Today, investing in technology is a prerequisite to success. The right solutions – whether they be cloud computing, artificial intelligence, or mobile apps – enable trade businesses to work faster, communicate better, and make smarter decisions.
The problem is, that introducing new technology to your trade is rarely straightforward. As the business owner, you must find the right systems, integrate them into various processes, and win employee buy-in. To overcome these challenges, here are seven tips to ensure successful technology adoption.
Understand your pain points
Pursuing tech fads that don’t align with business needs is a common mistake. Instead, it’s better to find solutions that address the pain points that are apparent in your trade.
This involves taking a critical look at your current systems and processes. The average trade business, for instance, suffers from inefficient job scheduling and route planning. Others also have major communication issues, especially with field technicians. By identifying your problems, you’ll have a clearer idea of what types of solutions will best fit your business.
Communicate your plans
Once you’ve cemented your requirements, promptly inform your employees that you’re investigating new technologies. Explain to everyone what is wrong with the current processes and the potential benefits of an upgrade. Make sure to ask for feedback. Such transparency increases user engagement and reduces friction that may prevent your trade from transitioning smoothly.
Select the right system
Even if you’ve narrowed down the type of solutions you need, choosing the right system can be daunting. In fact, if you were in the market for job management software, you’ll find that there is a wide selection of options to choose from, with each solution offering something different.
That’s why, when deciding which technology to implement for your business, don’t just focus on reviews and price – focus on the features and your needs. Your tradies may deal with truckloads of invoices every day, in which case you’ll need a system with streamlined accounting workflow features. Meanwhile, tradies that are constantly working on different job sites will greatly benefit from a mobile-friendly job management app.
You should also ask the following questions:
- Can the proposed solution grow with my business?
- Does it integrate seamlessly with other systems?
- Are its features intuitive and user-friendly?
Try before you buy
Scheduling a free demo is a great way to learn about a solution’s strengths and limitations before making a purchase. In some cases, you may even be able to take the technology for a test drive, albeit with limited access.
Workbuddy, for instance, offers a free demo so you can get a feel for the job management platform and decide whether it is the right fit for your trade. An expert also supports you throughout the demo and answers any questions you may have regarding its features, the implementation process, support and training services, and more.
Implement the new system
The key to successful technology adoption is to do it gradually. Start by appointing a project manager and a team of specialists to oversee the installation process. Then, make the necessary customisations as outlined by your requirements, migrate data in batches, and have an initial group of users test the solution before going live. Regular testing after each phase will allow your team to identify and fix problems early.
If the transition is likely to cause major disruption to your operations, it may be ideal to schedule it outside working hours.
The biggest barrier to user adoption is often a lack of staff training. Although many developers offer basic tutorials for their products, they’re not nearly as effective as training sessions that are tailored to specific employees and the way they perform their work. For example, one session may cover how tradies can record timesheets, while another discusses the invoicing process with the new system.
What’s more, it’s important to customise your training to engage different learning styles and IT literacy levels. This means you shouldn’t solely rely on lecture-style seminars to get your message across. You should provide instructional videos and give users the chance to play and get acquainted with the features prior to going live. Those who struggle with new technology may also benefit from a more hands-on approach such as one-on-one training labs.
Keep in mind that training shouldn’t be a one-time event. It should be done as often as possible. This way, everyone will be well versed in how to use the technology and will be less likely to push back against the implementation.
Promote ongoing technology adoption
The last thing you want is for processes to slip back into the status quo. There may be employees resistant to change or technical issues preventing tradies from working efficiently. Ongoing technology assessments identify these issues so you can make the necessary adjustments to your software and training curriculum.
Having trouble finding and implementing the right technologies for your trade? Consider WorkBuddy, a feature-rich and intuitive job management solution that can be designed to meet your trade’s needs. Contact us today to learn more.