The Datamax Thinking Blog

Educating, collaborating, and sparking ideas for maximizing the technology that matters.

Step-by-Step to Self-Discovery and Digital Copiers With the Technology Assessment Process

Before you buy technology, you need to understand your business and its needs. A guided assessment will help you.

When it comes to identifying business needs and how to achieve them with technology; you need a proven process. Here's ours.

We're going to help you discover yourself.

I know, that sounds weird coming from a copier dealer and managed network services company. I feel a little like a self-help guru typing that. 

“We've got IT covered” is how we like to put it. That can sound so insufferably smug. However, we do know what we're doing and we know that we can help you.

However, I understand the skepticism. You're worried that we're just going to sell you what we sell – regardless of if it's a good fit or not.

Not true – especially since we've got a toolbox with enough equipment to meet a large variety of needs. We don't just have a hammer and nails. We've got rubber mallets, ball peen hammers, claw hammers, sledgehammers – and I'll just end that analogy there.

We know how to listen to you; filter what you say through our extensive experience; and then together identify a solution to help you grow your business.

The tool we use to do this is the technology assessment. I wrote about why we do assessments last week. This week, let's look at the process.

A Process to Discover Your Process

One of the hardest things about any technology planning is knowing where to start. How much do you really print? How many documents to you need to retrieve daily – and how much time is lost looking through file cabinets for those documents? Do you need to include your employees' mobile devices in your network security strategy?

The answers to those questions can be discovered – and unexpected opportunities for business process improvement revealed – when you have a well-established process.

When it comes to assessing the state of our customers' (and potential customers') business landscape, we don't start from scratch. We have a process that's streamlined and repeatable, yet flexible enough to identify real business needs.

Here's what the process looks like. Keep in mind that the assessment will vary depending on the type of assessment – managed print services, document management, or network management.

  1. Environmental Access – identify the existing infrastructure (including an inventory of all assets) and physically walk through the office. Review document storage system and processes.
  2. Data and Cost Access – how much are you paying? Assess technology expenses by reviewing invoices, support agreements, and leases (subject to confidentiality agreements of course). Review the costs of parts and supplies as well as contract performance service level agreements (SLAs).
  3. End User Interviews – talk to the people best-positioned to share information about the relevant business process. Conduct assessment interviews and outline current technology use as well as future needs and requirements. Review of document workflow processes to spot weakness and redundancies as well as opportunities.
  4. Prepare and Deliver Findings – create a cohesive picture by analyzing the assessment data and findings and then develop in-depth recommendations and cost estimates. Present this data to relevant stakeholders and review, validate, and collaborate with the client about the findings and recommendations.
  5. Establish Next Steps – Our engagement can end with the assessment, but more often it's the first  step to Raving Fandom!

We Can't Do It Alone

Many service partners will tell you they have all the answers. That's not true. We know how to ask the write questions so that we can find the answers for your particular business needs. But we need your help. There are seven elements that we've found that ensure a successful technology assessment – four of those explicitly depend on you:

  1. Stakeholder engagement – executives and the parties directly affected need to be visibly engaged and supportive during the assessment.
  2. Cooperative – we both invest time and energy. A partner cannot read your mind, without honest feedback and knowledge sharing, you'll never get what you need.
  3. Information access – your partner needs the freedom to access and acquire technology-related data about assets, performance, and cost.
  4. Clarity – assessment objectives must be clearly stated in advance, along with the methodology. This helps to avoid the dreaded “scope creep.”

What about the other three success elements? Here they are:

  1. Holistic approach – understanding how your workflow, documents and prints, and network infrastructure work together.
  2. Contextual focus – discovery assessments conducted in concert with the customer's vertical industry.
  3. Deliverable – findings need to be delivered in an easy-to-digest report format, with the findings in detail and needs prioritized.

So there's a quick outline to your voyage to technology self-discovery with Datamax Texas. We don't have all the answers to begin with, but with your help we will by the end of our assessment process.

How well is your network working? Click here for a Datamax Network Risk  Assessment. 

Do you know where your documents are? Click here to schedule a Datamax Workflow  Assessment.

How much do you spend printing? Click here to schedule a Print Assessment. 

Topics: Document Workflow Managed Services