As you read this, I will be setting up my stand at Xerocon, Xero’s conference for its accounting partners.
Earlier this week I took a few days out to have a holiday and enjoy the piles of snow up at Mt Hotham. As I sat on chairlifts reflecting on my last week at the Microsoft Partner Conference, I have to say my feeling was one of being overwhelmed by the array of choices in technology and the multiple pathways we can follow as a technology company.
Now that is not what you want to hear as a consumer of technology services, but the fact is that what is going on right now is a huge shift in direction that brings about more choices than we have ever had before.
The mix of in-house technology or cloud solutions, apps or applications means there are more ways to do each business function and operation. But the jury is still out on these multiple pathways. Old trusted solutions are losing market share to new solutions that solve problems in new ways and offer a change for many.
Xero is a great example, they are suggesting we move to the “Modern Office” as a solution, and they want accountants to work in new ways to offer different reporting and consulting services. Many accountants are listening and want to know what they might be missing out on.
So if as the technology company we are feeling overwhelmed, where does that leave you, the consumer of technical services? Too many choices and a lack of visibility of how a solution will pan out for you; and a lack of knowledge about which way your competitors are going.
To be blunt, we all face tough choices and many companies are sitting on the sidelines. The techs will argue about the merits and disadvantages of each technology and the high cost of licensing or the low cost of open source solutions. Clarity is hard to find at the moment. Making a decision will be tough and some will make mistakes.
Doing nothing can only be sustained for so long before your technology becomes a liability. Eventually you need to take some direction and make a decision, with the knowledge it may turn out to be okay, but not the best solution in a year or two. Knowing where to turn to get the right advice for your industry or your scale of business is going to be tough. The key to success will lie in the ability to research possible solutions and run trials of solutions.
If you get a chance to run a trial, do take the opportunity and figure out what a successful trial would look like. All too often the trial software is used lightly, if at all, and then a decision is made based on a limited set of facts and experience.
Give yourself as much information as you can to enable a great decision that can make all the difference to the success of your business. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, even if it means we bring our experience to learn together. Good IT people will be able to learn with you and add value along the way.
David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that ensures IT is never an impediment to growth.