Any modern business utilises a variety of systems to address their needs in communication, marketing, organisation, logistics, and other core business tasks. As alternative solutions are continually arising, we are confronted with a challenge – deciding which new systems we should incorporate into our businesses, and which to exclude.
Everybody wants to be avant-garde, but nothing’s worth doing if it doesn’t work. While the right choices may give a competitive advantage, the implications for getting it wrong can be expensive. Because the effectiveness of business operation requires the most appropriate solutions, it’s handy to look at pacing change – in other words, aligning your choices with your needs – to achieve a result that will serve you well into the future.
Calculating a Googolplex
Did you know that to attempt to calculate a Googolplex (an obscenely large number) would be best deferred for 524 years because at the predicted rate of advancement of computer processing power, calculations begun after 524 years would overtake calculations begun before?
That’s the topic of this interesting article and also the essence of the challenge described here today. It’s really just about taking the time to measure solutions against their benefits against the alternatives. But there are some other considerations to bear in mind as well.
The first important consideration to keep in mind is system support. It’s always better to put things in place that can grow with your business. An innovation alone is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of its relevance. If it’s gone in two years, it will be an investment in a headache.
Any initiative should be underpinned by a good understanding of the support that is behind it – the will of the company to provide the service they’re advertising.
To build a picture of this will, you can look at the popularity of products, the countries they’re being used in, and the value and history of the companies that create them. You can evaluate their marketing and their growth. This information creates an impression of the future of the business, and helps you to understand if it’s a good long-term match for your enterprise.
Dipping a Toe
“Dipping a toe” – what a great expression – means testing something before committing. The great thing about many digital solutions is that they can be trialled, often free, before you need to jump on board.
To make the most of this opportunity there is a pre-trial familiarisation stage in which you need to review the software and determine if you like it or not. To be effective, it’s useful to be across the core tasks or requirements it will need to fulfil for you before this stage.
If you’re rolling it out for your team, keep them in mind. Rationalise what’s involved in them coming to a point where they can access the software and use it. All of these considerations can be done before you even begin to trial the system.
Dependancy & The Bleeding Edge
If you’re really interested in something on the bleeding edge of technology, just because it’s not proven or its long-term prospects can’t be clarified doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not an option. It may just come down to the dependancy you place on it. The more your business depends on a system, the more thoroughly you need to be able to trust the option.
Bleeding edge options shouldn’t be discarded – after all, some of them are the future, and it will be good to be aware of them if they relate to your industry – but their implementation should be paced to your dependancy on them.
In the case of many software-based products, there is a limited free version, suitable for a trial, and then a paid version which is typically marketed in variants for different-sized businesses. For ongoing costs, such as you may find in an ecommerce solution like Shopify, it’s important to consider what these will look like over the course of your business year.
Small monthly payments tend to add up – especially when they’re in US Dollars. Make sure you convert the currency to the one you’re using and do the sums properly.
The End of Evolution
For any business, it’s imperative to be forward-thinking. How things are done now (2019) will not be comparable to how they’re done in 2029. 2029 may look a little mysterious at the moment – everything is going to be different, but how?
Before you get lost in the endless emerging possibilities, don’t forget that there is an end-point to every innovation – that is, a point at which the need for innovation escapes the relevance of the solution to the problem.
This seems to be happening a lot these days – sometimes it’s good to remember that if it works well, it’s a good solution even if it’s a pen and paper!