By Taher Jhanjharya, Group CFO of EFS Facilities Services Group.
The widespread adoption of technology is transforming the way that businesses operate. While technology can offer a wealth of benefits, from increased efficiency to enhanced customer experiences, its implementation is not always straightforward. Companies must navigate a range of challenges if they are to reap the rewards of technological advancement. It is very common that technology implementations are left to IT teams and failures accordingly are associated to the failure of IT team’s capability but is it possible for one department to alone undertake such endeavours?
Organisations around the world are investing billions in technology. However, there often remains a persistent gap between the value of such technologies and the ability to implement them efficiently, especially when different departments are involved. At a time of transformative technological advancements and fierce global competition, we need to focus on closing the gap between capabilities and achievement. To do so, organisations must delve deeper into the challenges faced including market intricacies, responsibility assignment, resistance to change and the role of IT teams in overall implementation.
One of the biggest obstacles that businesses must navigate when adopting technology is selecting the right system for their specific needs. With the sheer number of solutions available, it can be difficult to determine which system will best serve a company’s unique requirements. To overcome this challenge, companies must conduct a thorough analysis of their current operations and future goals, to ensuring that they select a system that meets their specific needs and can be integrated effectively into their operations.
One challenge that can arise in technology adoption is a lack of clear ownership between the IT department and the business. This can lead to conflicting priorities and a lack of coordination between the two, hindering the successful integration of the technology into day-to-day operations. To mitigate this challenge, it is important for businesses to establish clear lines of responsibility and communication between IT and the business, and to ensure that both parties are aligned in their goals for technology adoption.
Imagine that a services company that implemented a new project management system to improve its operations. The system was not fit for purpose as it did not meet the specific requirements of the company’s projects either due to selection by a few members of the organization who did not fully understand the business challenges from ground levels. Furthermore, the implementation of the system did not have enough support from the business, as employees were not fully on board with the change. This resulted in widespread confusion and disruption to the company’s operations, leading to significant financial losses.
Another challenge that businesses must face is resistance to change from employees. New systems can be daunting and unfamiliar, leading to a lack of adoption and a missed opportunity to improve operations. Furthermore, the integration of new technology into existing processes and systems can be complex and time-consuming, requiring a coordinated effort from multiple departments.
To overcome the obstacles of implementation and adoption, companies must develop a vision and have a robust change management process. This should include clear communication with employees, to help them understand the benefits and what is the benefit for them in this followed by extensive training to ensure they are equipped to use it effectively. Businesses must involve relevant stakeholders in the implementation process to minimize any disruption to existing operations and ensure that the technology integrates smoothly into their workflows while addressing day-to-day challenges.
Companies also need to make an informed decision by ensuring that they have a clear understanding of the technical capabilities and limitations of the technology they are adopting. This includes assessing compatibility with existing systems, the scalability of the solution, and the level of support available from the technology vendor in the long run beyond the implementation period.
Change management is key to adoption, encompassing the support of senior executives. Executive leadership can provide the necessary resources, drive cultural change, and make key decisions to support the implementation and integration of new technologies. However, change management should be a process that starts even before the identification of a system. Employees may feel that they will be held to a higher level of accountability as the new technology is more transparent in its processes. This can lead to resistance against adoption; it is essential for executive management to reassure employees that the proposed solution is to become more effective and efficient. The process should address any concerns among team members with respect to their roles in the organization.
However, even with the best planning, technology adoption can still fail. It is important for businesses to have contingency plans in place and to monitor the adoption process closely, to ensure that the technology is integrated effectively and delivering the desired results. Most digital transformations fail but making sure that success factors are in place can reverse the odds of success from 30% to 80%, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG)1.
Companies should not merely celebrate investments in new technology, but rather the successful adoption which goes beyond the implementation phase and measures the effective use of the system to solve challenges. Any announcements before successful adoption are only marketing and advertising without real business impact.
In conclusion, the implementation of technology is essential for businesses to remain competitive in today’s fast-paced technological landscape. However, it is also a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. By conducting a thorough analysis of their needs, selecting the right systems, and taking a strategic approach to implementation and adoption, organizations can overcome challenges, minimize the risk of failure, and encourage ownership.
Source: CXO Insight Middle East