In my last blog post I championed the human being the most important element in the workplace. That view certainly hasn’t changed, but the technology deployed in the workplace is almost as essential as having motivated and driven staff. The two need to marry each other, without divorce!

A huge ongoing challenge in the workplace is managing data. Big data, metadata, ever-increasing data – it’ll not go away, so learn to manage it. Now and in the future, a real headache is loss of business data.

Most of us now have a device, a tablet or smartphone that contains both personal and business data. What happens when you accidentally leave your phone on the bus and need to get it wiped? Nightmare, that’s what. Thankfully, there is software designed to wipe confidential data without a Mission Impossible-style combustion of devices! This’ll save your precious business data from getting in the wrong hands.

Another key challenge is planning to ensure all forms of data can be synchronized without too much of a headache. It also worth employing the right technology to ensure you can ‘comb’ through vast amounts of data to find what you’re looking for, without using up a lot of valuable staff time. Look at legacy systems if you want to switch to new, faster hardware. Don’t be afraid to ask all the right questions before purchasing, to avoid two incompatible systems.

Whilst we’re on the subject of systems, the costs involved in upgrading technology are vast. Again, make sure you are about to buy the right infrastructure that will allow you to stay competitive without glitches that could slow you down. Look at customer case studies to see the situation, problem and how the technology helped solve this challenge. Any decent vendor will have case studies on their website, on social media or in the form of a DVD so you can ‘try before you buy’.  Look at helpline support as well. Does it suit your needs? if not, look elsewhere.

The final important element to success is keeping up with ever-changing customers’ needs. Today, e-commerce is on the menu. Tomorrow, who knows, but be prepared to move with the times. A key challenge here is to make sure you don’t completely throw away your existing system every year. A great way to pre-empt this issue is to buy solutions that can be easily scaled up as and when required. Another option is to use cloud-based software that includes upgrades in the contract price. Read the small print! In summary, no single solution will meet all your needs, but make sure flexibility is part of the package.