Technology Adoption is Tricky, but Hugely Valuable for Business Growth
A few days ago, we heard a very interesting talk by an industry leader who said that technology is no longer just an enabler for businesses, rather it is a driver. Essentially, this means that while for so long, we were telling technology what to do; in the future, technology will tell us what to do.
While one may agree or disagree with this, one consistent observation we’ve had is that organisations that are doing well for themselves have had a meaningful adoption of technology. Yet, we often see this tremendous reluctance in companies to adopt new technologies.
Basically, technologies fall into two broad categories. The first consists of the more basic technologies that help you make your operations faster, cheaper or better – such as ERP, accounting software etc. The second category consists of technology that fundamentally alters the way you conduct business – example: technology for decision making – such as analytics etc. Both categories can have a profound impact on a company’s bottom line.
Why the reluctance to adopt technology
Companies sometimes don’t invest in technology, or worse, they invest in the technology but are unable to implement it successfully on the ground. This happens for a couple of reasons. First, technology implementation, like any other major implementation, is always more difficult than you initially imagine. For example, you may have a great analytics tool; but if your data is inconsistent, then your results are going to be off.
The second reason has to do with the inherent resistance to change. Even if people understand the value and benefit of adopting technology, there is still considerable inertia. The leaders may be absolutely convinced about the technology, but the same conviction fails to trickle down. ‘What’s wrong with the process that we’re already using?’ ‘Our company is putting us through such misery just to cut costs. I’m not going to cooperate.’ Some may even consider it as the leadership team’s latest fancy project that will die a natural death, if they ignore it long enough. These factors can cause any technology adoption to backfire and how!
But the impact of technology is there for all to see. For example, the availability of Internet, coupled with cloud, VPN etc., has made the employees’ geographical location irrelevant in so many professions.
Adopting the right approach for successful technology adoption
From our experience, here are some best practices that we believe will help in successful technology adoption:
- Is the technology you’re adopting aligned with your current processes? If not, ensure you prep your business first to align with what the technology requires.
- Don’t underestimate the complexity of any technology adoption. Put in place a comprehensive change management process that makes the transition as smooth as possible for all the stakeholders.
- Keep your ear to the ground – keep track of any implementation issues on the ground, get to the bottom of the issue and ensure that it is addressed/ mitigated.
While the benefits of technology are undeniable, effective implementation that takes ground realities into consideration is key.