5 steps to take before implementing new technology 

Before you introduce new initiatives into your business, what do you need to consider? Our Head of Product and Development, Jai Ivarsson, explains. 

1. Make sure the problem is real

Before introducing any change, it’s important to consider it from your customer’s point of view. It might be a ground-breaking or industry-first idea – but your customer doesn’t care about that. Ask yourself:

  • How is this change going to make my customer’s life easier?  
  • What problem or paint point will this solve for them?

Being able to back up your thinking is crucial. Go out there and talk to your customers. Survey your users. Dig deeper into the data. Ensure there’s a real need for what you’re implementing, or prepare to face the backlash.

We learnt this the hard way when we introduced ‘smart search’ to the new realestate.co.nz website. Instead of selecting from a range of tick boxes (like city, price range, number of bedrooms), we asked users to type in what they were looking for (“three bedroom home in Dunedin, under $700,000”). 

While some of our users loved a search engine style property search, the majority of our users hated it. They hadn’t asked for it, they didn’t have a problem with the old search function – but we changed it anyway. Needless to say, we listened to our users and changed it back.

Before you introduce a change, make sure the problem is real. 

2. Get buy-in from others early on 

In order for this to work, who needs to be involved? It’s easy for technology changes to become a “developer’s problem” or a “product team thing”, but a smooth change roll-out requires buy-in at all levels of the organisation. 

Start at the top and lead by example. Should it be the CEO or CIO who leads the charge with this one – or someone else? If it’s your customers who are affected, bring in the sales and customer service teams early on. If it impacts your suppliers, ask your finance or procurement teams for their input. 

Getting your internal stakeholders on board early on means they feel they’re being consulted with and listened to, which will make a big difference down the road. 

3. Don’t just wing it

Whether it’s a small change or an organisation-wide transformation, don’t underestimate the value of careful planning and change management processes.

Create a roadmap for implementation. What will happen and when? Who is responsible for each step of the journey? Who needs to be consulted with or communicated to at each point? 

4. Ask your team: “What could go wrong?” 

Plan for your best-case scenario, but be prepared for the worst. Allow time for things to go belly-up and plan for it. 

Fundamentally, humans dislike change, even if it’s a good one. Figure out how you’re going to minimise disruption and hold people’s hands throughout the process. This goes for both your customers and your team internally. If your own staff don’t understand the change or the value behind it, it’s going to be a whole lot harder on everyone.  

5. Don’t embrace “new” for the sake of it

With so many new and emerging technologies at our fingers tips, it’s easy to become seduced by the next ‘big idea’. While successful businesses should absolutely strive to innovate and embrace change, introducing every new tech solution that comes along is risky. 

That new tech you just introduced might never really make it out of the starting gate. When it gets abandoned, that’ll have a big impact on your business. Don’t be left supporting something that no one else uses anymore. 

In order to future-proof, think about the longevity of the products you choose. We’ve seen this with our CRM, which was custom built almost a decade ago and is ageing quickly. Consider what off-the-shelf solutions could be the answer to your problem instead. Tried and true will get the job done well. 

Jai Ivarsson is realestate.co.nz’s Head of Product and Development. With experience working with successful start ups, Jai specialises in finding pragmatic solutions that allow for fast growth.

You Might Also Like

What do you need in a first home?

So you’ve made the decision to purchase your first home - well done! You might be thinking to yourse...

5 benefits of ventilating your home

For many New Zealander’s, our homes face cold and damp conditions when winter sets in. Whether you’r...

Is it possible to get a home loan with no deposit?

Since the global financial crisis, no-deposit home loans have become a ghost story in New Zealand - ...