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Free, Web-based tools can be great for small businesses that want to increase productivity and decrease costs, but implementing such technologies can backfire when these three points are not considered:
1. Is the app or tool a fad, or does its provider have long-term potential? There are a lot of great apps and services popping up every day. On the flip side, there are a lot of great apps and services going out of business every day. You don’t want to invest time, data, and money in a service only to have to look elsewhere sooner than expected. Be sure to do a little due diligence on the brand’s ability to sustain itself so you don’t get caught in a bad situation.
2. The cost of education and transition. Any time you switch to a different product or service, there are going to be differences that need to be addressed. Many transitions are not necessarily as technically challenging as they are time sensitive because you want to minimize any issues that may arise without halting business. This means you need to have staff focused on handling any problems during the transition and be accessible to employees whenever they have questions.
3. Current employee behavior. What are the current employee demographics of your business? Are employees open to changing from the programs they currently use? How technically proficient or fearful are they? Who on your staff is going to help them with questions/training through the transition? Following this assessment, you should make yourself aware of the devices used most by your employees. Microsoft, Apple, and Google all have proprietary platforms and, by now, your employees have probably picked a camp. The key to productivity is user adoption, so finding out what your employees like to use or are currently using should be a factor in your strategy.
Addressing these points is crucial because your employees will ultimately be using—or, in the worst case, be stuck with—the tools you choose. If your employees are not happy with the product, chances are it’s not making your business more productive.
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