13 Dec 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.