Author: Ryan Pritchard
Over the past eleven years, I have been dealing in software sales & technology implementation for Restoration Contractors across North America. Throughout this journey I have come in contact with many experts in the field of software development and process consulting that all play a critical role in how to properly vet the right technology for your restoration business.
The first place most businesses start to investigate is the “why”. Why do we as contractors need technology? This usually stems from identifying deficiencies within their business pertaining to breakdowns in process, behaviors or customer experience and are looking for ways to resolve. They understand that something isn’t working as effectively as it should but can’t exactly pinpoint where the breakdowns occur and how to properly address it.
Next, they determine “what” they hope to have this new technology accomplish? With an in-depth knowledge about the restoration industry as a restoration management solution provider, we assisted in creating a technology checklist of things that would need to be reviewed while evaluating which technologies would check all the boxes. Followed shortly thereafter by “Who” would champion this project. As for the “How & When” these are usually established once a plan is in place, to determine a realistic timeline on how long it will take to successfully transition.
As part of the vetting process, we have worked with a lot of outside companies that tackle the underlying issues within the industry and consult on what needs to be put in place prior to introducing technology. As a software vendor I can tell you I am limited as to what I can recommend or demand a business change before overlaying the necessary tools. Simply put nobody wants to be taking business advice from their technology partner. As such it puts us in an awkward position of having to breach certain subjects carefully.
Having partnered with a number of great consultants, one of the best I’ve worked with is JCMH Consulting, who has been working in Restoration for over 30 years. Our collaboration has allowed us to help countless contractors better manage the technological transition. Together we also collaborated on a “Technology Checklist” that helped contractors evaluate the best tools for their company. This checklist was broken down into 3 main stages:
Stage #1 – Ask the Right Questions, Before Making a Change.
Let’s start by “asking the right questions.” In today’s modern age, there is an abundance of different technologies that are available for almost anything you can think of. However, not all these tools are designed for the Property Restoration industry. Although they may be adaptable, they are unable to provide the connectivity needed to truly eliminate duplication and connect within the insurance eco-system. In this industry, integration is key. Due to the level of details required and time sensitivity, technology needs to automate. Like any good technology, it is designed to make processes more efficient, provide stronger accountability, and reduce the need for constant administration. Above all, tools need to be flexible and easy to use as not one size fits all.
Stage #2 – Understand what is required, As You Prepare for this Transition
The next item on our list is do you “understand what resources are required” to facilitate such a transition. Cash, People and Structure are the three main pillars. Contractors should evaluate each of these areas before even starting the transition.
Does your business have the capital to weather the storm financially?
Do you have the right people in place to support and manage this transition?
Does your business have the right underlying processes & policies in place to support this transition?
It is also important while looking to ask your peers and evaluate what has worked for other contractors. Get a second opinion as this is an industry that is not afraid to tell you what works and what doesn’t. Seek information from other contractors, consultants or references when making a decision.
Stage #3 – Plan for Overcoming Challenges & Position Your Team for Success
Last but not least, do you have a plan in place to deal with “overcoming challenges” so that you can position your team for success and derail those who will try to mutiny. How do you plan to address staff resistance, promote buy-in, and ensure that staff understand the benefits this technology will deliver? Provide the proper context as to the challenges you will encounter, ensure a structure in place to educate, support and train. Time is a luxury that nobody wants to waste so make sure a proper amount of time is allocated prior, during, and after the transition.
Technology by itself doesn’t solve problem or manage people. It is an extension of your business and one that requires people to operate and information to run. As a technology provider we are always looking for new ways to innovate. Although we are great at designing tools, at the end of the day it’s the front-line people using it who should be driving the direction and functionality.
Features aside, when you are looking to embrace new technologies, you really want to treat this like finding a long-term relationship. One that you feel is both a good fit for your business, but also for your culture. Tools are only as successful as the people who use them, so you need to make sure that there is a structure in place that can support it. Above all, having someone you can trust that shares your vision and will go above and beyond to exceed expectations. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like learn more about the different technologies available to the restoration industry.