Importance of Initial Technology Needs Assessment

Let me tell you a quick story about how we managed to save over a million dollars for one of our customers. They were doing an AV Technology refresh for their Brisbane office here in Australia. It was one of those large big four accounting firms with global reach. They invited me up to a vendor presentation in Brisbane. This vendor they had been talking to them for a while and they had some ideas and solutions that the customer was quite interested in.

 

So, I said sure I’ll come up. I went and attended the presentation and watched and listened. It was all very interesting. They had some great solutions. Really cutting edge. This office would be amazing with all these technology solutions in place. At the end of the presentation, my customer took me aside and said: “So, David what did you think of that? Give us your honest opinion”. I said, “It looks fantastic. That technology would be amazing in your office. It would wow everybody that came in. But let me ask you one question. Do you actually need that?”

 

And they said, “Well, we don’t know”. I said, “Well, why don’t we do this. Why don’t we just take a little bit of time to do a “Needs Assessment”. I’ll sit with you. I ask some questions. We’ll find out a little bit more about what it is you’re looking to do with the technology. Let’s find out what your customers and staff actually need from the technology. Let’s ask, what are the actual business needs? We will go through a step by step process and uncover the true requirements that you have.”

 

So, we did that, and then we also proposed some technology options for them to consider, which were more aligned with what they actually needed. So, at the end of this “Needs Assessment” process, what they had was a document, which listed their business needs, as well as, those of their people. The document also included various different options of technology that made sense and aligned with those stated requirements.

Our customer then had a real clear picture. They were able to make an informed decision on what to do next. And that really helped them. With them, we actually went on to do the design of the various AV systems and manage the installation as well. Ultimately, the investment for them was around about $600,000 dollars, which is a lot of money. But when you compare that to what the other vendor was proposing, which was in the millions of dollars, there’s a significant gap there.

 

The other thing to note is a $600,000 investment in technology which you know you need, and you know your people are going to use is a completely different prospect to spending multiple millions of dollars in technology that are not necessarily going to be used by your people. The latter is simply a bad investment.

The moral of the story is take the time to do a “Needs Assessment” prior to commencing a large AV technology project or refresh. It doesn’t take a lot of time. It’s not an overly large investment. But it’s definitely worth your while in the long run.

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