Over the past few months, we have helped several clients prepare to scale up some exciting innovative technology services – some that we’re helping them integrate with, and some that we’ve built ourselves. As we prepared to help them get ready, the team took time to ask the question “are we ready” in a variety of fashions:

  • This new customer we are bringing on board is massive compared to all our existing clients. Can our mobile app manage all the geographic information associated with their data?
  • This new video recording system will improve our efficiency and accountability, but is our internet stable enough to manage all the throughput it requires?
  • We cannot wait to launch this new e-commerce site! Do we have the processes and systems in place to manage shipping, out-of-state tax requirements, and other logistical needs?

The “are we ready” questions are ones we all know we need to ask, but how do we pick which ones to address? Do we hope that a brainstorming session will get them all out in the open and then prioritize? Do we bring in a consultant for a fresh set of eyes, knowing he or she may ask questions that, while fair, are irrelevant given known business rules and expectations that an outsider may not know upfront? Do we do a soft launch? Do we hope for the best and don’t let anyone go on vacation that week? What’s the right balance?

Being prepared to the level of “just right” is a challenge we all face when venturing into the unknown, and it’s a priority that has to be addressed with new technology solutions as well. In the examples above, we prepared ourselves and our clients in a variety of ways that led to success across all situations. There were some bumps and even a 5:00 AM wake-up text one morning, but all the stakeholders had shared expectations, backup plans, and tests that had prepared them to minimize and deal with the unknowns as best we could.

What’s your next technology venture? Do you have a new platform you’re considering or making the move towards but don’t know how to start preparing for the inevitable “cut-over” day? Clear off the whiteboard, dust off the notebook, and get to work! Ask lots of questions, prioritize those that look like they could become roadblocks, and get an outside perspective. Put your assumptions to the test, kick the tires of the system ahead of time, and enjoy the ride!

For Publication in the Business Leader by Chet Cromer