No one sets out to destroy their profitability, especially when employing expensive IT solutions that need sales in order to pay for themselves. However, companies seem to make the same kinds of mistakes when deploying retail IT, mistakes that can be avoided with proper planning.
Below are seven of the most telling signs that your retail IT deployment is doomed to fail.
1. Having No Vision
The best tech means nothing if you do not have a direction for it. You may or may not need a particular technology on the job, and spending money just to be on the cutting edge is useless if the direction of your retail IT does not include that particular tech.
2. Poor Project Management
In general, deployment is easier than it has ever been. Many operations can be accomplished from little more than a turnkey template. Previously complex software packages are now completely plug-and-play. Full integration can be accomplished with no in-house expertise necessary, thanks to cloud-based and wi-fi platforms. However, just because a network has an easy setup does not mean that it will be easily maintained.
Project management helps to determine the proper course of action during a hardware failure. It also future-proofs your retail IT against its invariable growing pains. Before you pick the staff that will run your operation or the hardware and software you will trust with your infrastructure, a proper plan will increase your chances of making the appropriate choices.
This is especially important for international retail IT deployments, which have the added complications of language and cultural barriers, VAT issues, and equipment procurement, just to name a few. If you don’t have an IT partner that offers global dispatch services to respond to IT emergencies around the clock and around the world, you’re asking for trouble.
3. Lack of Technical Expertise
Once you have a plan in place and the hardware and software that fulfill that plan, you need the right staff to keep everything running smoothly after the initial deployment. This is where many companies falter. They fail to employ individuals with the appropriate technical expertise to continue operations after the project launch.
In most cases, companies simply lack the manpower to keep up with the constantly revolving door of independent contractors that are needed to run retail IT. This task is much better placed in the hands of professionals who specialize in the practice. When you outsource your labor infrastructure to such a company, you keep your finger on the pulse of talent that you would otherwise lose, possibly to your competition.
4. No Division of Labor
Your retail IT will likely falter due to neglect over time if you do not communicate a shared goal between departments. Each department must understand its role in maintaining the structure of the operation. Furthermore, each individual must feel unique importance to the job at hand.
If your retail IT does not have a dedicated specialist for each of its important operations, then it is more likely to fail. Provide your employees with the opportunity to prove themselves worthy of unique responsibility. They will reward you with better performance.
5. Using Old Tech
The best staff in the world will fail under the weight of old technology. Retail IT constantly updates itself — companies are racing to get their products and services in front of prospects more quickly. Give your staff the best chance for success by keeping your ear to the street for the latest tech.
6. Trying to Do Everything In House
Outsourcing is the grease that runs the wheels of retail IT. The core of your business is your product, not tracking down an IT specialist with five years of experience with your particular CRM. Let the experts handle the labor-management while you focus on your core competency.
7. No Analysis or Metrics Tracking
No retail IT campaign is perfect from the beginning. Great campaigns subscribe to the notion of agile development. In order to study past performance, a retail campaign must choose the proper key performance metrics and keep up with them. Performing an in-depth analysis of those KPIs consistently is essential to improving your retail IT campaign.