Posted Date: Apr 24, 2018 5:42 PM
Progressing with Technology
So your organisation is far behind in terms of technology adoption. Your competitors are implementing the latest ERP tool or the startup across the road is showing off their real-time collaboration platform. Technology adoption is not something one should blindly jump into, whilst you see examples of many fantastic technologies that can positively benefit the organisation and it's employees, at the end of the day if the employees are resisting this change, then the implementation becomes obsolete. Employees will continue to use previous methods or find new workarounds to avoid having to change. We believe your organisation should focus on a strategy to encourage technology adoption and within this article you will find tips which hopefully stimulate ideas worth implementing in your own organisation.
Just to give you an example of a technology implementation that has failed due to employees resisting change (without mentioning any names):
There are a number of stories you hear from colleagues, previous colleagues, and networking events. One of the notable ones we can think of is, a large financial services organisation who decided to implement a collaboration platform. The platform was developed in-house with features to manage document control, cross-team collaborations and in general up-to-date information regarding the business and it's various teams. After implementation of the system, senior management quickly realised that employees continued to share documents through older practices such as Email and soon enough those company updates from different teams within the business slowly became non-existent. There are a number of reasons for this failure such as lack of communication, not having the appropriate training, but more importantly, was this particular technology even required within the organisation?
Which brings us to our first point, is this particular technology essential for our business?
Typically, when a need for a technology is highlighted, you are hoping to improve user experiences, collect essential data (notice how we say "essential", yes GDPR is around the corner), and to promote efficiency in a process. I think it boils back down to what we were often taught in secondary school and sometimes university, to use the 5 W’s to determine whether there is a need.
- Who is impacted by the adoption of this particular technology? Often it could be each and every employee, for example systems such as Payroll.
- It is important to note down all the stakeholders in the stakeholder analysis quadrant example below.
- What are we trying to improve/achieve with this implementation?
- When are we going to launch the implementation?
- What timescales do we have in place?
- Where are we likely to see the most impact?
- Is this focused on a particular group of Employees? Or is this more focused on our customers?
- Question why at every opportunity.
Get them involved, but don't stop there...
It's vital for you to get the stakeholders involved, firstly establishing what level of involvement each stakeholder has. We believe those stakeholders who have a high level of power or interest (or both) should be offered direct involvement in the planning stages. From these users, it is important to determine the needs and challenges they are facing and what level of involvement they would like at the planning stages. From the group of individuals who would like to be more involved early on, ensure they are given the opportunity to make suggestions and recommendations on solutions which they feel will solve the problems. Often the technology may be more complex to implement, which means there will be an evaluation phase, during this evaluation phase consider offering stakeholders a chance to evaluate and test the prospective solutions. Whilst this may seem like basic advice, unfortunately, more times than not, many stakeholders are overlooked in the early stages leading to resistance further down the line.
Have a Sponsor & Champion
The project sponsor is usually the individual who is accountable for the overall project implementation. In a startup this could be a founder or c-level executive, alternative it could also be a programme / project manager or product owner. In your typical corporate organisation, this could be an individual with a senior management role. Having a sponsor in place is essential as this individual will be able to clearly detail project components such as resourcing budgets, milestone deliveries and risk management.Champions are like entrepreneurs within an organisation. They pose characteristics such as the willingness to take risks, proactive approaches to any work they undertake and the strive for innovation. The definitions for a champion vary significantly, however we define a champion as an individual within an organisation who holds relatively strong personal or positional power and is willing to use that power to promote the project adoption to colleagues. The champion is likely to go beyond any agreed duties to promote the implementation due to their keen interest regarding the project. The main benefits of assigning a champion are the ability to bridge the communication gap between the project leader / project manager and all different stakeholders, also having an individual to "rally the troops" maintains the same level of enthusiasm from stakeholders and finally an effective champion is able to successfully secure commitment from various different stakeholders.There are many factors to choosing a champion and sponsor, which this article does not highlight, however we will try to cover this in the future (this post will be updated), but in the meantime there are plenty of very useful frameworks available on the internet, worth having a look at.
Should we train our employees?
Of course! We've talked about allowing our stakeholders to test potential solutions, but let's not forget about training them once the solution is live. Technology is fast changing, often small UI / UX updates can put users off. Training each and every stakeholder as part of the adoption process is key, but don't fall into the trap of a boring slide deck to present the solution. Hands-on, interactive and engaging training programs will keep your stakeholders excited about the project go-live. Remember, each stakeholder has their own personal development goals, if you can contribute to help them reach their goals through certified training programs, we would highly recommend you to opt-in. Multiple studies directly correlate investment in personal development of an employee to greater retention rates. Invest in your people!We hope these tips help you get started on your path to technology adoption. Feel free to reach out to us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you require any further suggestions, advice or would simply like to add your own suggestions to this article.
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