Whether you’re a small architectural practice, or a large planning firm, the amount of data you collect, manage and analyze 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 make sure you get it. So, you should have a detailed list of your requirements, which will be your starting point when you’re talking to a supplier.
But if you don’t have that list, you’re going to 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 important 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/or 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 then work out what your IT requirements will be.
Evaluate and Select Technology Solutions
As the digital world continues to evolve, so does the technology that drives it. There are many different types of technology solutions out there to help you manage your company’s digital presence.
You’ll need to make sure you understand the features and benefits of each of these solutions before you choose one. It can be difficult to decide which solution will be the best fit for your business.
Technology is a huge 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. 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. You must get it right. You must make sure that it works for your company and your customers.
The problem with new technology is that it can be scary. People don’t really like change, but if you do it right, it can improve your business processes no end.
Once implemented, it is time to then manage the change with your staff and potentially your clients as well.
Manage the Change
Once you have integrated your chosen solution into your business, it’s important to manage that change. Will staff need training on the new solution? Is there a steep learning curve or is it complicated to setup?
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 give you the opportunity to grow.
Also, if you don’t have adequate systems in place 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 be different 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, trialing a product and then implementing it if it’s actually not going to make your lives easier in any way!
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 realize that 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 simply upgrading for new features that you probably don’t need, 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 the release of 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 it could be getting bogged down by the growth of your company. 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 you’re running an architectural practice, it’s important to 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.
Choosing online software for business and practice management like PlanMan would be the best option.
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!
If you would be interested in seeing how PlanMan could improve your architect or town planning business, contact us today.