Integration of new tech tools with existing ones is the second most significant tech concern of small business owners. And it’s no coincidence that it falls directly under their highest concern of cost. Small business owners struggle to understand the range of affordable technology tools in the marketplace, how to implement, maintain, and evaluate them, and how to integrate them into their systems and train up their employees. New technologies regularly arise and quickly become an integral part of a business toolbox. Integration can take time and money, so it’s no wonder many small business owners fret about it.
When you're ready to pull the trigger on new tech, you’ll need an integration plan to get it running smoothly within your existing infrastructure. Use these five tips to get started.
1. Audit Your Existing Arsenal
Are there ongoing integration issues that have been sitting on the backburner at your business? Integrating a new tool will only exacerbate them, so tackle those first. Auditing your current systems will also highlight areas where new tech would be most beneficial. Additionally, keep an open mind when conducting your audit, as you may find unexpected areas for improvement.
2. Decide on Hardware and Software Standards
As you onboard new technology, whether it's a new laptop or a cloud storage solution, problem-solving will be simplified when you're running the same tech across the business and ensure new software purchases work with your hardware. Avoid the most common tech mistakes small businesses often fall victim to.
3. Install It Right the First Time
Use your resources when installing new tech. If you're a sole practitioner or working without an in-house IT team, talk to the manufacturer about installation and integration when you're making a new tech purchase. Take time when you set it up and test all the programs you regularly use before setting your new tech loose. Having professional IT help on hand during implementation helps ensure tech issues won’t go unnoticed.
4. Don't Ignore Security Integration
Make sure to incorporate security measures when installing your new tech. From controlling who has admin access to regularly checking and testing security measures, your business and information should be protected. Educate yourself on small business security measures and stay knowledgeable of current threats.
5. Consider Outside Tech Support
If you're growing rapidly, implementing more than one new tool or tackling a bigger task like establishing a small business network can make tech integration complicated fast. Consider working with an authorized technology provider that specializes in small businesses.
Successful tech integration is within reach, and when done well and resourcefully it can hugely impact a small business from employee to customer. Find more resources for small business management, and follow Intel Small Biz on Twitter to learn more.