If you weren’t able to attend last month’s MRIS Real Estate Technology Conference, in Silver Spring, MD, I’m sure you heard that you missed a great show. We saw the latest technology products, heard thoughtful ideas from great speakers and learned about upcoming MRIS product enhancements.
An important question to ask yourself after this conference is: When is the last time you had an information technology (IT) check-up for your company?
Just as your doctor recommends you have an annual physical exam to stay healthy and to prevent small problems from becoming bigger health problems, you need a regular technology check-up to keep your business healthy. With so many new technology products and services constantly emerging, professional real estate brokers and agents need to regularly evaluate if they’re using technology in an optimum manner.
Summertime in Washington, DC can be a good time to conduct your IT checkup. The rush of the Spring market is subsiding, many prospects/customers are taking their vacations and you finally have some quiet time to carefully think about your business before the Fall season. While you can conduct your IT checkup yourself, you may want to solicit the help of a qualified IT professional to help you in the evaluation process. There are three key steps you should perform during your IT check-up. The three steps are:
- Review and update your business plan. You need to identify what changes are required in your business plan for the next twelve months. You can also use several proven techniques such as a SWOT analysis, (identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) to guide you in this identification process. Be sure to consider any new legislation or industry developments that may need to be incorporated in your revised business plan.
- Assess your current technology usage and identify promising new technology solutions. Some of the questions to ask in your current technology assessment include: Are you efficiently using technology to improve your business operations? Are your technology service providers performing at peak levels? Are you getting the best value from the dollars spent on your technology investments? You also want to regularly survey the technology industry for new and potentially useful technology solutions. These new solutions are potential candidates that may enable you to improve the effectiveness of your business. It’s often helpful to ensure you’ve identified specific financial returns (i.e. realize a payback in less than twelve months) along with less tangible improvements (i.e. increase customer satisfaction) prior to the investment in new technology solutions.
- Determine what changes are needed in your technology usage to support your revised business plan. Your revised business plan will determine what changes will be needed in your technology plan, including the adoption of new products or services.
Having an annual IT checkup helps ensure your company is using technology to operate efficiently while your employees are effectively using technology to maximize their productivity.