Tech Planning

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Choosing the right software and other technology for your operation requires thorough planning and a thoughtful approach. To help with this process, Adventure Park Insider compiled two easy-to-reference lists of questions aimed at 1) pinpointing your internal needs and goals, and 2) assessing the capabilities of potential technology suppliers. We hope you’ll find this to be a good resource.

INTERNAL ASSESSMENT

A list of questions to help you conduct an internal assessment of your operation’s tech trajectory and prepare for engaging with potential suppliers. Every operation is different, so these questions aim to get you started and you’ll get more granular from there.

What is our current process for X (ticketing, inventory, group reservations, waivers, etc.)?

Are there gaps in our process that cause friction for guests or staff?

Can we build a flow chart of each process?

Why do we want to improve this process?

Are we looking to improve the guest experience, improve efficiency, save money, and/or make things easier for staff?

Are we looking to grow (add more activities/profit centers, increase sales, etc.) beyond what our current solution can handle?

Would a new solution help with staffing shortages?

Are there certain pain points that need to be addressed?

Are we currently using a system for something other than intended (i.e., using a spreadsheet for accounting software)?

What happens if we don’t change? Will staff be angry/happy? Will customer expectations be unmet?

Who should be involved in this conversation?

Do managers/frontline employees think a change is necessary? If yes, what would they like to see changed? In their ideal world, how would this process be operated?

Who will be the project lead or decision-maker? Who will be responsible for the request for proposal (RFP) process?

Have we included frontline staff who interface with customers and existing software?

Have we solicited appropriate input from guests about wants and expectations?

Will all staff understand why we want to implement new tech?

How do we want to improve our processes?

What are things we cannot live without (i.e., true dependencies for safety, security, finance, CRM, etc.) in our new technology solution? (Needs)

What items would be nice-to-have but aren’t essential? (Wants)

How do we establish priorities for the functions and features we’ve identified as needs and wants?

Is there duplication of data entry that can create more opportunities for error?

What do we currently have in place for hardware? (Know this before speaking with a provider.)

What hardware limitations and boundaries do we have?

How much money and resources can we invest in an implementation?

Is it preferable to pay for the change through commission structure fees or a flat fee?

When it comes to ROI: Are we going to sell more? Spend less on labor? Retain guests? Make employees more productive or satisfied?

When do we want to see an ROI? Are the non-monetary benefits greater than the financial investment?

Will our current financial infrastructure (credit card vendor, banking, etc.) be compatible with the new solution?

What are our financial constraints?

Are there grants or low interest loans available?

Who can lead this implementation and at what cost? Is he or she available?

How will our investment age?

What solutions achieve our goal?

Does a solution meet all of our needs and most or all of our wants?

Do we need custom or commercial off-the-shelf software?

Does it make sense financially?

Have we done a thorough assessment of the supplier? (See “Supplier Assessment Questions.”)

When and where will implementation happen?

When is the best time to implement?

What resources will need to be dedicated to this project (staff, space, etc.), and for how long?

When must vendor resources be scheduled?

How far back from the date of completion goal must orders be placed?

What is the tech savviness of your staff and/or guests? Will they need training and/or tools to adjust?

Where will the back end of the system be installed?

Where will the front end reside?

Is there an existing vendor relationship that needs to be terminated? How will the vendor be notified?

SUPPLIER ASSESSMENT

You’ve conducted your internal assessment that determined your technology needs, wants, and goals, which informed your request for proposal that was sent to suppliers. After narrowing down the field, now it’s time to make sure any potential supplier can tackle all of the things on your list. Here are some pertinent questions to ask any prospective vendor before signing on.

Please provide a list of references that we may contact.

What other operations like ours are doing this? Are they in a similar market? Did they have a similar transition?

How many times have you implemented this version of the system? When was the most recent? What issues occurred and how were they resolved?

What is the best example of your solution already in place? How have other areas seen a return on their investment? May we contact them?

What other markets do you serve?

Is our industry a priority?

How do you handle product and feature requests and software roadmaps?

Please provide financial references to show that your company is healthy and sustainable.

How big is your company? How many employees do you have?

What does the company’s future look like?

If there is one thing you could change about your software, what would it be?

What are the payment terms?

Will I have to pay in the off-season?

Can I pay during cash-flow-heavy months?

If commission based, when will I see the money?

How are your reports detailed to make sure I understand how much I owe you?

What other solutions does your platform already
integrate with?

Can we use our existing hardware—servers, PCs, printers, etc.? Do printers and other peripherals connect via USB, serial, or IP?

This is the most important information we use for reporting—can your software run similar reports? What reports are recommended as stock?

What database information will transfer? Can we see sample transfers prior to going live?

Is the solution compliant with the latest security and privacy requirements?

Please provide details of your support organization.

Is tech support available 24/7, on weekends and holidays? How can we contact you?

If support is not available 24/7, what is the methodology for emergency escalation?

What time zone do your support personnel operate in?

Will you send someone to be onsite during implementation and the first weeks of operation with the new system?

What training services can you provide? How often are training materials updated?

Do updates cost additional? Are they automatic? How often is the software updated?

How do you measure your service-level agreements (SLAs)?

Can you provide a schedule for implementation?

How will we prioritize what we are going to do first, considering shipping times, additional peripherals, or cables?

What can we do to make this transition easiest for our guests?

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