Evaluating new technology

Good afternoon – I’d like to buy a computer:

How should dental practices weigh up cost and performance when investing in new technology? Always a tricky question, but here’s how I would do it.

Why do you need to invest in technology?

Because something takes too much time or resources, costs money or doesn’t make enough money. Alternatively, a 3rd-party (the NHS) mandates a technology.

Work out the problem you need to solve, then you can work out the return needed on your investment.

What are you going to buy?

Examine constraints, such as:

  • Will the new technology work with your existing equipment, systems and processes?
  • Will it cause compatibility problems that will require further investment?
  • What external systems does it need to work, and what standards should it meet?
  • What is actually available and where can you find information about possible solutions?


Where are you going to put it?

  • Do you have space and services (power, water, cooling) the technology needs?
  • If it is a portable device, can it be stored safely and securely?
  • Where are the suppliers and installers based, and can they provide a good standard of support from that location?


When will you install this new technology?

  • Does that date allow for any special training you or your team need?
  • Will your facilities be ready by then?
  • Can the supplier guarantee delivery and completion dates (so you can manage your appointment book)
  • When will you need to pay for this new technology?
  • Length of warranty and support contract?


How are you going to choose?

  • Draw up a list of questions and organise them into ones for you to answer, ones for the supplier, and ones that require collaboration.
  • Ask colleagues and friends if they can make recommendations of suppliers who can solve the business problem you identified.
  • Research the names recommended to you, but also find alternatives.
  • Remember – the biggest supplier doesn’t always have the best product, service or deal for you.
  • Select about six suppliers – call them and discuss all your questions with them.
  • Invite three of them to submit a quote.
  • Go back to the top of the page and check that the solution solves your initial problem.


Congratulations. You are now able to choose.


Chris has spent nearly 30 years managing in-house and agency PR teams creating highly successful communications campaigns. With a little help from friends, Chris created Precision PR in the spring of 2017. Chris has held senior communications roles at CODA, Hyperion, CSI, Qualys and Epson, and has worked in several mid-level and senior agency roles gaining a range of strategic and hands-on skills with clients and business partners that include; Alcatel-Lucent, Adaptsys, BHA Software, IBM, Microsoft, PeopleSoft, QAD, Qlik, Salesforce.com, SAP, SDRC and Yokogawa. Our associates have worked with many others.

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