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Technology decision making vs buying a car

From our early adult lives, one of the bigger, regular purchases we make is that of buying a car. Every few years most of us through a combination of necessity or desire will sit down and start planning on our next purchase. Before we test-drive our first car, the decision process follows something like:

  1. Determine Budget: How much can I, do I want to spend?

  2. Determine Requirements: What are the things that I need or are important to me in a car eg, Number of seats, Safety, Sex Appeal

  3. Research: to discover a set of potential cars that look to match our requirements to our budget.

  4. Validate: We may engage our friends, the internet, and other trusted sources to rule out what we believe are bad choices and rate those that appear to be good options.

  5. Educate: The savvy buyer at this stage will make sure that they understand the terminology that may come into the decision eg. What is CVT? Or will it actually work out cheaper buying a hybrid?

The above is really a standard decision-making process, so whether it takes place knowingly or otherwise, we generally arrive at the door of a few car dealerships (vs all) with some form of decision matrix as to how we will go from idea to a set of keys. The purchase is where we our emotions can get involved as we get caught up in the gloss of the showroom. In making the final decision we should always return to our earlier research, validation and education and avoid:

  • The desire to get through the process as fast as possible

  • Redefining your requirements based on "shiny things"

  • Redefining your budget ("you can afford it….you deserve it")

It's stressful and sometimes we are the unlucky one who gets a lemon, but generally, we get through the process and drive aware as happy people rather than driving away in a sports car instead of an SUV to transport a 4person family.

Business finds themselves making larger decisions in purchasing technology to support their business at a frequency similar to that of a car purchase for most (3-4years). The decision process like the timeframe is similar:

  1. Determine Budget: How much can I, do I want to spend? (Budget)

  2. Determine Requirements: What are the things that are important for my business

  3. Research: to discover a set of potential solutions that look to match our requirements to our budget.

  4. Validate: Read Reviews, Case Studies, talk to colleagues and advisers

  5. Educate: Understand the goods and the bad of each option.

In a similar manner to shopping around the car lots, companies approach a number of IT vendors to see what they can provide to meet their requirements. As with buying a car, you will be exposed to the "gloss" of the showroom so as with the car purchase it is important to:

  • Not rush the decision. As with buying a car, you can walk away get further advice and come back.

  • Don’t fall into the trap of listening to why a vendors product is the best and therefore those requirements they don't meet are not important

  • Be cautious on extending your budget for new requirements they think you need

In each case, the success of the purchase is maximised through the previous milestones and your confidence in:

  • Knowing your budget

  • Knowing your requirements

  • Researching to understand your options

  • Validating your research

  • Educating yourself to as deep a level as possible

These five things will mean that once into the purchase you have the confidence to be in control and get what you are after. As is often the case, there may be no product that precisely meets your needs or budget, but by understanding the market you will be able to make the decision as to which items you decide are most important to you not the seller.

As Business Technology advisers for Two In the Hand, we work independently of the vendors so we can provide you with the tools to help you through the purchase through our set of services:

  • Our Business Requirements Workshops to help you clearly document and understand your requirements

  • The Help Me Understand line of personalised training to talk you through the concepts and jargon of technology you may encounter during the research and purchase processes or

  • Consulting over a coffee to simply sit down and talk through how you might best approach your next business technology decision

Whichever offer you choose, taking our knowledge and experience onon boardrior to getting into purchase mode can set you up for your next business technology decision not ending up a lemon.

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