Whether you’re a small architectural practice or a large planning firm, the amount of data you collect, manage and analyse can quickly become overwhelming.
How much do you need to spend on software? How much does it cost to run your business? Are you going to be able to afford the upgrades in a few years?
You’re an architect or planning practice, and your team is always looking for the best solution.
What does that mean for you?
That means you need to know exactly what you need and then ensure you get it. So, you should have a detailed list of your requirements, which will be your starting point when talking to a supplier.
But if you don’t have that list, you will be making assumptions based on how you think things might work.
Determine the Scope of Your IT Requirements
It’s always best to start with the end in mind. What are you trying to accomplish? Before you begin the planning phase, it’s essential to determine exactly what your goals are.
You may want to consider the following questions:
- How much data do you have?
- What type of applications will you be running?
- How many users are you expecting to log into the system at once?
- What kind of performance do you need?
- How many servers (if any) do you need?
- Is this an on-premise or cloud-based solution?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you should be able to make an educated guess as to what your requirements will be.
Identify Your Business Needs
What are your business needs?
This question is the best way to identify what you need to build your business. If you don’t know what you need, how can you possibly know what to look at? So, start by asking yourself:
- What are my business needs?
- What are my customer’s needs?
- What do I want to deliver to my customers?
- What can I provide that my customers need and want?
- What is the unique value of my product or service?
Once you know the answers to the above questions, you will be in a better position to work out your IT requirements.
Evaluate and Select Technology Solutions
As the digital world continues to evolve, so does the technology that drives it. As a result, many different technology solutions are out there to help you manage your company’s digital presence.
You’ll need to ensure you understand each of these solutions’ features and benefits before choosing one. It can be challenging to decide which solution will best fit your business.
Technology is a massive part of the business world today. You can’t succeed without it. And while technology can be an asset or a liability, the most important thing to remember about technology is that it is a tool, and it’s a tool that you can use to make your business more efficient.
But it’s not a magic bullet. Instead, technology is just one of the many tools in your toolbox.
Integrate the New Technology into Your Operations
Once you have chosen the technology you want to use, it is time to implement it. First, it would help if you got it right. Next, you must ensure that it works for your company and your customers.
The problem with new technology is that it can be scary. People don’t like change, but if you do it right, it can improve your business processes.
Once implemented, it is time to manage the change with your staff and potentially your clients.
Manage the Change
Once you have integrated your chosen solution into your business, managing that change is essential. Will staff need training on the new solution? Is there a steep learning curve, or is it complicated to set up?
It’s not uncommon for small businesses to be excited by new technology, but the reality is that most of them aren’t equipped to handle it. You might be a small business with limited resources, but if you have the skills to manage your chosen technology, it will allow you to grow.
Also, if you don’t have adequate systems to support your chosen solution, how will your staff cope with the influx of new information and requests?
How well does the chosen solution integrate with your existing systems and processes?
- What is the impact of the new technology?
- Are customers happy or unhappy?
- Do they keep coming back?
How you measure the success of a technology you have implemented will differ for every company. The general things to think about are:
- Are you spending less time or more time trying to manage your projects?
- How easy is it for you to update a project?
- Are your clients using the system and finding the information they need?
- Can you report on the data and see your KPIs?
There is no point going through all the trouble of searching for a product, trialling a product and then implementing it if it’s not going to make your lives easier!
Determine if You Need to Upgrade
For every company, there comes a time when it’s time to upgrade to the latest version of their software. However, many companies don’t realise they need to upgrade until they start experiencing problems.
So how do you know if you need to upgrade? Here are some steps to help you determine if you need to upgrade your software:
1. Do You Need New Features?
If you are upgrading for new features, you probably don’t need them, and you’re probably better off waiting until the next update.
Upgrading can be a hassle, and you’ll likely want to wait for a few weeks after releasing a new version before doing so.
2. Do You Need Better Performance?
If your software is performing poorly, it might be time to upgrade. The current version may work fine, but your company’s growth could bog it down. Or maybe you’re using a new feature that isn’t working well.
By upgrading, you’ll have access to the latest and greatest versions of your software, which will help you keep up with the latest trends and provide you with better performance.
In conclusion, when running an architectural practice, you must know how much of a budget you have to work with and what kind of technology you need.
This is why it’s so important to do your research before making any big purchases and be aware of the kinds of technology you’re using.
The best option is to choose online software for business and practice management like PlanMan.
This is because updates are rolled out regularly, and because it is an online cloud application, there is no software to install, so you never have to worry about upgrading!
Contact us today if you would be interested in seeing how PlanMan could improve your architect or town planning business.