The statistics are staggering. Recent data states that 84 percent of companies fail at digital transformation, exhibiting a clear inability to adopt new technology. However, the reports do nothing to sway management and stakeholders from investing in new tech, at least not those who have every intent of keeping up with the competition. But that path leads into dangerous territory, with investment delivering little to no ROI when the introduction of said technology is not managed properly. Given that halting the inception of innovative new ways to do business is not an option, the answer lies in the latter - learning how to better integrate the tech into your organization. Today, Fully Managed is here with a practical guide to achieving just that.
5 Steps to Successfully Integrating New Tech Into Your Company
1. Seek Input from Staff During the Design / Procurement Phase
One of the biggest reasons the introduction of new tech fails, is the lack of staff involvement in the genesis of the project.
In a traditional top down management structure, top level management typically receives minimal input from staff. That may work for some scenarios, but when this culture is applied to the introduction of new technology, a lack of mid and lower level employee involvement can cause the creditability of upper management to come into question. After all, how can new systems be applied to make day to day operations more efficient without consulting those who are the end users?
Right from the get-go, new systems will be met with resistance, and not be given a chance to succeed. Staff may put on facade in the beginning, but will often resort back to old habits. A better approach would be to consult with both mid and lower level staff before designing and/or hitting the open source market to secure new software/hardware. Even if you (as management) veto most ideas, the entire hierarchy will appreciate being consulted, and will be more open to receiving the new tech, which gets your company over the first (and biggest) hurdle to success in this capacity.
2. Communicate the Benefits
More often than not, staff may not fully understand why new tech is being adopted by the company. The disconnect between application and benefits can lead to trepidation, a lack of internal support, and ultimately poor adoption. For example, if you’re moving your data warehouse to the cloud, staff may wonder why. Explain the benefits, which include cybersecurity, anytime access from anywhere in the world, better disaster recovery (i.e. during a server outage, etc.), and more affordable scalability to accommodate company growth. Whatever the new technology seeks to accomplish, clearly communicate it all to your staff and you will have a better shot at gaining their support.
3. Get Early Adopters and Influencers on Board
Within your company, there are early adopters who are excited about innovative new ways to improve business. These early adopters are often influencers, swaying the hierarchical masses in favor of a new corporate initiative in the same manner the consumer influencers encourage others to buy a new product/service. These individuals may exist in the mid or lower tiers of the company, so you may need to do some exploratory homework to identify them if you don’t already know who they are. Once you do, get them on board.
They will be integral in the design/procurement phase (as per item #1 above) and should receive communications about the need and benefits of new tech integration as early as possible. Their feedback regarding wants, needs, requirements, and room for improvement may also prove invaluable. By getting them excited about the prospect, their infectious nature will spread the word to those in that they influence and you will quickly gain a legion in support of the new system/s.
4. Provide Proper Training
Whatever you do, don’t roll out new tech without having a solid and realistic training program in place. Training should not feel forced, but instead be an engaging experience that promotes discussion and encourages feedback. The latter may actually result in a call to improve upon the new technology being introduced into the workplace.
Begin with clearly defined goals. Collaborate with staff and stakeholders beforehand so that you form a clear picture of what they want and need to know, integrating elements of self-directed learning. A well-known Columbia University study states that individuals succeed more as self-directed learners when compared to programs where personal responsibility for learning decisions were not possible. Modern e-learning concepts speak to this, where organizational learning is literally placed in the hands of staff for on-the-go consumption via their mobile device. By delivering modular micro-learning in alignment with what is relevant to an individual, you increase the opportunity for knowledge retention. Relevancy to the individual is indeed the key, as training should speak directly to how the new tech will apply to each and every end user. The traditional “classroom” setting can be used to deliver general information about new systems, but more immersive and customizable training should be applied.
Lastly, training should be ongoing. Staff should never feel abandoned upon the conclusion of new tech training. They should be updated as the software/hardware is updated, and feel as if they can request a refresher session as they need it, without fear of being chastised for not retaining information as well as their peers. For example, the nature of their role may not call for them to apply the new tech to their day to day, but in six months from now. You can’t expect them to recall every nuance at that future point in time, even with a manual to reference. Ongoing sessions may also help you identify a need to improve upon newly integrated systems so that their applications become more sustainable over the longterm.
5. Hand the Reigns to More Qualified IT Support
“Introducing technological change into an organization presents a different set of challenges to management than does the work of competent project administration. Frequently, however, the managers responsible for shepherding a technical innovation into routine use are much better equipped by education and experience to guide that innovation’s development than to manage its implementation.” (Harvard Business review, circa 1985)
While as a manager you are encouraged to become more informed than practically anyone in the hierarchy in regards to the ins and outs of the new systems, you should not be the sole one to introduce it to the company. If you are unsure about any element of the Software as a Service (SaaS) and/or hardware, and exhibit this to staff, they will not gain confidence that this new tech is right for the company, or at least not right under your management. Instead, bring in outside IT support in a custom managed, co-managed, or fully managed capacity. Backed by decades of expert experience in introducing new technology into the workplaces of numerous industries, they will apply tried and true best practices to ensure successful adoption and ongoing application.
Contact Fully Managed today to learn more about how we can help you build and/or introduce new IT systems into your organization so that you gain a competitive edge in the marketplace of today, and tomorrow.