How upgrading your technology can be a lot like remodeling your kitchen.
I recently completed a kitchen renovation. We had a bad case of the early nineties and all the white tile that comes with it. During this process I was struck at how much home improvement is a lot like managing and upgrading your technology. Many business managers and family offices may find themselves with a bad case of the 1990’s technology and struggle with upgrading their technology. Most of these folks have also gone through some sort of home renovation project and that knowledge and experience can be applied to upgrading your own technology. And while the process can be painful, the results are normally worth it. Here are a few observations on how similar the experience can be:
1 – The longer you put it off, the harder it’s going to be: Does your tech stack have a lot of deferred maintenance? Are you still hosting critical software applications? Are you on an up-to-date version with your major vendors or are you on legacy software that your vendor(s) are looking to sunset? The more outdated your current technology is, the harder it will be to modernize. It’s like buying an older home with outdated electrical. You can’t put in new appliances until you deal with the wiring and the electrical box. These jobs are not fun, but having a solid foundation is key to the success of any future projects.
2 – It will take longer than expected (and cost more): The problem with most home renovations is that they take longer than expected and will cost more than you had hoped. Having spent over a year on my series of projects I can certainly attest to that. The same is true when making technology improvements. Be prepared for a process that may take a little longer and cost a little more than expected.
As with any project, there are steps you can take to provide greater certainty, such as breaking down the project into smaller projects and doing more advanced planning and budget estimates. The more upfront planning you do, the better the results.
3 – You need to prioritize & make choices: Everything is a trade-off. Want it done quicker? You can add resources or cut scope. Want to add capabilities? You will need to add budget. You need to decide what is important to the success of your firm and prioritize accordingly. Aligning your tech spend to your business goals is an important step in figuring out what is must have vs. nice to have.
4 – You have a chance to make things better: The best part amount remodeling is that you can fix some of the problems with the current space. You can buy new appliance that work better and more efficiently. You can address design issues and improve the flow and openness of your kitchen. You certainly are not going to go through the effort and expense to have things stay the same. At the end of the experience you will have a better functioning kitchen – same holds true with technology upgrades. You can improve your client experience, make your back office more efficient and have technology that your employees will want to use.
5 – It will improve your resale value: One of the best ways to improve the resale value of your home is to improve your kitchen. No one wants to buy a project and if they do they will expect a discount.
One way to improve your firm’s resale value is to modernize your technology. Having a scalable practice that uses modern and secure technology will positively impact your valuation.
6 – People will want to use it: The best part of completing a kitchen remodel is that people actually want to hang out in the kitchen again. Creating a modern technology stack and quality digital experience will have both your employees and clients wanting to use your technology. With today’s tight labor environment and competitive landscape it’s more important than ever to make sure your technology is up to date and supporting your business objectives vs. holding back your business.