Disruptive technology is a term that means ground-breaking or game-changing technology. But often when new technology is introduced to a business, it’s disruptive in a different sort of way. Management might balk at a new way of doing things. Employees may not want to use the new tech. Some people might even openly rebel against it and that’s a big problem if you’re investing in a big new solution that will improve the way your company does business.
People’s worries about new technology is understandable. When a new technology enters a business — or is about to enter a business — it often means a new way of doing things and that stresses everybody out. Why? Well, if you’re investing in a business process management (BPM) solution that eliminates data entry and someone in your company is dedicated to data entry, it’s easy to see how that can cause problems.
Change is never easy but it’s not impossible, as long as you manage it wisely. To help you do that, Omni has put together a list of tips that will help you manage change within your organization as you introduce new technology.
- Appoint an internal champion
- Understand (and voice) your expectations
- Remember that salespeople are here to help you
- Know when to seek help with a project
- Train your employees
- Accept that your software can — and should — change
- Set up a system of ongoing support
Seem like a lot? Let’s take a closer look at the list.
1. Appoint an internal champion
Most people at your organization may already be overloaded with work and don’t have time to research, let alone consider, new technology. That’s why, when your company has decided to move ahead with a new technology or project, the first, most important step you can take is to appoint one person in your company as your project’s internal champion.
Their role is a bit like a project manager: they understand the project and the needs of your organization, have a relationship with all the stakeholders and manage communications both internally and with external stakeholders, like salespeople and IT consultants. It’s your champion’s job to know everything there is to know about the project and the technology you will need to complete it. They will know how this new project will affect your workplace and your employees. If anyone (data entry specialists, for example) is going to be disenfranchised by the project, your internal champion will know and bring it to the attention of leadership.
2. Understand (and voice) your expectations
Everyone has some preconceptions about technology. Be aware of yours — and your teams — and be ready to talk about them, openly and honestly when a salesperson or a consultant meets with you. What problem are you trying to solve with this technology? What do you want it to do? What are you worried about when it comes to transitioning? Understanding your hopes, fears and any price points you have in mind, and being ready to discuss them with a sales rep, is a good way to start a productive conversation. An internal champion — who has been researching the tech and the problem — can also help with this.
3. Remember that salespeople are here to help you
If you’re serious about implementing a new technology, chances are, you’ll be talking to one or more salespeople. Thanks to movies and television, we have a tendency to see salespeople as adversaries but that’s not the case. A salesperson’s job is to help show you options that would solve your business challenges. If your company is considering a new technology, and you’re serious enough about that product that you’re speaking to a sales rep, be as honest as you can be about your needs and budget. If the product they’re selling isn’t a good fit for your needs, a good salesperson won’t pressure you in order to close a sale. No company wants an unhappy customer.
4. Know when to seek help with a project
You know that you need to introduce a new technology to solve a problem but does your organization have the talent in-house to implement it correctly? While it’s tempting to just buy the technology and say “we will do it ourselves,” implementation is an area where you can’t cut costs. Be honest with yourself: Can you implement or build your solution yourself? Do you hire and manage an extra pair of hands to do the work? Or do you outsource it completely, partnering with a technology consulting company? Take your time and make the best decision for your organization so that your implementation goes as smoothly as possible.
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5. Train your employees
It's frequently said in IT that 80 percent of customers only use 20 percent of the features in the software they've bought. The truth probably varies from company to company, but according to a study by the Standish Group, about half of software features are hardly ever or never used.
How do you make sure your employees are fully adopting the software you’ve invested in? Training. Often companies make the mistake of skimping on training but it’s the greatest way to empower your users and foster adoption. If you just throw your new tech at your employees and don’t train them, some of them will understandably continue to do things the way they’re used to doing them.
6. Accept that your software can — and should — change
Your software is not a slow cooker: you can’t just set it and forget it. This can be a hard concept to grasp, especially for a company that’s making a big change to technology from analog or manual processes, but when you buy software, you’re committing to that software’s lifecycle. It’s not a one-time purchase. That software is going to need to be updated, upgraded and eventually replaced.
That also means that your team will have to get used to changes on a regular basis. As your technology is updated, its look will change, its features will be upgraded and its interface will evolve. It will get better with each upgrade but if members of your team aren’t used to change or aren’t technologically savvy, you will have to prepare them for these updates.
7. Set up a system of ongoing support
Expect technology to break and have a plan for when it does. Often, when companies buy technology, they’re not looking beyond the initial sale and implementation. You’ll also need to plan beyond that — you need to know how you’ll be providing ongoing maintenance and who will fix your solution if there becomes a problem.
Will you be supporting the solution in-house? Or will you be partnering with a technology consulting firm to provide support? No technology is bullet-proof, so make sure you have a plan in place to deal with a crisis before one actually happens.
Change is part of growth
Change is hard but it’s also an important part of improvement. After all, you wouldn’t be considering new technology if it weren’t going to benefit your business in some ways. As long as you proactively plan for change, you can keep the disruption to your business to a minimum.
Still need help? Omni’s employees are Wisconsin technology consultants with more than 30 years of experience when it comes to helping businesses in the Midwest design, introduce and maintain new technologies. Give us a call to find out how we can help you.
Ready to implement change in your organization?