In recent research by Fujitsu 73% of executives surveyed said that technology lies at the heart of their organisation’s ability to thrive in this digital era. So what does it take to successfully transform technology in the digital landscape?
I often hear stories about technology projects, where new innovative products and services are introduced into organisations and they either do not get used or they have no real impact – they do not improve efficiency, increase revenue or reduce overall costs. In lots of situations this is because there is often no business transformation wrapped around it. In fact, in the digital era technology has to be a part of a digital transformation strategy, it has to be seen as the enabler, with business results being the measure. A successful technology implementation is no longer enough!
Take a to look at your own home. How many people have gadgets and tools that are hardly used in the kitchen, the garage or garden shed? As consumers we look at bright shiny new things and think we must have that, we need that – the same thing often happens in organisations.
So how do you change that? Here are five things you must do:
- Understand the need or demand – What is it as an organisation you are trying to achieve, how does this support the overall digital transformation strategy? So that the story is more than just “That’s new and exciting, we need that” – there needs to be a purpose and a strategy for undertaking change. Articulating this will help increase adoption.
- Choose the right tool(s) – This might sound simple, however in most organisations the people who design or procure technology are often not the people who are going to use them. Successful digitalisation results in improved end-user experience, which includes both employees and customers.And, everyone works differently, and has habits which are difficult to break. Therefore really understanding what the workforce does, the way it does it and how you want to change it is vital to increasing adoption. Don’t work in a silo, involve your end-users.
- Sell It – Make sure everyone understands why you are introducing something, how it fits in the overall digital transformation strategy, what it means for them and what the benefits are for them individually – the workforce needs to feel a connection to something to embrace it, otherwise it will be difficult to introduce and will not be adopted.
- Learn how to use it – You would be surprised how many people won’t use something because they don’t understand how to use it and haven’t been shown. In fact, training employees on new technology is a great way of involving them in your digital journey. Ubiquitous learning for everyone is often what organisations think is required, it is not the answer. Look how a well-known smart-phone manufacturer have increased adoption by making products accessible in the high street for everyone to use and learn tips from store staff. Individuals need to know how to use something to adopt it.
- Sweat the asset – How many people do you know who have bought a smart-phone and use it only for making phone calls and the occasional text message? When organisations invest in technology they often fail to make the most of the opportunity to make changes, they do the same things but with a new piece of technology. Often technology is introduced, the project closes and everyone thinks it is over. That is only the start of the journey. Organisations need to find ways to find additional value by changing the way they work. This optimises adoption of technology, but is also significant to the digital journey. I’d suggest user groups to look for feedback on the technology and how it can be improved, empowering your employees to feedback in this way, as part of the digital transformation of your organisation is a great opportunity.
These five activities seem quite straightforward, but they are increasingly important as more organisations go through massive digital transformation projects, often including changes to the technology which has been used by employees for many years, even decades. It is surprising how many organisations underestimate what is required to embed technology to increase adoption and so derive the benefits that were envisaged at the start of the journey.