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Technology Investment Advice

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All to often I’ll get a call from a client who asks me if I can do something. I usually can figure out how to do it, which is one of my specialties because their IT person or programmer or whomever has told them it “CAN’T BE DONE’. Well, when I take care of their problem, it usually causes some issues. Most of the time I have to spend just as much time helping them figure out why their employee said it couldn’t be done in the first place. But what I find out may surprise most people and a lot of businesses never do it.

I find out that although they may have spent up to $250,000 on their new “state of the art” software package they barely set aside any time and money for training or they put someone in the position who is woefully under qualified. Often, it isn’t all the client’s fault. They have been told by the salesperson that “anyone can use it”, that it is “so simple any one can control it”. As any IT administrator knows this is usually said out of fear of telling them the extra costs involved in months of training to use the system and hiring a new person qualified to run this system. Or it’s just the “good old boy” system, their friend is one of their vendors, and is just a salesperson at best who tells them he is a “expert” when he is not.

In the end, the employee who said it “can’t be done” may be tapped to administer the new system. Their negativity can be traced to a fear of losing their job, of looking incompetent, or they overstated their abilities and are afraid to ask for help.

Here are some tips to avoid this pitfall:

1. Always add 10% to 20% of the project cost for training and possibly more for a new position.

2. Test anyone applying for the position even if they are your best employee; see if they are up to the job in a real world environment.

3. If your person does say it can’t be done check around see if anyone else has done it. If so, offer to put your employee in touch with them to see if they could work together and maybe learn something new. Also, offer to help in anyway; tell them it is alright not to know an answer, that’s how one learns.

4. Always get an outside opinion on any project. All too often everyone has their own agenda. A consultant only has one agenda: what is best for his client.

5. Build a high level of trust with your employees; let them know you are open-minded and always willing to provide training for them to grow. It will help your company grow too.

Remember, always include training even for a $100 software program. If it’s new then you'll want them trained on how to use it.

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