Implementing new technology in an organisation

Today’s business environment embodies the phrase “survival of the fittest.” As in, if your organisation isn’t as productive and efficient as it can be, you’ll be left behind.

Introducing new technology in today’s digital world can help you remain competitive.

That’s not all though, the effectiveness of your solution depends on how you choose to implement it. If your employees don’t use the new tool, you won’t realise any of its benefits.

Fret not, with careful preparation, effective support, and defined end-goals, you can make your technology roll-out a success.

Step 1: Work from the ground up

Before you introduce new technology you should evaluate if it would be a good fit for your organisation.

Think of why you need the new tool. Will it boost productivity, reduce cost, or improve processes? Will it compliment your workforce?

For example, to improve collaboration with your frontline employees, implement a mobile-first communications platform instead of a desktop-reliant intranet.

Step 2: Use a framework

An MIT study1 revealed that 63% of managers believe the pace of technological change in their workplace is too slow.

Which means successful implementation needs a framework that revolves around a sense of urgency.

We recommend a SMART goal framework:

Specific: Your initial goal must focus on clearly defined metric
(eg: engagement with the technology).
Measurable: You should have a way to measure that metric. (eg: number of employees using the technology daily)
Aspirational: You should set a target that pushes you beyond what you’re already achieving (eg:“more than 50% of employees should use the technology daily”)
Realistic: Keep your aspiration in check with what you can reasonably expect to achieve with the resources that you have. (eg:“training will take two weeks, let’s not expect everyone to start using it from day one”)
Time-bound: Your goal must have an end date.(eg: “by next month, next year”)

Here’s what the framework would look like in action:

During the trial period (from January 8th, 2019 till February 8th, 2019), all departments in XYZ Corp. must move their business-related communications to Eko.

Template:

By/From [date], the [organisation, department, group] must [insert metric] until [timeframe].

Step 3: Present change to multiple teams

Now that you’ve identified your end-goals and metrics, you can start educating your teams about the technology.

Select employees who have the right personality and enough influence to promote the tool. Make them your ‘technology champions.’

How do you identify ‘technology champions’?

Behavioural science studies2 show that there are two kinds of people that make for good leaders (or ambassadors).

Opinion leaders aren’t necessarily technically-skilled, but usually are in a position of seniority/experience and trusted by their peers.

Technical leaders are employees with superior technical skills, whose opinions are compelling for coworkers.

Note that presenting the tool to individual champions requires a tailored plan. For example, the VP of the company may ask you about the financial and strategic advantages, whereas a warehouse manager will be interested in how quickly the technology can be learned.

Once your champions are onboard, ask them to emphasise how the tool can solve current problems when they present it to other employees.

When your workforce realises the personal benefits from the solution, they are more likely to accept it.

Step 4: Provide productive support

Providing support and training is necessary during the early stages of implementation.

We recommend using online manuals and digital help centers because your employees can learn the technology at their own pace.

Eko, for instance, has an inbuilt Library where you can upload and store FAQ’s, helpful guides, or even videos that employees can refer to using any device.

Lack of support risks your whole operation falling apart.

When your staff understand how to use the technology before launch, they will feel prepared and be more likely to use it.

Traps to avoid

1. Reckless Promotion

Promote the new technology precisely and accurately. If you over-promise, the solution will fail because it does not live up to user expectations. If you under-promise, your employees won’t use the technology because they won’t see its benefits.

2. Impulse to rush

Rushing implementation means employees will be unclear about the technology’s features, and the problems it solves — all of which leads to low adoption rates and disengagement.

Step 5: Prepare for resistance

Learning new technology is a step out of a comfort zone, and there will always be a group of people opposed to it.

Think about it, your teams have been using specific processes and workflows for years.

How do you convince them that the new way is better?

Address resistance as early as letting negative feelings develop can create a counterculture.

Resolve concerns by collecting feedback through an anonymous survey right after you’ve presented the technology.

Sample questions to include:

  • Do you understand the pain points the technology solves?

  • What feature are you excited to use?
  • What part of technology looks most complicated to you? What looks easiest?
  • Do you have any questions or concerns?

Conduct another survey when your users become more familiar with the tool and can share more details about their experience.

Sample questions to include:

  • Was there enough training provided during the onboarding process?
  • What part of training could be improved?
  • Has the technology successfully solved the pain points you expected? If not, why?
  • Which feature do you use most? Which feature do you use least?
  • Do you have any other comments, questions, or concerns?

Introducing new technology is not a one-time event – it’s a process. So, plan for every stage and be transparent about why the tool is needed. Once the benefits are clear to your employees, you’ll notice high user adoption and enjoy the benefits of digital transformation.

 

The Business Transformation Network has shared this article in partnership with EkoApp.