Implementing New Technology in an Organization
Are you an owner or a forward-thinking employee who’s eager to see positive change within your business? Implementing new technology in your business often improves efficiency, leads to cost savings and gives businesses a competitive edge.
We’re here to give you the low down on implementing new technology in an organization.
What technology trends have come up in recent years?
Does your business use a myriad of different applications and software? Many workforces are moving towards software integration. This means that apps can communicate with each other, often via APIs or dedicated services like Zapier.
One of the biggest trends in business technology is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI has been used to automate manual tasks, personalize customer experiences, analyze big data and more.
In fact, a recent survey by Gartner showed that a whopping 59% of organizations are gathering information to build their AI strategies. The others have already made some progress towards implementing AI.
The “cloud” refers to servers that are located off a business’ premises. It allows a workforce to access files remotely so long as they have an internet connection. The public cloud services market is forecast to grow by 17.3% to 206.2 billion in 2019!
Cloud services are a boon for small businesses, allowing them to use services at affordable prices and scale up as the business grows. It also supports the trend towards flexible and remote working arrangements.
What benefits have organizations experienced after implementing new technology?
There are countless case studies of companies that have seen an uptick in efficiency and the bottom line thanks to successfully implementing new technology.
Nestle used AI in its supply chain forecasting, improving its accuracy across its 400+ factories in nearly 200 countries. The result? Nestle’s sales precision grew by 9% in Brazil!
Chinese travel website, Ctrip ran an experiment. They let half of their staff work from home, and the other half continued to work from the office. The results of the experiment were mind blowing. The people working from home completed 13.5% more calls than the staff in the office did, reported greater job satisfaction and were 50% less likely to quit!
By having their staff work remotely, they saved on rental while increasing productivity.
What are the challenges of implementing new technology in an organization?
Many a Management has started implementing new technology in their businesses in order to solve a pain point. Unfortunately, getting employees to use new technology can often lead to frustration and eventually poor adoption.
Here are some of the challenges that Management faces when trying to implement new technology in an organization:
Lack of buy-in from users
You wouldn’t expect a customer to use a product they don’t believe works. So why would our team members be any different?
Often, the big wigs pushing for adoption of new technology don’t fully communicate the benefits of using the new solution. Eventually, the software rollout is met with resistance because the end users don’t see how it solves their pain points.
When there’s a lack of buy-in from employees, the adoption of new technology seems like a disruption rather than a welcome solution.
Not involving “influencers” and “gate keepers”
In a traditional business structure, departments are usually headed by a single person. We call them influencers or gate keepers. These key people wield enormous influence over what their departments focus on.
If identified and involved early on, these heads of departments can act as shepherds, guiding and encouraging their flock to take up the new technology.
They can also help overcome the first challenge – lack of buy-in from users. This is because they have can help make sense of how the new technology is relevant to their specific fields of expertise. This leads to higher chances of buy-in.
However, businesses usually push through changes unilaterally and do not identify or involve these key influencers early in the process, causing a mutinous environment.
Fear of being made redundant
Imagine being paid to do a job for 8 hours a day. Suddenly, your bosses tell you to help with implementing a robot that would cut out 6 hours of your time daily. Worst still, the robot works for free!
Sure, the board of directors and shareholders would be thrilled at the cost savings. But wouldn’t you be worried that you’d soon be made redundant? Why would you help hasten that process?
Often these concerns arise because Management doesn’t clearly communicate how new technologies will supplement existing workflows rather than replace them. Management must also plan for how workers will be utilized going forward, whether they’re working with the new technology or being repositioned elsewhere.
Lack of intentional guidance on adoption
Businesses will always run into problems and nuisances that they’d rather just go away. When given a gleaming package solution, Management may be tempted to just throw the new system at the problem and hope it goes away.
However, new systems rarely work in isolation. Existing users must be guided to adopt and use the new technology. Momentum is also key. Management must regularly urge staff to work towards technological adoption.
What are the steps to implementing new technology in an organization?
We’ve seen the challenges against successful implementation of new technology in an organization. But what steps can we take to ensure that the new solutions we start to implement achieve their intended outcomes?
Here are some steps you can take to secure success:
Share the broader vision
A study by MIT Sloan Management Review showed that when a CEO shared their vision for digital transformation, 93% of staff were convinced that it was the right path to take. However, despite its efficacy, just over a third of CEOs have shared their visions with their companies.
Therefore, you should share your vision for how the company will better achieve its mission through the implementation of new technology. Furthermore, you can excite your staff about embracing new tools by showing them how these tools solve their pain points and makes them better workers.
Invite Employee Participation
As we saw in the challenges section, adopting new software has a significant impact on how your employees work. Therefore, you must consider their opinions and respect their nuanced view on the proposed solution.
Most solutions need to be tailored to your company’s needs and processes. Input from the people closest to the ground is a great way to bring that level of customization to your new technology roll out.
You should also identify “early adopters” – people who relish exploring new and efficient ways of working. Find out who these people are through a survey and invite them to help guide the initial implementation.
Make use of Account Managers and Consultants
Most vendors assign an account manager to help with implementing the solution in your company. Use these account managers to the fullest extent. Help them understand what your company is trying to achieve.
From there, get them to deliver customized training to your organization while highlighting the parts of the solution that solves your organization’s specific pain points.
If you’re working with a consultant, work with one that shares the same organizational culture and can prove that they’ve successfully worked it the solution into a similar company. This guide from CSS Oracle Consultants goes through everything you should look for in a consultant.
Establish a tight feedback loop
In the challenges section, we learned that Management cannot adopt a “set and forget” strategy when rolling out a new solution.
Expectations of how the new technology will deliver benefits rarely becomes reality the first time around. You need to find a sweet spot, which requires multiple iterations.
Schedule regular meetings where you can find out what challenges your organization is facing when implementing the new technology and provide solutions as quickly as possible. This will nip frustrations in the bud and move you towards successful implementation sooner.
We’ve been through the trends, benefits, challenges, and steps for implementing new technology in an organization. There a myriad more challenges and steps that you could take. The main takeaway here is that organizations must be transparent about the process and work closely with staff to implement the new technology.
Have you ever been involved in a digital transformation in your company? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!