Best practice guide to choosing the right technology partner for your brand

5th February, 2016

‘Best practice’ is one of those business buzz terms that’s often thrown around in the workplace, but many businesses are yet to grasp what it really means.

How does a business actually know whether it is meeting best practice standards?

The answer is changeable depending on the industry. However, when it comes to technology and infrastructure, there are three key questions a business should ask before investing time, money and resources.

1. Know what problem you are trying to solve

It’s crucial that a business actually understands what is not working, or what can be improved upon. A common mistake is delegating this task to someone who prefers to work autonomously and doesn’t have an overview of the business.

To get the most out of this process, appoint a project team to conduct a thorough ‘deep dive’. This can either be achieved internally, or by appointing an independent Project Manager to seek input from various sources across the business.

Make sure all critical pain points are documented and then placed in order of priority (mission critical vs nice-to-haves). Prioritising pain points in this way will make it easier for an organisation to shortlist technology platforms that can actually fix their problems, versus those that believe they can.

Common pain points MYOB has identified in the franchise sector include:

  • Increased visibility of real-time data at head office
  • A desire for direct integration between all platforms to avoid inconsistencies in data from stores to head office
  • A desire for direct integration between Point of Sale systems and accounting software platforms to automate data transfer
  • Implementation of time and attendance modules to reduce fraud and theft within the business
  • Compliant software for superannuation payments to employees as per government and ATO regulations
  • Integrated job management platforms, and
  • Electronic quoting solutions for tradespeople.

2. Do your research and build for the future

Once the business understands what needs to be fixed, investigate which technology platforms can solve your problems, and have those vendors present to you.

The Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) is a great resource for your business. The FCA partners with a number of leading service providers across various different verticals or horizontals for the franchise sector.

You can also identify other franchise businesses that you believe have implemented ‘best practice’ in your respective market, and benchmark your infrastructure and systems against theirs to identify possible improvements. But don’t copy someone else’s formula – learn from others and develop your own roadmap for success.

At this point it’s crucial to imagine the future – what pain points do you envisage for your business in two, five or 10 years’ time? Neglecting to provide for future solutions can end up costing businesses dearly by implementing systems with a shelf life.

With everything moving online, now is the time for businesses to build a futureproof blueprint for long-term technology sustainability within their business. This can be done by choosing a technology platform that continuously evolves and can extend to other software packages. The use of APIs (Application Programming Interface) has enabled systems to seamlessly connect with one another to do amazing things, often requiring minimal development.

Leading technology providers like MYOB have hundreds of Developer Partners who have purpose-built integrated solutions that, once combined with MYOB, solve real business problems while still automating accounting requirements. MYOB acts as a business solutions hub for SMEs.

For bigger businesses, such as franchisors looking for more out of an Enterprise solution, MYOB Advanced is a world leading online ERP solution that is highly customisable to suit different businesses requirements.

3. Choose a technology partner with a proven track record and reputable customers

Do your due diligence when choosing a technology partner. Making the wrong decision is like taking two steps forward and three steps back.

Don’t get sucked in by smart marketing or fast talking salespeople – a proven technology provider can back up their statements with facts and proven success stories with reputable clients.

Most importantly, make sure your technology partner can provide various types of support, including phone support. There’s nothing worse than having something go wrong for a business only to wait days for a response via email. I don’t know one business owner today that thinks 24 or 48 hours is an appropriate timeframe for a technical support response to a critical issue stopping them from conducting business as usual. This happens more often than one might think, so having technical support and a large network of service and support partners is one of the key things you should look for very early on.

Finally, make sure you are given an Account Manager you can turn to when you need advice or support. An Account Manager will also be able to advise you on all relevant services to help grow your business.

Product Development, Innovation and Evolution are the key to leading technology providers remaining successful and ahead of the curve, so make sure your technology partner allocates the necessary resources to support your journey with them. If they don’t, are they really the right partner for you?

MYOB is a Partner of the Franchise Council of Australia, and the leading provider of accounting, online point of sale, mobile payments, and online ERP solutions in Australia and New Zealand – servicing over 1.2 Million businesses every day. Some of MYOB’s Premier Franchise Partners include: Boost Juice, Salsa’s Fresh Mex, Snap On Tools, Caltex, Muzz Buzz, Choices Flooring, Jims Group, Pack and Send, Zarraffa’s Coffee, Back in Motion, La Porchetta, Choice Hotels.