Professional services company Deloitte has compared technology to a beast that can be tamed into a beautiful thing or can unleash total destruction on small and medium businesses, depending on how it is handled.
The report, available at http://www.deloitte.com.au, is number seven in a series of 10 that aims to help SMEs make wise, long-term technology investments.
"Companies within the small to medium business sector in particular are increasingly facing the dilemma of balancing costs and cash flow against their long-term growth requirements," a Deloitte spokesperson said.
It includes the following 10-point check list for evaluating whether a business is using technology in the best possible way:
- Do you have a clear understanding of your company's plans for growth, productivity and profitability?
- Have you evaluated your core business processes against the company's goals, and measured these against industry/competitor benchmarks?
- Have you established a steering committee of heavy hitters to identify your functional requirements so that you can develop a scalable and prioritized technology roadmap?
- Have you built a sound business case, complete with measurable, time-sensitive metrics?
- Have your CEO and senior managers engaged in the planning process, taken 'ownership' of technology projects and committed to implementing a management and communication plan?
- Have you initiated formal RFIs and RFPs and established strict evaluation criteria for every step of the process including vendor and service provider selection, functionality of software, costs, support capabilities, etc?
- Have you evaluated your service provider's culture, working style and key people thoroughly and have you explored creative contractual agreements with both vendors and service providers?
- Have you clearly defined a pilot, established a fully representative project team, assigned responsibilities and created mechanisms to monitor the progress of the pilot?
- Have you whole heartedly involved end users in the conceptual development and implementation of the solution?
- Have you extracted key insights from the pilot and integrated these into the implementation plans and agreements with vendors and service providers?