Investing in Information Technology
When considering investing in information technology to help support your business, the choices can be overwhelming. A search on Google for Trucking Company Software yields over 5 million results. These trucking software solutions range from complex enterprise Transportation Management Systems to a wide variety of specialty solutions for business analysis, logging, finance, brokerage, dispatch, load tracking and whole host of others. So how do you know where to invest? What should our priorities be? What’s going to give you the best return for your investment? The answer to these questions lies in the development of a cost-effective information technology plan that is in alignment with the needs and priorities of the business.
Understand Your Business
Developing an effective technology plan begins by understanding the needs of the business. Understanding your business issues, your strengths and weaknesses, the impact those issues have, your business goals and objectives, and being able to prioritize those issues. For example:
Improved websites and the use of social media can help your driver recruiting efforts.
Load tracking technology might enable you improve customer service and relationships.
Collaboration tools can greatly improve the ability to access information, share information among departments and individuals, and improve overall accuracy and efficiency.
In looking at where you are and the needs of the business, take a close look at the investments you have already made. Are you using those assets effectively? Are you using them the way they were designed?
In many, if not most cases, businesses are not using all the functionality or capability of the solutions they already have. It is estimated that the average user only uses 10% to 15% of the functionality of Microsoft Office. Evaluate your current portfolio. Are you taking advantage of the investments you’ve already made.
The other problem is using those solutions the way they were designed.
Every system, every application, has, by definition, an assumed business process embedded within it. It assumes that event A will be followed by event B, C, D and so forth. Rarely if ever will that assumed process be exactly like the way you have operated in the past. Unfortunately, people are creatures of habit and are resistant to change. Without adequate training they will fall back into the old way of doing things which can negate the usefulness of your investment.
Advocates for a particular solution may say that “you can change the basic assumptions of the application to meet your specific operational processes.” Be skeptical. The IT landscape is filled with failed projects, delays and cost overruns resulting from attempts to change basic application assumptions.
Think and plan strategically. In considering new investments consider their ability to support the long-term needs of the business – their ability to grow with the business, but to the extent possible, keep it simple. Stay focused on your priorities. When it comes to technology new developments happen quickly. You don’t want to invest in a technology that is going to be obsolete next year, but at the same time you can’t chase after every new development.
As you begin to implement your plan, accountability is critical. At every step in its implementation are objectives being met, are you getting the return on investment that was anticipated – if not, why not.
The plan you develop today is not necessary the plan you need for tomorrow. Change is a given and planning is a continuous improvement process. Over time your business needs are going to change, you are going to grow and that growth is going to present new challenges, and the technology is going to change. The last and most important step in establishing an effective investment plan is continuous review and evaluation.
Your IT Solution for Trucking Company Software
Trincon Group offers a well designed and easy-to-use trucking company software, as well as a range of professional services designed to help trucking companies maximize the productivity and profitability of their operations, and assure that their investments in technology are appropriate and provide the return on investment you require.