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The 3 Principles of Tech Adoption

Nathan Keeley 31 January 2020

It is important to understand where we have come from, to reflect on the lessons we can learn. Luca Pacioli is often referred to as the father of accounting and has been credited as the creator of double entry accounting. Whilst these principles have formed the foundations of the profession over the last few hundred years, the advent of new technology has challenged the normalities of accounting and in fact, all professions.

Today, the speed of tech adoption is contributing to a stark polarisation of either business success or failure as cloud software is rapidly increasing access to, and the creation of, high quality data.
  • It’s estimated that by 2020, 83% of company operations will be stored in the cloud.
  • The average employee uses 36 cloud-based services in their daily routine including social media, internet banking, business apps and cloud accounting software (how many do you use?).
  • 80% of companies report operational improvements within the first few months of adopting cloud tech. A fact which means more and more businesses are looking to benefit from these technological changes.
  • SME’s find it 40% more cost-effective to employ third party cloud platforms than to maintain an in-house system.

With this in mind, I have outlined a three-step process which has helped many of my clients to kick start their digital strategy and adoption of technology. 

1. Start your cloud adoption journey with strategic planning

With the sheer volume of data and apps available to the average consumer, it can be difficult to know how to start your cloud adoption journey. To help simplify this, I’ve outlined the key focus areas:

  • Set a strategic vision
  • Evaluate current systems and procedures
  • Manage resistance and change in your business
Set a strategic vision

A strategy provides direction, so without this you will lose focus. Are you looking at functionality or efficiency? Are you wanting improvements on client experiences or process efficiencies? Although these outcomes are not mutually exclusive, they will allow you to make cloud adoption choices that are predominantly focused on completing one of the aims.

Evaluate current systems and procedures

A thorough understanding of your current systems and procedures is key to making improvements.

  • Introducing tech into an unclear process almost always results in lost adoption and faltered faith in the cloud journey.
  • Business processes have been developed over time and are often the product of meeting short term business needs rather than an overall strategic objective.
  • Spend some time to work out if there are any easy wins or critical pain points which need to be addressed as a matter of priority, or will be a sticking point for your team.
Manage resistance and change in your business

Lastly, change management is one of the most difficult components of digital adoption. There is usually no smoke without fire, and all concerns and worries regarding change should be taken into consideration when managing your team.  

  • Staff concerns are critical to your cloud adoption. Without having the team onboard, you will struggle to gain thorough adoption of the software. If they are concerned with the adoption of cloud technology, it’s critical to understand why they feel this way.
  • Start with easy wins first, there are plenty of apps that encourage collaboration within the workforce and introduce efficiencies at a low cost barrier. Easily gain confidence within the team with these apps. 
  • Always approach cloud adoption from a perspective of introducing collaboration and removing process red tape, rather than making processes more efficient, unless there is frustration in effect of this.
2. Design a holistic solution that is connected and integrated

I can't emphasise the importance of integrations and cloud platforms which speak to each other. Not only will it rapidly enhance your productivity, but it will also streamline your app choices and selection dramatically.

Efficiency

Integration fosters efficiency. Data is entered once and flows through to other systems. Information is therefore accessible across multiple platforms quicker than ever before, and with reduced manual input.

Continuous experience

Having two datasets share information ensures that version control, and having to update and reference numbers across different reports, is an activity of the past.

Reliability

Reduction of manual entry reduces the chance of human error. Data will be more reliable across multiple systems. 

Specialisms

Software in focused components tends to be more specialised. This is because the developers of each software can focus on one sector’s needs or particular functions.

3. Build a horizontal and vertical tech stack 

A tech stack is a combination of apps and technology platforms designed to fit operational and finance needs of a business. These are then grouped by either ‘vertical’ or ‘horizontal’ apps.

  • Horizontal - four components: data entry, accounting, operational and reporting.
  • Vertical – industry or sector specific and which is best practice for your everyday activities.
Horizontal

Horizontal apps are the easiest to solve as they are arguably suitable for the vast majority of clients. 

A clear example of this is Xero, the accounting software which now integrates with over 750 apps. These apps can deliver easy wins beyond the implementation of a cloud accounting platform.

There are apps that help to boost your administration, project management, marketing, and other business functions. For example, you can use HubSpot to manage your marketing, Google Drive to manage your documentation, Trello to project manage, the list goes on. While the cloud may seem like a saturated space, it’s great to know that we’re spoiled for choice and have an abundance of platforms to choose from to suit unique requirements.

There are some easy horizontal wins, which we have detailed below for investigation:

  • G Suite - Sheets, Docs, Gmail
  • Trello/Slack - Team communication/workflow planning
  • Hubspot - CRM/lead management
  • GoCardless/Stripe/Paypal - Payment methods with integrated solutions
  • Receipt Bank - OCR/Data entry/processing 
Verticals 

Vertical apps are specific sector based solutions which are designed to meet sector specific operational needs. 

For example, Re-Leased serves the real estate vertical for property management. It has been developed to serve larger property management businesses where there is a need for management of both the landlord and the tenant but also any subcontractor who may come into contact with any of the key stakeholders in the process.

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Despite the three-step process I have outlined, with more platforms available than ever before, choosing the right software can still seem challenging. Therefore, it’s vital to have relationships with advisors who are experts in cloud software and emerging technology who can help you along your digital transformation journey. 

 

Next read: Tech for Success

Switching from manual to digital processes may sound daunting - but apps can bring it within reach for businesses of all sizes, as one case study demonstrates. Hear how CPP built their tech stack in the latest RICS journal.

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