is that technology is prohibitively expensive.
Some technology will likely be too expensive for small companies, that part may be true. Of course, building and owning software with a complex code base is pricey. But with more off-the-shelf software available than ever, there are tons of affordable and customizable options that offer great value. Price shouldn’t stop a business from using technology anymore.
The important thing to know: there are options for controlling the cost of technology. Asking the right questions and getting expert advice will help you understand what technology is financially feasible for your business. If you learn what goes into building and owning software, you can be aware of these pitfalls and understand the true cost of custom software.
Myth #2: Upgrading tech for our business is an “all or nothing” scenario.
An executive or team can easily get sucked into the trap of thinking that upgrading tech is always a monstrous project. Which leaves leadership feeling like the only other option is no upgrades at all, resulting in a status quo that starts feeling farther and farther behind the rest of the world.
“All or nothing” thinking like this supports the misconception that there are only two choices. This eliminates the option of incremental change, perpetuating the idea that minor improvements are not valuable or that it is just too hard to do piecemeal work.
I would argue that searching for frequent, minor adjustments is always better than accepting the status quo. We’re either moving forward or falling behind. One of our core principals at Firefield is to improve constantly. We can push forward, without jumping into some monstrous tech overhaul. If you start with a narrow project scope aiming for high impact and anticipated ROI, that helps keep the cost of investing in tech from getting out of hand.
Myth #3: My team is not very technical. We can never build, own, or use fancy software.
Yes, a typical CFO is not going to become a tech leader and start writing code. Not all jobs require a tech-savvy skill set. But if you don’t speak the tech language, you will have to prioritize finding resources and tools that meet you where you are.
There are ways to introduce tech in non-technical businesses, starting with resources or partners who can bridge the gap between business and technology. Bridging that gap starts with strategy — assessing needs and planning. Execution comes later. This bases your tech strategy in reality, by fully understanding the needs and capabilities of your team first.
You can find tech that fits your business. There is no “perfect” tool or software that requires zero training. Some people may require more training or support than others. Different tools may feel more familiar or comfortable to use for certain people.
However technical your business is (or isn’t), finding a tech partner you trust allows you to move forward with confidence toward outcomes that matter.
Myth #4: If you can’t do it yourself, then you have to outsource it. Outsourced work is always low-quality or won’t thoroughly address our needs.
Again, you may hear some truth to this. Outsourcing piecemeal — a freelance designer here, a development team there — can give you a finished product that doesn’t quite fit. Working with a remote vendor is difficult for some teams, with all the tech being built out of sight. You might find some vendors who don’t communicate expectations and progress well. Maybe they didn’t completely understand the problem you needed to be solved in the first place.
Despite all that, it is possible to find tech partners and vendors who are collaborative, transparent, and empathetic. If you have unique needs, you can address them by finding people capable of understanding your business and standing alongside you as a tech partner. A thoughtful vendor will understand your challenges and needs while communicating all along the way.
Myth #5: Tech moves too fast for us. If our tools will become obsolete quickly, why create them at all?
You’re not crazy if you have this concern. You have to address the fact that tech is moving quickly. Programming languages come and go. Tech tools become trendy, then fade away.
However, the right strategy will keep your software nimble enough to adjust, yet robust enough for the long haul. There are widely adopted tools and ways to prepare for future change. With help from your tech partner(s), you can identify risks and plan for your software to evolve, baking in resistance to obsolescence.
Myth #6: There are software companies, then there are other companies like us who can stay the course. Tech is not for us. Building software is for big tech companies and startups.
We’ve all see the movie stereotypes of hackers and tech geeks raining green code onto a black screen like The Matrix. For anyone without a background in technology (including me — I started out in investment banking and hedge fund management), those images build up this myth that there are “tech people” and “non-tech people.”
I don’t believe that because it’s simply not true. You can bridge tech gaps by being open-minded about change and searching for improvements. There are ways to communicate technical concepts, develop complex products, and document tools that are effective for the non-technical. You don’t have to become some high-tech venture to get results from upgrading your technology. I believe you have to accept who you are and who you are not.
If you’ve heard a variation on any of these myths in your business, then I hope I could give you reasons to start re-examining them. You don’t have to accept these myths about upgrading tech as true, resisting and waiting to upgrade your software, all while endangering your business by falling behind.
Visionary leaders can see there is more than one path available for upgrading tech. They start by asking questions and looking to make success a reality.