Keep all things in perspective when buying enterprise diversity technology.
My ten years in enterprise technology hardware-software-services has taught me that in the sea of technology, not all technology is created equal. Some technology is created poorly and other is created well — think of the technology you hated using at your old job and then think of how you love how easy it is to use Gmail, Apple devices, and Uber. Some technology you dread using because it’s slow or doesn’t work well. Some technology you love using because it gets the job done easily and with a beautiful interface.
Some technology companies create technology for specific industries; others for specific sizes of businesses; some choose to create technology from an end-user perspective; others from an enterprise-perspective; and yet others create technology for all of the above.
Some technology companies make their #1 goal client success and other companies make their #1 goal profit. You can tell them apart by how they approach you and what they say. If a technology company asks you about your challenges and goals and proceeds to work with you on solutions, they are likely to make client success a priority. If a technology company spends most of their time telling you why they are #1 in the market, how their competition sucks, and why you need to buy their product, they are likely to care more about profits.
On that note, here is Step 1 in buying enterprise diversity technology: choose to buy from a technology company that is client-value centric and makes your success a priority.
Allow me put Step 1 in perspective. Enterprise diversity technology is at a nascent stage. This means that technology companies are figuring out how to best address diversity needs through technology. The only way to best address diversity with technology will be a collaboration — an intersection — of technology, business, and diversity & inclusion. This is new. So, pick your technology partner wisely.
Step 1.1. Consider a diversity technology partner that focuses on your business size. Keep in mind that small and medium business technologies solutions will not work at a Fortune 1000 company.
Step 1.2. Consider a diversity technology partner whose technology is both user and enterprise friendly. In other words, make sure that your technology partner is able to provide both you, your company, and your talent pool a technology that will be leveraged. This is essential in the success of technology projects — it is only when good technology is put to use in human hands that it can achieve results.
Step 2. Once you identify your enterprise diversity technology partner, collaborate with them. Make sure they understand your company’s diversity & inclusion and business goals, and then ask them: how can your technology help me achieve these goals? If they can answer this question, it will be easier to ask the business for the money you need to spend on your diversity & inclusion initiatives and you will increase your chances of getting the funds you require. To this point, make sure you have clear expectations on all ends and you check that what they are promising is possible.
Step 3. Ask the business for the funds you require by proposing a business case that explains how the intersectionality of technology-diversity-business will help bring about success to the business via ROI — ask your technology partner to help you come up with an easy way to measure ROI.
Step 4. Access funds and, at the same time, verify that your enterprise diversity technology partner will help you with the life-cycle of your initiative — deployment, management, and success. Consider a trial or a proof-of-concept. Make sure you have security, scalability, and reliability tested; get IT involved, as per your company’s process. Get legal involved and have them look over contracts.
Step 5. Once your enterprise diversity technology partner confirms their commitment, IT and legal clear the technology, have your procurement team pass on the Purchase Order (PO). If a particular payment plan helps procurement get the PO processed, let your technology partner know — your technology partner should be able to provide you with a CAPEX / OPEX option for you. After the PO processes, keep your enterprise diversity technology partner honest.
To put the enterprise diversity technology purchase cycle in perspective, think about the dating to marriage process. You want to know your partner cares about your needs and are able to address your needs. You want to know your partner knows what successes you want to achieve and that they can help you achieve them. You want to run a background check — check out their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles — to make sure they are who they say they are. You want to start a relationship and see how it goes. Then, if it works out, then you may decide to officially sign the marriage contract.
The exciting part about choosing the right enterprise technology partner comes in the potential of having a happy and fulfilling-diversity-lifetime: 1) in a multi-stakeholder community; that provides 2) diversity and inclusion insights & metrics; allows you to have 3) exclusive product development; and 4) provides you an opportunity to pioneer the future of inclusion technology! The bonus here is asking and receiving preferred pricing.
About the author: Lolita Taub is a UN Women’s Empower Women Global Champion for Women’s Economic Empowerment. For her term, Taub has committed to raise awareness on the topic of diversity & inclusion through a special 6 post blog series.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com.