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By Fred Thiergartner

You may be in charge of tech for your entire business, but that doesn't mean you actually use all the technology you source, install, and maintain. You're responsible for updating that tech, supporting it, and monitoring for threats, yet you don't have hands-on with that tech day in and day out. That means you can't fully understand what's working and what isn't.

To gain a holistic picture of how your technology is working, ask the people who use it every day. You can't rely on the fact that people aren't complaining to mean your hardware or software is running smoothly.

There are many reasons employees might not reach out to tell you what's wrong:

    They are too busy to bring up their issues.

    They don't know how to communicate what's holding them up.

    They don't realize that the obstacle they're hitting isn't normal for a particular solution.

    They don't know who to talk to about the problems they are having.

So, it's up to you to be proactive. Reach out to employees to find out what they need to do their jobs better.

Gain the employee's perspective

If you're in IT, you're seldom found in the trenches with your sales or marketing. You aren't in accounting trying to track payments or keep up with supply-chain management. So, you can't expect to know what the lived experience of your tech is like for those teams.

Talking to your staff about what's needed can help you learn about:

    digital solutions your people have heard about from peers at other companies;

    new technologies staff would like to try;

    roadblocks that are slowing productivity and undermining employee morale;

    low-hanging-fruit changes that you can make to improve an employee's experience (e.g. adding a second screen may be all that a disgruntled staffer needs to see their job isn't so bad).

You might host a lunch-and-learn, where you discuss technology with different teams, or you could send around a survey. Emailing employees directly, and asking them to answer key questions can help, too. Focus your information gathering in three areas:

    What works well for you?

    What challenges are you facing?

    What would make your life easier?

Of course, people are going to have different ways of speaking about technology. They probably don't know a LAN from a PAN or a WAN, for example, but they will be able to convey whether they feel the network is too slow or not.

Prioritize tech solutions

Talking to people in the trenches with tech can help set infrastructure priorities. Once you've learned what tech is needed and what isn't working as you'd hoped, reach out to a managed service provider for help. We can consult on new solutions and help you streamline business processes. We know tech for small businesses. Contact us today at 513-275-9712 or EMAIL:Fred or Chris.



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