Think a new technology implementation will be the silver bullet to solve all your business problems? Think again. A University of Oxford study found that, overall, IT projects run 45 percent over budget and 7 percent over time. What’s more, they deliver 56 percent less organizational benefits than predicted.
Typically, it isn’t the technology’s fault. According to a Standish Group International survey, 66 percent of information system projects are cancelled, fail or are challenged. The reason? “The failure of most IS/IT interventions to effectively integrate employee adoption issues.”
Getting your team on board is your top priority when introducing new technology to your business. In 2013, Avon lost a number of its sales representatives after a poorly executed roll-out of a new SAP software system, according to Wired Innovation Insights.
Here are some of key pieces of advice to keep in mind when implementing new technology in your organization:
1. Promote, Don’t Hype
It’s important to sell your team on the benefits of a new technology. On the other hand, it’s important to not over-sell. “Potential users quickly grow disillusioned when much touted innovations perform below expectations,” say Dorothy Leonard-Barton and William A. Kraus in the Harvard Business Review. Users can develop the perception that things “aren’t going well” when the process first seems slower, more tedious or buggier than you told them it would be.
2. Have Contingency Plans Ready
The road to reinvention is always a bumpy ride. New systems already make teams nervous, so it’s important to have your Plan B in your pocket if systems go down or work is interrupted. “Defining the nature and gravity of risks during the planning process can also help you better define your technological requirements and priorities,” said Edward Mercer in the Houston Chronicle. Ask yourself: What will we do if this doesn’t work?
3. Keep the End User in Mind
A new technology may be a godsend for one part of your organization while being a nightmare for another. In one example, a hospital administration implemented a new platform that increased work time from an hour to several hours. “This eventually resulted in a computer monitor being thrown through a hospital window, and a work action by the clinical users,” say the authors of an article in JAMIA. “That got the leadership’s attention and major changes were made.”
4. Be Patient with the “Adoption Curve”
Adoption of new technology, even among a small team, is not immediate. You have to give time for employees to adjust. “A common mistake that organizations make while estimating the ROI is the assumption that there will be 100 percent technology adoption at go-live,” says Yamini Sharma, a change management consultant with The Pedowitz Group. According to Sharma, teams go through an “adoption curve.” Managers need to be proactive to keep employees on track.
5. Generate Short-Term Wins
When rolling out a new technology solution for your business, know in advance what small but visible “wins” you can point to that will show the team they are making progress. According to an article in the Ivey Business Journal, leaders should make an effort to recognize and reward employees who were key in making a change successful.
6. Make Communication the Top Priority
Often when managers think of communication, they think of essential information. However, constant communication is essential for getting your team to take action at all. “Well-informed employees are most likely to commit to and support the plan,” says Jocelyn M. Woodard, Manager IMTA, American Institute of CPAs, in her article “How You Can Manage the Risks of a System.”
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